|By Timothy Hale, U.S. Army Reserve Command Public
FORT McCOY, Wis. — The U.S. Army Reserve Command announced the winners
of the 2012 Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition July 20 at the
American Legion Post in Sparta, Wis.
Sgt. Anthony Mitchell, top, gets
the upper hand against Sgt. Austin Ratchford, in the first
noncommissioned officer match of the evening during the Modern
Army Combatives Tournament at the 2012 Army Reserve Best Warrior
competition at Fort McCoy July 19. Ratchford, a native of
Williston, Fla., is a 31B/Military Policeman, assigned to the
351st Military Police Company and is representing the 200th
Military Police Command. Mitchell, a native of Chicago, Ill., is
a 46R/Military Broadcast Journalist, assigned to the 3rd Medical
Deployment Support Command. Mitchell is the first two-time
winner of the Army Reserve Best Warrior combatives tournament,
previously winning in 2010.
(Photo by Timothy Hale)
The 2012 Army Reserve Best Warrior Non-commissioned Officer of the
Year is Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Rios. A corrections specialist, Rios is a
native of Ozone Park, N.Y. Rios represented the 84th Training Command in
The 2012 Army Reserve Best Warrior Soldier of the Year is Spc.
Michael Swan. A track vehicle repairer, Swan is a native of Gurley, Ala.
Swan represented the 335th Signal Command in the competition.
Rios and Swan will go on to represent the Army Reserve in the Department
of the Army Best Warrior Competition in October at Fort Lee, Va.
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, chief of the Army Reserve, said the 43 NCOs
and Soldiers competing this year found out the competition was not for
the faint of heart.
“As you found out, there’s no wimp factor here,” Talley said. “This is a
well-rounded, tough competition that tries and tests the skills that
make our Warrior-Citizens Army Strong. I’m proud of every one of you who
have endured the physical and mental challenges it takes to be an Army
Reserve Best Warrior.”
Swan said he had to take a breath when they called his name.
Sgt. 1st Class Francisco
Gonzales, 8th Battalion, Army Reserve Career Division, evaluates
a life-sized casualty mannequin July 18 during the 2012 Army
Reserve Best Warrior Competition at Fort McCoy. Evaluating a
casualty was part of the reflexive fire range challenge.
(Photo by Sgt. Debrah Sanders)
“That was a deep gasp after they said, ‘Michael Swan’,” he said. “I
was pretty struck by that.”
Swan said he plans on focusing on any shortcoming he had during the Army
Reserve competition and working on making those events better for him at
the Department of the Army competition.
“That’s what I’m going to work on,” Swan said. “Whatever they throw
at me, I’m going to come out there to the next level and bring myself up
physically and mentally.”
Rios praised his fellow competitors in this year’s competition, but like
Swan, he was also shocked at the announcement.
“I’m going try my best, I’m going to try the hardest that I can,” Rios
said referring to the Department of the Army competition later this
“I’m going to train every day,” he said. “I’m going to talk to the
competitors from last year and see what they encountered.”
Other honors at the awards banquet were as follows:
Best Warrior runner-up (Noncommissioned Officer category): Sgt. Orval
Emery, a chemical operations specialist representing the 377th Theater
Support Command, from Wichita, Kan.
Best Warrior runner-up (Soldier category): Spc. Ivan Pimentel, a human
resources specialist representing the 75th Training Division, from
Sgt. 1st Class Zachary A.
Zuehlsdorf, assigned to the Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell
Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Fort McCoy, representing the
88th Regional Support Command, moves to the briefing area of the
Urban Orienteering course at the 2012 Army Reserve Best Warrior
Competition. (Photo by Sgt.
1st Class Marisol Hernandez)
Highest Army Physical Fitness Score: Spc. Lucas Delay, a military
policeman representing the 200th Military Police Command, from Davison,
Highest Weapons Qualification: Spc. Carl Best, an intelligence
analyst representing the Military Intelligence Readiness Command, from
NCO Combatives Winner and overall combatives champion: Sgt. Anthony
Mitchell, a public affairs broadcast specialist representing the 3rd
Medical Deployment Support Command, from Chicago, Ill.
Soldier Combatives Winner: Spc. Dustin Chavez, an operating room
specialist representing the 807th Medical Deployment Support Command,
from Pollock Pines, Calif.
Candidates competing in Best Warrior Competition represented 205,000
Soldiers serving in the U.S. Army Reserve.
The 21 NCOs and 22 junior enlisted Soldiers spent the week on a variety
of Army challenges that tested the limits of their physical and mental
capabilities to include: Army Physical Fitness Test, night land
navigation, urban orienteering, weapons qualifications, Warrior Tasks
and Battle Drills, 10K ruck march, written exam and essay, a sergeants
major board appearance, and a Modern Army Combatives tournament.
Their military backgrounds and experience represent the entire spectrum
of the Army Reserve.
Many have deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. Their career fields
include military police, healthcare, mechanics, human resources,
intelligence, chaplain assistant, public affairs, and engineering. They
are America’s Warrior-Citizens, representing a wide cross-section of
communities from across the United States.