Best Warrior Competition tests top Guard, Reservists

| March 7, 2014 | 0 Comments
MARINE CORPS TRAINING BASE BELLOWS — Spc. Cambron Kuloloio (left), interior electrician, 103rd Troop Command, and Spc. Yoojin Choe (right), civil affair specialist, 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade, both with the Hawaii Army National Guard, perform care under fire on a simulated casualty during a Best Warrior Competition event, here, March 1. Soldiers were required to evaluate and administer aid to a simulated casualty, providing care under fire.

 Spc. Cambron Kuloloio (left), interior electrician, 103rd Troop Command, and Spc. Yoojin Choe (right), civil affair specialist, 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade, both with the Hawaii Army National Guard, perform care under fire on a simulated casualty during a Best Warrior Competition event, here, March 1. Soldiers were required to evaluate and administer aid to a simulated casualty, providing care under fire.

Story and photos by
Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal
Defense Media Activity, Hawaii News Bureau

MARINE CORPS TRAINING AREA BELLOWS — From written exams to battle drills, 25 Hawaii Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers competed together for the first time during the Best Warrior Competition, here, Feb. 27-March 2, to test their skills and readiness.

The first day examined the Soldiers’ professional appearance and Army knowledge aptitude, while the following three days pitted their mental and physical fitness against events such as weapons assembly, reflexive fire, care under fire, escalation of force, land navigation and a Modern Army Combatives (MAC) competition.

For some Soldiers, the third day’s 6-mile timed road march proved the most difficult task. Soldiers were tasked to carry a full rucksack and finish the march in less than two hours to receive points toward the competition.

Pfc. Cruser Barnes, cavalry scout, 29th IBCT, HIANG, nears the finish of a 6-mile course during the Best Warrior Competition, March 1. Barnes took first place out of 25 Soldiers competing.

Pfc. Cruser Barnes, cavalry scout, 29th IBCT, HIANG, nears the finish of a 6-mile course during the Best Warrior Competition, March 1. Barnes took first place out of 25 Soldiers competing.

“The most challenging part would be the ruck march,” said Spc. Cambron Kuloloio, interior electrician, 103rd Troop Command, HIANG. “I just had to keep on going and trucking through. It’s all downhill from here.”

For Sgt. 1st. Class Christian Staszkow, cavalry scout and recruiting and retention noncommissioned officer in charge, USAR-Pacific Recruiting Retention Battalion, the motivation to test his skills against younger competitors made the entire competition difficult, yet inspiring.

“If you take it negatively, it can be rough because a lot of guys competing here are in their early 20s and I’m in my early 30s,” Staszkow said. “I wanted to challenge myself amongst my (competition).”

 

Although he may be older than other competitors, Staszkow knew that Soldiers, family and friends back home were rooting for him.

“On the Big Island, I have a lot of support and a lot of people rooting for me to come here and do well,” Staszkow said. “I figured I would come over here and show what the Big Island’s got.”

Aside from the difficulty levels of each individual event, Soldiers also needed to combat fatigue during the competition as its structure allowed for minimal rest time between events.

“I think every part of the competition is hard,” Staszkow said. “Going into the next day you have already beaten yourself up. You’re a little bit sleep deprived, but you just push on. Find the motivation to do what you’ve got to do the next day, and take care of the task at hand.”

By the fourth day, competitors were offered one final opportunity to rack up points during MAC.

Spc. Katie Perry; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist; 302nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, attempts to break free of Sgt. Floyd Talamoni, infantryman, 442nd Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army Reserves Pacific, during the combatives portion of the Best Warrior Competition, here, March 2. Modern Army Combatives was the last event of the Best Warrior Competition, with winners in the Army National Guard Soldier and enlisted categories and the U.S. Army Reserves Pacific Soldier and enlisted categories receiving the most points.

Spc. Katie Perry; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist; 302nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, attempts to break free of Sgt. Floyd Talamoni, infantryman, 442nd Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army Reserves Pacific, during the combatives portion of the Best Warrior Competition, here, March 2. Modern Army Combatives was the last event of the Best Warrior Competition, with winners in the Army National Guard Soldier and enlisted categories and the U.S. Army Reserves Pacific Soldier and enlisted categories receiving the most points.

“(MAC) puts you in an element where you are uncomfortable,” Staszkow said. “Nobody wants to be in front of people competing, so you’re nervous, but when you actually engage everyone is going 110 percent, and you really get to see what you’ve got.”

Staszkow ended up winning the MAC’s NCO category for USAR-Pacific. While he found himself in difficult situations during the competition, he managed to keep his calm when challenges arose.

“Whether you do good or bad, you have to move on to the next phase of the competition and let go of whatever you just completed,” Staszkow said. “Truck on, like a true Soldier.”

MARINE CORPS TRAINING AREA BELLOWS — Sgt. Derek Zacharias, information technology specialist, 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade, U.S. Army Reserves Pacific, throws a simulated grenade during a Best Warrior Competition event, here, March 1. Two Soldiers were required to communicate and move under fire and employ a hand grenade at a target during the event. The competition is designed to test elite Soldiers in their Army aptitude ranging from warfare simulations, board interviews, physical fitness tests and battle drills.

Sgt. Derek Zacharias, information technology specialist, 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade, U.S. Army Reserves Pacific, throws a simulated grenade during a Best Warrior Competition event, here, March 1. Two Soldiers were required to communicate and move under fire and employ a hand grenade at a target during the event. The competition is designed to test elite Soldiers in their Army aptitude ranging from warfare simulations, board interviews, physical fitness tests and battle drills.

There were opportunities for some to work together as a team throughout the experience.

“Coming from American Samoa, back on the island and getting to meet other Soldiers from different units, here, allows us to share experiences,” said Pfc. Josh Puni, infantryman, 442nd Inf. Regiment, USAR. “Some of the skills that are learned here I will teach my comrades back home.”

The winners of the BWC will represent the Guard and the Reserve at the next level.

HIANG winners will represent the state at the 2014 ARNG Region 7 Competition.

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