Reserve and Guard vie for Best Warrior title

| March 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

Sgt. David Westmen from 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment, pulls security on a landing zone at East Range training area. This was part of a scenario to emphasize a simulated wartime environment between training lanes at the 2018 USAR Best Warrior Competition. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Edwin Basa, 305th MPAD)

Story and photos by
Staff Sgt. Edwin Basa
305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Fourteen elite Soldiers from the 9th Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) and Hawaii Army National Guard (HIARNG) competed to be named best of the best at the 2018 Best Warrior Competition, here, March 2-4.

Guard and Reserve Soldiers must balance competing family and civilian employment requirements with their military commitment, so there is additional time and effort for those competing in this BWC.

“We are asking the Soldiers to be physically, mentally, emotionally fit to be in this competition, and sometimes they don’t have that lead time to prepare themselves. … It becomes a challenge. It takes a lot of commitment,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Elva Schaben of the HIARNG.

Staff Sgt. Krysta Waters, from the 111th Army Band, and Pvt. Kendall Diaz, of the 302nd Quartermaster Company, conduct the Ômystery eventÕ. Waters and Diaz worked together to change a tire within 15 minutes, ensuring to emphasize proper safety procedures while using a mechanical jack and jack stands. (Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Edwin Basa, 305th MPAD)

Schaben and her team helped plan the BWC. This BWC is jointly operated between the Army Reserve and the HIARNG; however, the 9th MSC has taken the lead in planning this years’ event.

The Army Reserve winners were Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Staff Sgt. Gary Olsen-Seville, a health care specialist from 1984th U.S. Army Hospital and Soldier of the Year Pfc. Keahi Aoyagi, an infantryman from the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment.

The competitors were tested both physically and mentally. Events and tasks included individual weapons qualifications under stress, land navigation, a physical fitness test, a foot march, warrior tasks and battle drills, tactical combat casualty care, select mystery events and an appearance board.

“Unless you put yourself in uncomfortable situations, you’re never going to know your full potential,” said Olsen-Seville. “You have to put yourself out there, be uncomfortable and just learn from everything you do.”

He added, “It feels awesome to be the best warrior. It’s a privilege to represent this command at the next level.”

For Aoyagi, BWC was about overcoming his limitations.

“I think it’s improving your deficiencies or your failures that is the most important,” he said. “I made mistakes and learned from it. You get wisdom from all these other NCOs competing, so you get a better insight.”

The Army Reserve winners will advance to compete in the USAR Command BWC at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in June. The winners there will go on to compete in the Department of the Army BWC. Additionally, the winners of the National Guard NCO and Soldier competition will compete in their regional competition. Winners of the regional National Guard competition will participate in the national competition in Pennsylvania this summer.

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