FORT BRAGG, NC -- Medical Readiness Command, East held the 2023 Best Leader Competition at Fort Bragg, N.C., April 23. The competition was designed to recognize and reward the best leaders within the command and featured a series of challenges that tested participants' leadership skills and abilities.
After a grueling four days of competition, the Womack Army Medical Center team emerged victorious. Team members included 1st Lt. Nikkolas Chandarlis, a registered dietitian and Production & Food Services deputy chief; Staff Sgt. Ethan Locklear, radiology specialist; Sgt. Dantoni Lebron Rodriguez, Sterile Processing Department NCOIC; Spc. Angel Olea, Four South licensed practical nurse; Spc. Lukas Steele, combat medic; and Pfc. Bryton Owen, pharmacy technician.
The best leader competition promotes esprit de corps throughout the Army, while recognizing Soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers that demonstrate commitment to the Army values, embody the warrior ethos and prove they are ready responsive and relevant.
“We had a lot of support from Command Sgt. Maj. Kasandra Boulier (the WAMC command sergeant major),” said Olea. “She allowed us to take time away from our daily jobs to completely train for the event. She even assigned us a coach, Sgt. 1st Class Angela Peterman (WAMC Operations non-commissioned officer), that made sure we were receiving quality training.”
The WAMC team demonstrated exceptional leadership skills throughout the competition, above 12 other teams consisting of 71 other competitors. They excelled in challenges that tested their ability to lead under pressure, communicate effectively, and work as a team.
“I have been taught a great amount from my fellow Soldiers on the BLC team, and their insight has grown my confidence as a Soldier,” said Chandarlis. “I believe this competition proved to us that if you prepare with humility and compete with confidence, you will exceed your expectations.”
A few competition events included, combat water survival, qualification range, oral board, a 9-mile foot march, a written test, night land navigation, and a mystery event.
“It feels great to win,” said Steele. “It feels like a great weight has been taken off my shoulders, but it doesn’t stop here. We have another level to focus on. We did our celebration and now we move on from it and continue to train hard. The most satisfying event had to be crossing the creek in the boat. The water just felt amazing.”
The team's dedication and commitment to excellence were evident in every challenge they faced, and their performance was a testament to the high standards of leadership within the Medical Readiness Command, East.
“This competition will expose the best of you,” said Lebron Rodriguez. “You have to look deep within you to be positive and cheer each other on, to complete the mission.”
Each team member was presented with an Army commendation medal, an extra-large wooden “Thor” war hammer, a commander’s coin of excellence, a tandem jump with the Golden Knights Parachute Team, a Sergeant Audie Murphy Club coin, and a Trophy.
“WAMC is extremely proud of our six competitors,” said Col. David Zinnante, WAMC commander. “None of this would have been possible without the support of Team Bragg. The teamwork across the installation and region to make the competition possible was simply remarkable.”
As the winners of the MRC East Best Leader competition, the Womack Army Medical Center team will serve as ambassadors for the command, representing the best of the best in leadership, and advance to represent MRC-East in Germany at the 2023 Medical Command Best Leader Competition, next month.