1st Class Mark Bell, U.S. Army Reserve Command
MCCOY, Wis. Ėó "We know you are all good, but we are
looking for the best here."
Spc. Christopher Ludwig (top) of
the 4225th Army Hospital, competes against Spc. Shiloh Becher in
the combatives competition. Becher was chosen USAR Soldier of
the Year. (Photo by Val
were the words of encouragement from Sgt. Maj. Andrew Young, the
competitionís noncommissioned officer-(NCO) in-charge, to the 28
competitors participating in the 2009 U. S. Army Reserve Best Warrior
Competition held here July 12 Ė 17. The eventual winners of the
competition were NCO of the Year Staff Sgt. Aaron D. Butler, 4225th
Army Hospital, Helena, Mont., and Soldier of the Year Spc. Shiloh
Becher, 461th Engineer Company, Fargo, N.D. Butler and Becher will
advance to the Armywide competition in September.
is how the event unfolded. Young gathered the competitors before the
organized chaos of events that would push the mental and physical
limits of the citizen warriors representing the best of the Army
was "Day Zero." Soldiers spent Sunday battling airline
delays, lost baggage and sizing up their competition.
are cooks, chaplain assistants, plumbers, civil affairs specialists
and other military occupational specialties that sustain the force on
battlefields and during humanitarian efforts across the globe.
Staff Sgt. Aaron Butler (left)
and Spc. Shiloh Becher were selected the 2009 Army Reserve NCO
and Soldier of the Year, respectively, during competition at
Fort McCoy. They will represent the Army Reserve at the Army
Best Warrior Competition Sept. 28-Oct. 2.
are Army Reserve Soldiers, and the active duty is scared," Young
said. "There is no doubt this yearís competition is better than
Soldiers slowly arrived at the inprocessing center, last-minute
information was corrected, barracks rooms were assigned, equipment was
issued and height and weight was recorded.
next day kicked off the competition as Soldiers gathered at the dining
facility, reflecting on the past several months spent in preparation
for the stress associated with any Army competition.
donít care about what you did back in your unit and command-level
competitions," Young told the attentive Soldiers and their
sponsors. "The slate is clean when you signed in here, and we are
here to find the best of the best. Itís the Best Warrior
Competition, not the good warrior competition. Donít sell yourself
or the other competitors short. Do your best."
stressed several important factors that could inarguably exclude a
participant from completing the week-long event. Most importantly, he
said it was his job to ensure Soldiers meet the basic Army standards
ó height and weight, physical fitness and weapons qualification.
you are not within the Army standards and disregard the Army Values, I
will disqualify you immediately, and youíll be out of here on the
first thing smoking," Young told the competitors. "There are
no negotiations. You must pass the basic Soldier standards to remain
in this competition."
Sgt. Joshua Skelton of the 4th
Brigade, 75th Division of Birmingham, Ala., competes in a
two-mile run during the Best Warrior Competition. (Photo
by Allan Harding)
Alaska to Guam to Florida and all points in between, the competition
brought Soldiers and noncommissioned officers from all walks of life
to one of the most-competitive events of the year. The Reserve
Soldiers had big combat boots to fill as Army Reserve Spc. David
Obray, from Mankato, Minn., flew under the radar and snagged the title
as the 2008 U.S Army Best Warrior.
year, we were able to send our Soldier to the Department of the Army
competition, and letís just say the Army Reserve and National Guard
smoked the active Army," Young said. "This year, the Army
Reserve is going to take both the Soldier and the NCO
a loud "Hooah," the competitors were visibly motivated as
Young inspired their competitive edge and demanded their best
performance throughout the week.
the next morning brought new challenges, Soldiers gathered at a nearby
auditorium as they waited for one-on-one boards with top Army Reserve
Grader Staff Sgt. Antu, (right), watches as Sgt. Timothy S. McBride,
85th Support Command, Arlington Heights, Ill., uses a lensatic compass to orient a map to the ground during the 2009
U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition, July 15, 2009.
(Photo by Val Hyde) (An
Extra to The Real McCoy Online)
the middle of the auditorium, Pfc. Steven Antolik, from Potomac Falls,
Va., practiced his precision facing movements.
military policeman assigned to the Military Intelligence Readiness
Command said he hoped the enormous amounts of preparation would pay
dividends in the end.
always want to win." Antolik said. "I hate to lose no matter
what I am doing, and this is no different. I know Iím up against
some great Soldiers and itís going to be a tough competition, but I
think I have what it takes to win."
23-year-old Soldier said his 18-month anniversary for joining the Army
Reserve would be the week of the competition. "I needed something
more in my life," he said about the reasons for joining the
Reserve. "I couldnít think of anything better to do that would
give me what I was looking for in my life."
a few more sharp movements, Antolikís sponsor motioned him back to
his chair to finalize last-minute study efforts before his name was
called ó and he slowly stood up and walked away for the unknown
pressures of a Soldier board.
few feet away, Sgt. Cody Brunet, a carpentry masonry specialist
assigned to the 372nd Engineer Company, was attempting to remove small
fiber pieces from his sleeve using a makeshift lint remover.
Best Warrior competitor SGT Martin Arcilla, 380th CONUS Repl. BN., Bothell, WA. prepares a hand held GPS, DAGGER, for
calibration for the Urban Orientation Course.
(Photo by Allan Harding) (An
Extra to The Real McCoy Online)
feeling pretty good right now," said the Milwaukee resident.
"The board is an event that I feel very confident about. Itís a
the morning, small bonds of new friendships were kindled and Soldiers
taking care of Soldiers was the virtually unnoticed theme of the day.
From flipping through homemade flash cards, correcting uniform flaws
or just relaxing and sharing war stories, the 28 competitors slowly
melded into one team with a mission to dismantle their upcoming
competition at Fort Lee, Va., at the Department of the Army
Sgt. Travis Hill, assigned to 927th Trailer Transfer Point, 103rd
Expeditionary Sustainment Command, was the only competitor returning
for a second go around as he competed in last yearís event.
from Freemont, Neb., gave Soldiers a glimpse of what to expect during
the rigorous competition and helped Soldiers prepare for the
fast-approaching oral board.
wouldnít have anything in your pocket," he told Staff Sgt.
David Ashley from Knoxville, Tenn., as he noticed a cell phone in his
pocket. "You definitely donít want anything in your pockets. I
would never risk it. Itís not worth something so easy to
offered to watch the cell phone and asked if he needed any help before
going before the board.
I really appreciate it," Ashley, a combat engineer military urban
operations instructor, said as he handed Hill the phone.
competition wasnít about how many awards were on the uniform, what
unit patch was stitched to their right sleeve, but rather about
Soldiers helping each other during stressful moments.
the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan to the warrior competitions,
Soldiers will continue to live the Army Values and ensure their
comrades are prepared for whatever obstacles they face.
made it this far, (there) is nothing to lose," said Ashley.
"Why torture yourself. We are all in this together, and we will
all finish this together."
more information about the Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition,
visit the Web site http://www.flickr.com/photos/myarmyreserve.