Army Reserve Command "Best Warriors"

Dedicated to coverage of all Army Reserve "Best Warrior" candidates

Sgt. David W. Rider and Spc. Joshua McDowell Named Best Warriors!

Posted by geraldostlund on July 31, 2010

The Army Reserve named Sgt. David W. Rider, B company, 256th Support Hospital, Twinsburg, Ohio and Spc. Joshua McDowell, 7246th Installation Medical Support Unit, Omaha, Nebraska, Best Warriors for 2010. The two were chosen NCO and Soldier of the Year for the Army Reserve after a grueling week-long competition against 28 other competitors.
Sgt. David Rider

Best Warrior, Army Reserve NCO of the Year, Sgt. David W. Rider, B company, 256th Support Hospital. Read Sgt. Rider's biography.

Best Warrior, Army Reserve Soldier of the Year, Spc. Joshua McDowell, 7246th Installation Medical Support Unit

Best Warrior, Army Reserve Soldier of the Year, Spc. Joshua McDowell, 7246th Installation Medical Support Unit

Read Sgt. Rider’s biography. Check out pictures and video of Sgt. Rider on our Flickr page.

Read Spc. McDowell’s biography.  Check out pictures and video of Spc. McDowell on our Flickr page.

The NCO of the Year runner-up is Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Fries, Cornell NCO Academy, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

The Soldier of the Year runner-up is Spc. Robert A. Busch, 979th Engineer Company, Lexington, Kentucky.

Who where the competitors? What were the events in the Best Warrior Competition?

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One day and 25 Warriors Remain…

Posted by paorussell on July 30, 2010

Sgt. 1st Class Rodriguez negotiates an obstacle during the confidence course

Sgt. 1st Class Rodriguez negotiates an obstacle during the confidence course

Warriors are keeping the medics gainfully employed as minds and bodies are pushed past limits and to the brink of exhaustion. As the competition heats up, mystery events are added to the mix of warrior tasks. Not knowing keeps competitors constantly off guard and forces them to remain flexible.

That was the plan all along. Months went into coordinating the competition – time and resources that will pay dividends well into the future. First Sgt. Blaine Huston said he believes the training they receive here and bring back to their units or on a deployment is potentially life-saving. He says the folks that put this together, each the best at what they do, bring something new and exciting to every year’s competition. He sees the future of the Army in Best Warriors and wants every Soldier to be motivated by their experiences. Sgt. Shiloh Becher, last year’s “Best Warrior” is attending this year’s competition. “I have gained such confidence in the warrior tasks that anyone could call on me to train any Soldier – it’s an invaluable experience,” he confided.

Despite the literally blistering pace, the mood remains positive.  Soldiers encourage eachother and joke around to take their minds off the stress, pain and exhaustion.   Sgt Daniel Acree describes the quality of the training and the competition. 

The remaining Warriors tested their minds, muscles and mettle tonight during the combatives tournament on the mats. The medics were in back in business – one Soldier’s injuries required a trip to the hospital  – as the no-holds barred competition draws to it’s final hours.

We’ll find out tomorrow… who is this year’s Army Reserve “Best Warrior…”

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Could YOU be a Best Warrior?

Posted by paorussell on July 28, 2010

Sgt. Daniel Acree completes the Night/Day Land Navigation event.

Sgt. Daniel Acree completes the Night/Day Land Navigation event.

Reflecting on the knowledge and skill required to compete in an event like this, I figure if I were to train for next year’s Best Warrior competition I might do okay. I could train to max a PT test, or maybe do well on the written essay. But it’s the sum of the knowledge, strength and dexterity required to compete that Best Warriors exemplify, that would (unfortunately) do me in.

Watch the Combatives competition  LIVE from 7:30-10:30 EST at www.dvidshub.net  – click on ‘upcoming live webcasts’

These Warriors are physically fit – marathon runners, martial artists, a triathlete, a four-time college conference pole vaulting champion and an Ultimate Frisbee player. They are also highly educated – among the competitors are a  Russian linguist, an aviation technician, nurse, and a pilot.

 It also doesn’t hurt that many of these elite competitors have seen combat – much of the competition mirrors real-life experiences: Sgt. Fiedler was awarded the Bronze Star; Staff Christopher Bender is Ranger and Drill Sergeant qualified; Spc. Mathew Parks is a combat lifesaver; and Staff Sgt. Eric White, part of a deployed engineer team that found 177 improvised explosive devices, was engaged by the enemy 19 times. Read the rest of this entry »

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Best Warriors Compete to Hone Combat Skills and Honor fellow Soldiers

Posted by areadmorton on July 28, 2010

Command Sgt. Maj. of the U.S. Army Reserve, Michael D. Schultz (Center), visits with Soldiers prior to the warrior tasks portion of the 2010 U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition.

We are at war – and have been for almost a decade.  As a nation at war, the Army Reserve has transitioned from a strategic to an operational force, bringing combat ready Soldiers and units to the fight.  The quality, intensity and realism of this year’s competition is a testament to the knowledge and skills Reserve Soldiers bring to the table.

As Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Schultz, the Command Sgt Major of the Army Reserve, visited with this year’s competitors, he emphasized the link between the war fight and the combat readiness of today’s Army Reserve.    Read the rest of this entry »

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Over the Hump – Half way point in the competition and only 28 remain.

Posted by geraldostlund on July 28, 2010

Sgt. 1st Class Martin J. Rodriguez, a military policeman and 2010 Army Reserve Best Warrior competitor from Pueblo, Colo., assigned to 1st Battalion, 104th Regiment, gets his feet taped after finishing the land navigation course at Fort McCoy, Wis., July 27, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, Army Reserve Public Affairs)

Sgt. 1st Class Martin J. Rodriguez, a military policeman and 2010 Army Reserve Best Warrior competitor from Pueblo, Colo., assigned to 1st Battalion, 104th Regiment, gets his feet taped after finishing the land navigation course at Fort McCoy, Wis., July 27, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell, Army Reserve Public Affairs)

It’s Wednesday morning and half of the 2010 Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition is completed.  Twenty-eight of the original competitors are pushing themselves to be “the one”.  Already done are the board appearance, the fitness test, written essay, day and night land navigation, and 10K road march (see all the photos and videos on Flickr or DVIDS; follow along on Facebook or Twitter).  Still to come are day and night weapons qualification, two mystery events and a double-elimination Army combatives tournament.

Watch the awards banquet and Best Warrior announcement LIVE Friday night on our webcast from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. CENTRAL time. Click the “Upcoming Live Webcasts” icon on the bottom right. Read the rest of this entry »

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Best Warrior Newlyweds? Ohio couple teams up for Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition

Posted by areadmorton on July 27, 2010

Who says Army training keeps Army families from spending quality time together?  Army Reserve Sgts David and Alicia Rider are making history this week here at Fort McCoy as the first Army Reserve Best Warrior husband/wife competitor/sponsor team. 

Sgt. David W. Rider, healthcare specialist and practical nurse from Bravo Co. 256th Combat Support Hospital, does some last minute studying with his sponsor and wife, Sgt. Alicia Rider, for the NCO Board portion for the U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition NCO, being held at Fort McCoy, Wis., July 26. (Photo by Spc. Erika Montano, Military Intelligence Readiness Command) /RELEASED

Sgt. David W. Rider, healthcare specialist and practical nurse from Bravo Co. 256th Combat Support Hospital, does some last minute studying with his sponsor and wife, Sgt. Alicia Rider, for the NCO Board portion for the U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition NCO, being held at Fort McCoy, Wis., July 26. (Photo by Spc. Erika Montano, Military Intelligence Readiness Command) /RELEASED

“Preparing for this was harder than preparing our wedding because when he goes out to complete I can only support him.  I can’t ruck march for him and I can’t help him run two seconds faster,” said Alicia, who is a healthcare specialist assigned to the 371st Minimal Care Detachment in Twinsburg, Ohio. 

As David prepared to embark on his night land nav at 3am this morning he talked about his preperation and training.  One thing is certain, he could not imagine having a better sponsor. 

“I have a lot of respect and admiration for her,” he said after leaving the boardroom. “It makes me very happy to have her as my sponsor.” 

The hardest thing they did leading up to the competition?  Perhaps finding the date for their wedding, which they moved a couple of times before marrying on June 3rd of this year.   It’s no wonder considering that both are also attending college to earn Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing. 

These Soldiers and newlyweds share a lot to be sure and over the next few days that could include the title of Best Warrior team for the Army Reserve.

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Day 2: Later that morning….

Posted by paorussell on July 26, 2010

 

Staff Sgt. Eric White, left, runs with Sgt. 1st Class Jacquelyn Craig during the 2-mile run at the Army Physical Fitness Test at the 2010 Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition at Fort McCoy, Wis. on Moday, July 26, 2010. White had already completed the event and was lending encouragement to Craig.

Staff Sgt. Eric White, left, runs with Sgt. 1st Class Jacquelyn Craig during the 2-mile run at the Army Physical Fitness Test at the 2010 Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition at Fort McCoy, Wis. on Moday, July 26, 2010. White had already completed the event and was lending encouragement to Craig.

Ready for the board:

SFC Jacqueline Craig’s twelve year-old son and his friends think his mom is cool and gets to do cool things in the Army Reserve. The feeling that gives her is one of the things that motivate her today as she slips into her class A’s in preparation for her board appearance. The other is her Soldiers. She feels she owes it to them to lead by example. She is one of two females here and, at 43, the oldest attending competitor. Craig, a level three combatives master trainer with 14 years of service under her belt is philosophical about what the competition means to her and the Soldiers she dedicates herself to mentoring. (video ).

Today’s board will be followed bywritten essays, and later tonight, after dinner the competitors will meet for land navigation plotting. After that, I hear the vacation is over…

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Early morning P.T.

Posted by paorussell on July 26, 2010

Day 2

The Army Physical Fitness Test at the 2010 Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition at Fort McCoy, Wis. on Moday, July 26, 2010. Sgt. Daniel Acree (84), Sgt. 1st Class Martin Rodriguez (95) lead a group of runners.

The Army Physical Fitness Test at the 2010 Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition at Fort McCoy, Wis. on Moday, July 26, 2010. Sgt. Daniel Acree (84), Sgt. 1st Class Martin Rodriguez (95) lead a group of runners.

3 a.m. wake-up to keep up with the competition.  I was glad I had purchased two bottles of insect repellant but kind of bummed that I left both of them at the office. The mosquitoes descended as the competitors, looking as tired as I felt, warmed up. After the push-ups and sit-up events, I glanced across the still-moonlit field, wondering who the fastest runner would be, then headed  to the track to ask one of the cadre if event scores would be counted in the final selection.

My interview with a platoon sergeant was cut short by cheers from the sidelines as the last runner rounded the bend. Watch the video of Sgt. First Class Jacqueline Craig (video) as she crosses the finish line with a group of fellow warriors who doubled back to provide a much-needed morale boost. It’s really great to see how much everyone, including the staff, looks out for each other.

Sgt. Adam Kourelis waits for the 2-mile run

Sgt. Adam Kourelis waits for the 2-mile run

Off to a great start was a very optimistic Sgt. Adam Kourelis, who came in either first or very close to it on the run.  Judge for yourself here, (video) it was too close for me to tell… I will let you know later when I find out. He credited regular runs with his wife for his fast finish.(video)  Everyone seemed to be in good spirits. A rewarding breakfast that included milk, juice, a Nutra-grain bar, Frosted Flakes and Apple Jacks (APPLE Jacks!) was served on site before the group headed off to prepare for the board appearances and written essays. More about that in a little bit.

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They’ve Arrived…It all starts tomorrow

Posted by paorussell on July 25, 2010

Staff Sgt. Martin J. Rodriguez, a military policeman from Pueblo, Colo., assigned to 1st Battalion, 104th Regiment, prepares to leave the La Crosse Municipal Airport at Fort McCoy, Wis., 25 July, 2010. Rodriguez is a competing for the Army Reserve 2010 Best Warrior competition throughout the week. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell)

Staff Sgt. Martin J. Rodriguez, a military policeman from Pueblo, Colo., assigned to 1st Battalion, 104th Regiment, prepares to leave the La Crosse Municipal Airport at Fort McCoy, Wis., 25 July, 2010. Rodriguez is a competing for the Army Reserve 2010 Best Warrior competition throughout the week. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Burrell)

My name is Sgt. First Class Melissa Russell. I have spent most of my years in the military telling stories about Army Reserve Soldiers, usually singling out one particular Soldier or unit at a time. After reviewing the bios of this year’s 2010’s Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition is going to be trying to decide which of the 28 highly qualified competitors to highlight.

There is no question in my mind, or the minds of the Soldiers who serve alongside Citizen-Soldiers, that the days of the ‘weekend warrior’ are over. Two reservists,  Spec. Obray of the Army Reserve, and Staff Sgt. Noyce- Merino of the National Guard blew through that perception two years ago by competing, and winning against the Army’s elite at the Department of the Army’s worldwide competition. The playing field is now even, and if the credentials of this year’s competitors are any indication, this year will be one to watch!

Tomorrow morning will kick off with the Army Physical Fitness Test and written essays. The competitors will then move on to Land Navigation plotting. I have been promised that the pace is brutal and I’m looking forward to what Sgt. Maj. Robert J. Ireland, the USARC G-3/7 has put together for the Army Reserve’s top competitors.

I will be up early to get an up-close look and share their stories with you during this 6-day event.

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Associated Press post in Chicago Tribune

Posted by timothyhalephoto on July 19, 2010

The Associated Press has posted a news brief in the Chicago Tribune.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/sns-ap-wi–bestwarrior,0,1682369.story

Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy to host Army Reserve’s Best Warrior contest

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Western Wisconsin‘s Fort McCoy is set to host the U.S. Army Reserve’s fourth annual “Best Warrior” contest later this month.Twenty-nine contestants from across the country will compete in events that include essay writing, physical fitness tests, battle drills and day and night weapons qualification. The competition is scheduled for July 26 to 30.

The top soldier and noncommissioned officer will compete in the U.S. Army’s “Best Warrior” competition in October.

Update: The field now contains 28 contestants, not 29.

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