By Sgt. Charlotte HuFebruary 1, 2010
FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- You're under fire. A Soldier near you is down with a gunshot wound in the chest and arm; his leg is partially amputated and his Kevlar is damaged. What do you do' Sgt. Gary O'Nneil posed this question to competitors during the first aid portion of this year's Best Warrior Competition, hosted by the 55th Sustainment Brigade.
Five competitors faced off in three days of examinations, ranging from land navigation to the Army Physical Fitness Test. They faced a board, uniform inspections, an M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon assembly and knowledge exam; Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons questioning and a five-kilometer march. Each Soldier was chosen by his or her unit as the best, but, when the smoke cleared, there could be only one.
A Manhattan native, Spc. Nina Harper hopes to help people. She is finishing a bachelor's degree in political science, intends to go on for her master's in emergency disaster relief, and has watched the events in Haiti with keen interest.
Together with Sgt. Allison Timothy, she represents 140th Quartermaster Company of the 354th Transportation Battalion from Fort Totten, N.Y.
A mother of two and a Brooklyn police officer on weekdays, Timothy, who naturally exudes a quiet confidence, brushes aside questions about the danger of being a police officer, saying that insight into human nature helps keep situations calm.
Stoic and steadfast, Staff Sgt. Michael Griffis doesn't say much, content to let his actions speak for him. He's a cook assigned to the 611th Quartermaster Company of the 275th Combat Service Support Battalion in Highway, Md. He has served two years in Iraq providing armed security and vehicle inspections. He is also in armed security in his civilian job.
During the weapons preparation, Sgt. Jestin Llewellyn, from Cumberland, Md., showed great sportsmanship by helping his fellow competitors break down and assemble the M249. Llewellyn served two tours in Iraq and is finishing a bachelor's degree in law and society.
Llewellyn and Spc. Allen Fary represent the 55th Brigade's 55th Special Troops Battalion from Belvoir.
"The Army just fits me," Fary said, noting he will go to the Military Entrance Processing station next week to get his military occupational specialty as an 11B infantryman and go full time in the Army.
In a close competition, when the final scores were tallied, Llewellyn and Fary scored the highest and go on to compete at Fort Dix, N.J., in the 377th Theater Support Command's Best Warrior Competition 2010.
Hu is an Army journalist with 55th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs.