MI warriors compete, determine best

| April 18, 2014 | 0 Comments
Sgt. William Smithe (on ground), 205th MI Bn.,  attempts an arm bar during a combatives assessment on the final day of the Best Warrior Competition.

Sgt. William Smithe (on ground), 205th MI Bn., attempts an arm bar during a combatives assessment on the final day of the Best Warrior Competition.

Story and photo by
Staff Sgt. David Padilla
500th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Soldiers assigned to the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade’s subordinate battalions, competed from March 31-April 4 in the 2014 Best Warrior Competition (BWC) to earn the recognition of Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year, respectively.

Spc. Michael Lemus, 715th MI Battalion, and Sgt. Casey Milton, 441st MI Bn., emerged as the winners after five days of competition.

Both Soldiers are intelligence analysts.

“Our goals for the 500th MI Bde. BWC were twofold. First, importantly so, was to identify the 500th MI Bde. Soldier of the Year and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. We wanted to find the best NCO and Soldier to represent the brigade from amongst the battalion’s best!” said Master Sgt. Kevin Peyatt, brigade operations NCO in charge. “Second, we came into the BWC with a goal to use this weeklong event as a training tool.

On the first day of the competition, Soldiers took a physical fitness test; later, competitors completed a written exam and a test on their knowledge of physical readiness training. The day also included a mystery event that tested their knowledge on the proper placement of awards and decorations on the Army Service Uniform.

A5_500th-MI_Best-Warrior_002_w

The second day challenged the competitors with an early morning road march to the qualification range, where they zeroed and qualified in a reflexive fire exercise, followed by putting their day/land navigation skills to the test.

“Day two was the most physically challenging,” Milton said. “The events, including the ruck march and the land navigation, really put my body to the test, but I continued to maintain my composure and drive on.”

For the third day of competition, competitors were tested on their knowledge of warrior tasks and battle drills; they appeared in front of a board chaired by the brigade’s senior NCOs.

On the final day of competition, the Soldiers entered into a ring on Watts Field for their combatives assessment. They received a refresher course of Level I combatives and then proceeded to the assessment portion. Here, the Soldiers applied skills they had or had learned during the refresher training to adapt to the challenge.

“Combatives has never been my strong suit, because most of my opponents weigh more than I do,” Milton said. “In the beginning, I was letting the early losses eat away at my motivation and drive. Even though I lost my first two matches, I maintained my resilience and motivation. This was the event that tested my mettle the most.”

As an act of esprit de corps and to demonstrate “how it’s done,” Command Sgt. Maj. Dan S. McCraw, senior enlisted leader, 500th MI Bde., entered the ring to take on each warrior for a 60-second bout, coming away victorious in five of those matches.

The competition ended with an award ceremony and the announcement of the competition winners.

During the 500th MI Bde.’s BWC, Lemus and Milton also participated in the Intelligence and Security Command’s final board for its Soldier and NCO of the Year competition. This board was done via video teleconference in order to accommodate competitors from around the globe.

Best Warrior Competition

The NCO and Soldier of the Year winners for 500th MI Bde. follow:

•Sgt. Casey Milton, 441st MI Bn.

•Spc. Michael Lemus, 715th MI Bn.

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