By SFC Rodney JacksonMarch 29, 2010
Honolulu, HI - Primed from numerous noncommissioned officer and Soldier competitions earlier in the year, 20 of the Army Medical Command's best of the best looked forward to claiming the title of "Best Warrior" for 2010 in a competition held March 13-19 on Oahu.
Staff Sgt. Adam Sahlberg, 26, with seven years active duty and the noncommissioned officer in charge at the Mary E. Walker Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., took honors as the Army Medical Command's 2010 NCO Best Warrior.
Spec. John Evans, 21, with nearly three years of Army service and an x-ray technician at Munson Army Health Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., was recognized as Best Warrior Soldier.
Both represented the Western Regional Medical Command.
Hosted by Pacific Regional Medical Command and held in Hawaii for the first time, the competition tested the Soldiers' ability to withstand physically challenging events and still maintain the mental edge needed to continue to perform effectively.
Soldiers from every major command under the Army Medical Department-the AMEDD Center and School, San Antonio, Texas; the medical commands for Europe, Western, Northern, Southern and Pacific regions; the public health, dental and veterinary commands; and the Medical Research and Material Command -- bounced from Schofield Barracks, to the Marine Corps Training Area at Bellows Beach, to the Tripler Army Medical Center gym, and finally, to Hickam Air Force Base for a dizzying array of events.
"The Soldiers competing are all so motivated," said U.S. Army Medical Command's Command Sgt. Maj. Althea Dixon. "They are out here with a winner's heart, and they all understand that at the end of this week, only two Soldiers will be announced as MEDCOM's Soldier and NCO of the Year, but they all know that they are all winners."
The competition started with the oral boards March 14, when each Soldier faced alone, an array of stone-faced sergeants major, who barraged them with questions about their knowledge of the Army.
March 15 began with a 3 a.m. wake-up call and an Army physical fitness test. Soldiers donned 60 pounds of gear to hike six miles up and down Schofield Barracks' Kole Kole pass. Next, Soldiers participated in weapons firing at day and night rifle ranges.
The competition continued throughout the week, soldiering at Schofield; reflexive firing with M-4s and day and night urban orienteering using the Defense Advanced GPS system.
March 17 found the competitors at Bellows Beach, where they participated through nearly four miles of lanes to be evaluated on their proficiency and performing the Army's Warrior Tasks.
A combatives tournament at the Tripler gym on March 18 was followed by the "mystery event" at Hickam Air Force Base. A 100-meter kayak race was combined with a medical skills contest.
At the banquet March 19, at Hickam Air Force Base, Sahlberg and Evans thanked the other competitors, their chains of command and their support channels for encouragement, motivation and confidence.
"I think any one of these NCOs could have won this. It just happened to be my week," said Sahlberg. "The camaraderie was incredible. We bonded and to our own disadvantage, because, without hesitation, we were helping each other throughout the competition."
Sahlberg also thanked his wife and Jesus Christ, saying that without them, accomplishments like this wouldn't be possible.
Evans thanked Sahlberg, for mentoring him.
"He's a pretty good NCO and he's given me a lot of training up to this point," Evans said.
The two had different opinions, however, on which event was the most difficult. Sahlberg found all events to be equally difficult, while Evans found the road march the toughest to conquer."
Sahlberg and Evans will represent MEDCOM at Army-wide Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier Best Warrior competitions in October.