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 July 09, 2010

Training

Regional Best Warrior Competition honors top NCOs, Soldiers

Story & photo By Sgt. 1st Class Chris Farley, 88th Regional Support Command Public Affairs Office

Summer always marks the onslaught of summer big-budget movies and sequels.

One action-packed sequel that played exclusively at Fort McCoy and won’t be shown at the local cineplex because it isn’t a movie, but rather is a sequel to last year’s successful warrior challenge — the 2010 Regional Best Warrior Competition (RBWC).

PHOTO: Staff Sgt. Eric Bailey, with the 84th Regional Training Center, strains to force out a few more push-ups with a couple of seconds left during the event in the Army Physical Fitness Test during the 2010 Regional Best Warrior Competition held at Fort McCoy. Photo by Sgt. 1st class Chris Farley
Staff Sgt. Eric Bailey, with the 84th Regional Training Center, strains to force out a few more push-ups with a couple of seconds left during the event in the Army Physical Fitness Test during the 2010 Regional Best Warrior Competition held at Fort McCoy.

Twenty Army Reserve Warrior-Citizens were cast for the 2010 RBWC from the 416th Theater Engineer Command, the 84th Training Support Command and the 88th Regional Support Command. For a second time, the three commands merged resources to host one spectacular competition using more resources, logistics and personnel to top last year’s competition.

This year’s competition was wrenched up a couple notches with more surprises and more physically demanding events. Social media web-sites were used for fans to follow their favorite candidate.

Sgt. Maj. Kevin K. Greene, 2010 RBWC cadre, said during the planning stage they didn’t want to create a competition where the book-smart Soldiers had the advantage over Soldiers who were physical beasts and vice versa.

Greene said, “We want a true best warrior. We want somebody who not only can think on their feet but also is physically capable. It’s the whole package.”

A few events returning from last year were the Army Physical Fitness Test, the appearance board, weapons qualifications and Warrior Training Tasks. New this year were an approximately 10-kilometer road march with candidates carrying more-than 100 pounds of gear, Army modern combatives and three mystery events.

The Fort McCoy Medical Simulation Training Center (MSTC) had a supporting role in the competition. Candidates entered a dark, foggy confined room, with flashing lights and blaring heavy metal music. On the floor was an Emergency Care Simulator (mannequin) that’s programmed to bleed, breathe, go into convulsions and blink. These horror film-like special effects simulated real-world combat conditions. Once candidates were inside the room, they had to evaluate the casualty and administer first aid.

“Most times in your unit you get a very simulated kind of environment for these tasks but here you really get a bit more feel for the sense of urgency of the task,” said a tired Army Staff Sgt. Jason R. Fiedler, 2010 RBWC candidate, after he finished going through the MSTC.

The three mystery tasks were reflexive fire, route clearance and the physical-conditioning course. The physical-conditioning course was on the final day before the combatives tournament, and all candidates were pushed to their physical limits to overcome every obstacle as fast as they could. Each candidate received 50 points if they finished the course in four minutes or less.

Spc. Anthony T. Lindell, 2010 RBWC candidate, finished the course in three minutes and twenty seconds with a five-point penalty for not successfully completing the rope crawl. Like a stunt seen in an action movie, Lindell quickly scaled a wall, dropped, did a combat roll back on to his feet and ran off to the next obstacle.

“I kind of ran and jumped. You know when you jump from a high distance you’re suppose to roll with it. So I kind of planted my feet and rolled with it and kept on going,” said Lindell.

Tired from the course and other events from the week, candidates pushed themselves and each other one last time to compete in combatives.

“The key to success in any combatives match is to have the ‘Top Gun’ soundtrack in your head going into the match and through the match. You can’t lose,” said Sgt. Marcus P. Caruso, 2010 RBWC candidate.

“The thing I noticed in the scoring is was that there was no run-away winner. It was down to the last event on the last day to determine the winners,” said Greene.

A different direction and advantage for candidates this year was Public Affairs, nicknamed the A-Team, which used social media sites to post daily images and videos of the RBWC.

Sgt. 1st Class Eric B. Wilcoxson said, “It’s pretty crazy that one minute you’re doing it and the next minute it’s published on the web.” Wilcoxson said this gives candidates’ Family and friends the advantage of keeping in touch while the candidates are in the competition.

To see all the action-packed daily video, end of exercise video and pictures of the Warrior Citizen A-list stars check out the following websites:

1) 416th TEC FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Darien-IL/416th-Theater-Engineer-Command/115345931816642

3) USARC FLICKR: http://www.flickr.com/photos/myarmyreserve

Finally at a luncheon, came the moment all candidates were waiting for — who would go on to the U.S. Army Reserve Command Basic Warrior Challenge.

The winning Soldiers for the 2010 RBWC were Spc. Kevin P. Looney of the 84th Training Support Command and Spc. Joshua Ahn of the 416th Theater Engineer Command.

The winning noncommissioned officers (NCO) of the 2010 RBWC were Staff Sgt. Christopher L. Bender of the 84th Training Support Command, Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Fries of the 88th Regional Support Command and Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Hall of the 416th Theater Engineer Command. Each winning Soldier and NCO will compete at the U.S. Army Reserve Command Best Warrior Competition held at Fort McCoy in late July.

Like James Bond, the RBWC will return to McCoy next year so it will officially be a trilogy.

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