Fort Irwin Soldiers take to the mat for Warrior Challenge
By Ms. Caroline N Keyser (Irwin)May 13, 2011
National Training Center and Fort Irwin Soldiers kicked, shrimped and struck their way to victory during the post's Warrior Challenge combatives tournament May 9-10 at Freedom Fitness Center.
Eighty-three Soldiers from units across Fort Irwin competed in seven weight classes. It was a large increase in participation from last year, said Sgt. Erick Martinez, tournament organizer. He credited more advertising further in advance with helping increase participation.
"I think it went great," said Martinez said. "It's definitely important for esprit de corps and camaraderie."
Command Sgt. Maj. Nathan Bucker, command sergeant major of the NTC and Fort Irwin, praised the competitors' spirit and performances.
"I am proud of them all," he said. "They've done an outstanding job."
Buckner presented Martinez with an Army Achievement Medal for his efforts organizing the tournament.
Staff Sgt. Steven Naverez, Regimental Support Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, won the lightweight category and said he was happy with his performance. He competed last year in a different weight class and came in second.
"I was definitely more mentally prepared this year," he said.
Naverez said he may compete again next year if he is still assigned to Fort Irwin.