The Army Reserve Careers Division (ARCD) helds its Best Warrior Competion in conjunction with the 11th Aviation Command Best Warrior Competition at Fort Knox, KY.
Army Reserve Career Counselor Soldiers who competed were Sgt. 1st Class Robert Good, 1st Battalion; Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Urquia, 2nd Battalion; Staff Sgt. Jacques Gele, 3rd Battalion; Staff Sgt. Kyle Vanderlaan, 10th Battalion;Sgt. 1st Class Richard Silva, 11th Battalion; and Staff Sgt. Michael Sanabria, 12th Battalion.
Master Sgt. Debbie Maldonado, Army Reserve Careers Division, was on the ground and shares a chronological view of events your Army Reerve Career Counselors endured.
“The ARCD Staff, Master Sgt Debbie Maldonado and Master Sgt Hicks arrived on the 27th to prepare the field for the Warriors to arrive; the Competition would involve the 11th Aviation Command and encompass Army Reserve Careers Division Soldiers with each having its own winner.
The Soldiers arrived on 30 April to in process, weigh-in and have an inventory conducted of their equipment; Sgt. 1st Class Robert Good, 1st Battalion; Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Urquia, 2nd Battalion; Staff Sgt. Jacques Gele, 4th Battalion; Staff Sgt. Kyle Vanderlaan, 10th Battalion; Sgt. 1st Class Richard Silva, 11th Battalion; and Staff Sgt. Michael Sanabria, 12th Battalion
Each ready to compete, went to the barracks in the pouring rain, schedules in hand, preparing their minds for the day to come:
Day 1 – The longest and hardest started at 0430 and did not end until 2400 hours.
- Weapons Draw
- 6 Mile Road March over NUMEROUS Hill with long inclines that kept going and going and going ” 🙂 wish I could draw a picture for you”
- M4 Zero Qualification
- Range Qualification
- Weapons Challenge
- Defense Advanced GPS Receiver (DAGR) Training
- Night Fire
- Weapons Cleaning/Turn in
Day 1 was supposed to have started with the APFT, but due to the thunder, lightning and downpour of rain we had to improvise a bit and change up the schedule to keep on track, we adjusted fire and started with the written test and proceeded with the Weapons Challenge. The Soldiers were pumped-up and ready to show their knowledge and skills, but the Army Motto, “IF It Ain’t Raining We Ain’t Training” prevailed.
The lightning finally stopped, the down pour trickled to a drizzle and we continued with the APFT, where we lost one Soldier, Staff Sgt. Jacques Gele, disqualified due intense body cramps and unable to breath, this was no ordinary, injury, something was seriously wrong. He regrouped as all troopers do continued on to the Road March to give motivation to his fellow competitors, but had to go to the Emergency Room for evaluated for further treatment. He was later discharged and gave words of moral support to all, “HE WILL RETURN”
ARCD Soldiers brought up 3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th place in the Road March, and we continued on to the M4 Zero Qualification, Range Qualification and DAGR Training. The Soldiers looked exhausted, but pulled it together to push on through the Range, with the rain still coming down as a reminder of the conditions that can be encountered, we moved into the Night Fire. Each one getting motivation from their Sponsors; Sgt. 1st Class Tamara Bressette, 1st Battalion; Sgt. 1st Class Kendall Conner, 2nd Battalion; Master Sgt. Carlos Baez, 4th Battalion; Master Sgt. James Scott, 10th Battalion; Master Sgt. Robert Young, 11th Battalion; Master Sgt. Mario Lopez, 12th Battalion
The day’s events was long and strenuous, the wear and tear was seen on each competitor’s face as they struggled to turn in weapons and focused on listening to the instructions for the next day’s events:
- Land Navigation
- Warrior Task Brief
- Urban Assault Course
- Urban Orienteering Course
The day was finally coming to an end as final instructions were given and the 5 Ton Truck was loaded to move out to the Barracks 2430, but due to the elements of Fort Knox, the day seemed like it would never end and the staff was far from done in preparing for the next day’s events.
Day 2 Started at 0700 with the elements of rain and the Soldiers looked motivated and ready to face the day’s challenges which would not end until 2230.
In the Land Navigation a Soldier ventured off a bit and had to be called in via phone, thank goodness for being a 79V with a blackberry (Staff Sgt. Vanderlaan) you can get a contract even when doing land navigation, you will never miss a call.
Haggled wet, cold and tired our ARCD force fought the elements and pushed on to continue in the struggle for Best Warrior, competing against the forces and 11 AV Soldiers who they will see again at USARC Level. The motivation was high and the support factor from the sponsors was a positive factor. They were there with the Soldiers every step of the way, providing words of encouragement, guidance, and reassurance every step of the way.
The next day was a high tempo day, the Soldiers were all pumped up and excited, ready to show their skills it was time for the Combative Tournament and
Obstacle Course, plus the day would end early and they would finally get a break.
Combative Tournament Obstacle Course
The Combative Tournament was a battle to the end, with Sgt. 1st Class Urquia fighting to with back-to-back bouts to attempt to take the lead and be the winner. His fight against Sgt. 1st Class Silva would take him to the winner’s bracket.
The battle was exciting with all the lookers coming off the bleachers and on the floor keeping all of my Combative Staff on their toes to maintain everyone within the boundaries of the perimeter set for viewers.
The bout was over and the score was 2-3. Sgt. 1st Class Urquia went to the winner’s bracket with only 5 minutes to rest. He went on to fight in the winner’s bout and came up short exhausted, but gave it his all. ARCD took 2nd and 3rd in the Combative Competition.
The Competitors all moved out to the Obstacle course to complete the last of the physical requirements. Two by two, they raced for time, low crawling through muddy water, under obstacle over walls up the ropes through the tunnels and across rolling monkey bars. Exhausted, but motivated to show who the best of the best was.
The last Soldier stepped up, Sgt. 1st Class Silva, about to run the obstacle alone, up steps his sponsor, Master Sgt. Young, to run the course with him and motivate him through his final push. Both Soldiers push through the course to completion. Leaving the physical perils behind all the competitors cheered each other on.
A bond shared through the struggle of exhaustion to all come out winners regardless of the results. Now, the Competitors leave to go prepare for the board and banquet.
Day 4 – The last day, arrives and the rain has finally subsided to a trickle off and on; a tour of the Patton Museum and a Mystery Event that ends up being a formation inspection to find the most errors on uniforms. From there we leave for the Reserve Center to face the Board.
You see the look on each face as they await their turn and then the look of relief as they exit the door with a release of breath “It is Finally Over”.
Everyone leaves to prepare for the awards ceremony and results of the competition. The awards ceremony begins, everyone in there ASUs, Command Sgt. Major (CSM) Connie Commenia announces the winner Sgt. 1st Class Urquia, who is awarded an ARCOM, and the runner up Staff Sgt. Sanabria. AAM are awarded to each of the competitors for their participation.
The Command Sgt Major Hipoule the 11 AVN CSM calls one more Soldier to the front for his dedication to duty, for weathering the storm and enduring through the hours with no complaints. PFC Matthew Wager awarded an AAM for his dedication and support as a Combat Photographer represented ARCD beyond reproach.”
Go to 2011 Army Reserve Best Warrior Competitions to view additional articles and photos from Army Reserve Commands Best Warrior Competition.