[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                        May 22, 2009
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Divisional Best Warrior 
Competition narrows field

By Sgt. 1st Class, Chris Farley, 88th Regional Readiness Command Public Affairs Office

Who wants to be the Best Warrior of the Year?

Even with the current high unemployment rate at 9 percent in the United States, you still wonít find a listing for the Best Warrior position posted in any job section of your local newspaper.

Photo: Sgt. Cody Brunet, Alpha Company, 961st Engineer Battalion from Pewaukee, Wis., pulls the hood over his protective mask during the Army Warrior task event at the Divisional Best Warrior Competition at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Chris Farley)
Sgt. Cody Brunet, Alpha Company, 961st Engineer Battalion from Pewaukee, Wis., pulls the hood over his protective mask during the Army Warrior task event at the Divisional Best Warrior Competition at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Chris Farley) 

Seventeen Army Reserve Soldiers volunteered and took the 2009 Divisional Best Warrior Competition (DBWC) challenge at Fort McCoy, Wis. in late April.

The 88th Regional Support Command (RSC), the 416th Theater Engineer Command (TEC), the 84th Training Division, the 85th Army Reserve Support Command and the Fort McCoy Garrison collectively merged resources to host one large DBWC for their competing warriors.

This collective fusion created an intense and competitive climate for DBWC candidates that most commands couldnít have replicated on their own at home station due to constraints in staff, ammunition, and area to conduct this challenge. With commands blending resources, the challenge swelled in a positive way with more candidates and ideal training opportunities being available at Fort McCoy.

The winners were Sgt. Timothy McBride, 88th RSC Best noncommissioned officer (NCO); Sgt. Cody Brunet, 416th TEC Best NCO; Spc. Shiloh Becher, 416th TEC Best Soldier; Staff Sgt. Devin Hacket, 84th Training Division Best NCO and Spc. Christopher Nelson, 84th Training Division Best Soldier.

These six Soldiers will fill the 2009 BWC positions and continue on to the U.S. Army Reserve BWC in July held at Fort McCoy.

Sgt. Maj. Kevin Greene, 85th Army Reserve Support Command and DBWC cadre, said the union between the commands to host the DBWC brought in a lot of different perspectives on how to commence the Soldier challenge, eliminated any one bias and had a pool of experienced noncommissioned officers (NCO) that had lots of input on how to effectively run the event.

"From a competitor stand- point, I think they did benefit because it allowed us to do maybe a little bit more than one command could do on its own," said Greene.

The DBWC candidates were tested on a variety of events, including physical fitness, shooting pop-up targets at the qualification range, day and night land navigation, a written test and Army Warrior Training (AWT).

The DBWC cadre kept the AWT events unknown. It wasnít until the candidates entered through a door and were given their briefing that they knew what was expected.

Photo: Staff Sgt. David Mangan, 88th Regional Support Command Chaplainís Office, deploys a claymore mine during the Army Warrior task event at the 2009 Divisional Best Warrior Competition at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Chris Farley)
Staff Sgt. David Mangan, 88th Regional Support Command Chaplainís Office, deploys a claymore mine during the Army Warrior task event at the 2009 Divisional Best Warrior Competition at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Chris Farley)

Behind door No. 1, candidates found a neatly folded pile of Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology gear and had to go through the steps of protecting themselves from nuclear, biological, or chemical injury or contamination.

Behind door No. 2, Soldiers had to deploy a claymore mine or receive a "No Go" with zero points going to their score. Few successfully completed this task.

"People were keeping the secret. I didnít hear any hints beforehand. The task we had to do was perform first aid on a casualty with an abdominal wound and that I did fine. Now that Iím going to school for nursing, I would have been kicking myself if I messed something like that up," said Brunet, who is with Alpha Company of 961st Engineer Battalion from Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

Command Sgt. Maj. James E. Williams, 88th RSC Command Sergeant Major, came up with two mystery events and unveiled them on the designated testing day to the cadre and candidates.

Candidates were met by a table covered with springs, barrels, firing pins and other weapon parts.

Candidates had to take the parts and successfully put them together to make a M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon and a M-2.50-caliber machine gun in a designated time. Also, candidates had to perform a function check on each weapon to show if they successfully put the weapon together correctly to fire.

"The mystery task is a task Iíve used in previous competitions and there are different variations of it," said Williams. He added that knowing weapon systems is relevant for Army Reserve warriors because there are many units and Soldiers going off to theater and they need to be familiar with these weapons. Also, Williams said the secrecy kept the playing field fair for all commands and no one would have any advantages over the other.

So, how does a Soldier have a fair advantage with a weapon system their unit doesnít have or has never seen or touched? "It comes down to, how bad does this Soldier want to compete? What kind of level do they want to bring to the challenge? Itís up to the Soldier to prepare. We lay out all the areas they will be tested on during the whole competition," said Sgt. Maj. Victor Imhoff, 416th TEC and DBWC cadre.

The DBWC never did wind down for the candidates.

On the final day, the competitors took to the streets of Fort McCoy equipped with a Defense Advanced GPS Receiver (DAGR), a protractor, a compass, a map and a No. 2 pencil.

It was up to the competitors to come up with a strategy on finding their points among the barracks, shops and other buildings in the Fort McCoy cantonment area.

"Itís so real in any operation whether youíre in peace- keeping or a war-time scenario in Afghanistan or Iraq," said Imhoff.

He added that Soldiers on patrol might only have a grid coordinate, building number or address where the hostiles are and itís important that Soldiers be versed in orientation to complete their mission.

After the Urban Orientation event, DBWC candidates went before the appearance board answering questions on current events, Army programs, Army skills and more.

"Either way, if I was here any other year Iíd be just as happy. But because Iím competing as an NCO of the year in the Year of the NCO, itís really nice and itís kind of given me motivation to keep going and see how far I can go. It gives me more of a proud feeling," said Brunet.

Williams said they were prepared to take more DBWC candidates and next year can probably take on two more commands for the 2010 DBWC.

 

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