By Spc. Dalinda Salazar, 41st Fires Bde. PAOJune 22, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas- Competition was fierce as 102 Soldiers throughout the 41st Fires Brigade competed for the title of "Best by Test" June 14-17.
The competition consisted of four main events: weapons familiarization, a [military job] specific written test, [a job] specific hands-on competition, and a physical fitness test.
"This competition happens quarterly but this is the first competition since 2004," said Staff Sgt. Jordan Lee, a Saratoga, Calif. native and launcher chief with the A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment. "These events are well planned out, but due to deployments we haven't been able to conduct the competition."
The competition challenged Soldiers in multiple jobs to come together and work effectively as a unit. The individual sections tested were Multiple Launcher Rocket Systems, Fire Direction, Food Services, Supply, Communication, Maintenance and Personnel.
Battalions from around the 41st Fires Bde. conducted competitions to see who was best at their jobs and sent the top sections to compete in the brigade competition. The winning team will receive an Army Commendation Medal, a 4-day pass, and a streamer for their battalion guide-on.
"These Soldiers are the best of the battalion competition and are competing to see who the best in the brigade is," said Sgt. 1st Class Adam Scarr, the brigade operation NCO from Edmonds, Wash. "The competition promotes esprit de corps and gives bragging rights for the battalion that wins."
The best by test competition started off with a weapon familiarization test where the Soldiers had to assemble and disassemble an M16A2, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, M240B MG, and an M2 .50 cal. within a given time limit.
"It's not about weapons familiarization, it's about weapon proficiency as all Soldiers should be familiar with their weapon," said Sgt. Jorge Sanchez, a native of Puerto Rico and a supply sergeant for the Headquarter and Headquarter Battery, 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment. "We are seeing who the fastest in the brigade is."
The next event was the [job] specific written test which consisted of fifty questions that were related to the Soldiers daily duties.
"The written test was hard," said Spc. Alan Koukoui, a power generator mechanic for C Battery, 1st Bat., 21st FA Regt., of Alexandria, Va. "The questions seemed to be more for higher ranking non-commissioned officers, so I found myself really thinking about the answers."
After the written test, the competitors completed [a job] specific competition consisting of multiple tasks the group had to complete at a given time limit.
"We were hands-on in the field," said Sgt. Tommy Ferrell, an all-wheel vehicle mechanic for A Battery, 1st Bat., 21st FA Regt. from Memphis, Tenn. "We did a land navigation course and were the only team to find the faults on the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle."
The physical fitness test was the final event and the teams completed a standard test consisting of two minute push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run.
"We have been doing well throughout the competition and the run," said Spc. Antonio Johnson, a supply specialist for B Battery, 1-21 FA, of Hattisburg, Miss. "I am motivated that we will win."
41st Fires Bde. has many talented Soldiers and this competition gives them a chance to show those talents off.
"I think it's great that the brigade put this together," said Sgt. Joshua Roth, a wheeled vehicle repairer for B Battery, 1st Bat., 21st FA Regt. from Gibbon, Minn. "All Soldiers in the 41st are awesome and I wish that everyone could have been a part of this competition.
Each team started off with the same amount of points during all the events. At the end of the competition all scores were totaled and average together to come up with a group score.
The names of the winners will be announced at a ceremony scheduled for June 23.