KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany –
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – Four Soldiers from various units in the 7th Mission Support Command braved unseasonably cold and rainy weather to compete in this year’s Best Warrior Competition held here across the Kaiserslautern Military Community, April 23-27, 2019.
The winner of the enlisted category was Spc. Kathryn Hubble, a combat medic healthcare specialist with the 209th Digital Liaison Detachment, Wiesbaden, Germany.
Sgt. Konner Klein, a supply sergeant with Charlie Company, 457th Civil Affairs Battalion, Wiesbaden, Germany, was this year´s winner in the noncommissioned officer category.
Both Hubble and Klein will represent the 7th MSC at the United States Army Reserve Command's BWC at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on June 23-29, 2019.
This will be Klein´s second trip back the United States as a representative for the 7th MSC. He was also the enlisted category winner of last year’s 7th MSC BWC competition.
Also competing were Spc. Yannick Marazia, a heavy wheeled vehicle operator with the 510th Regional Support Group, Kaiserslautern, Germany, and Staff Sgt. Christopher Copple, an air missile defense operator with the 2500th Digital Liaison Detachment, Vicenza, Italy.
All four Soldiers negotiated more than just obstacle courses to make the BWC completion successful. There were also challenges and last-minute changes that needed to be met by both the competitors and the event organizers.
“The biggest challenge we had this year was not knowing if we were going to have the competition,” said Master Sgt. Jeffery Carruth, Operations 1st Sgt. of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, 7th MSC, and one of the event organizers. “With the op-tempo and real-world exercise over here, it’s hard to organize, schedule and pick out a time and arrange funding,” he added.
The competition was tight for both the enlisted and NCO categories. There was only a 22-point difference separating the candidates.
But it was the last event that proved to determine the winners.
“This is the first time I have ever seen the essay portion determine the outcome of an event like this,” said Carruth.
Hubble had only three weeks to prepare and used her time by hiking up to 10 miles with about 50 pounds of equipment almost daily. She began the competition with blisters.
“I was relieved when the event was over and I could finally relax,” said Hubble. “I was very proud of myself when I found out that I won.” She plans to continue training and begin preparations for the USARC BWC right away.
“To prepare myself I will continue to ruck-march daily. I also plan to re-learn basic training and work on my Warrior Tasks and Skills,” she added.
Klein did not expect to win this year at the NCO level. He was a last-minute replacement and had less than two days to prepare and is still recovering from a surgery performed last November.
“I am a new NCO, I am not at 100% physically and there are other NCOs that have been doing this longer than me,” said Klein. “But I was more comfortable this time. I think knowing what to expect from last year gave me the advantage.”
Marazia is looking forward to competing again next year after coming in second in overall points.
“I learned a lot about myself by testing my limits, and I am very proud of my performance,” said Marazia. “I have spoken with my sponsor, and I plan to start training right away and prepare for next year’s competition,” he added.
“This was not about winning,” said Copple, who plans to mentor his Soldiers for next year’s event. “This was about inspiring and mentoring my Soldiers and I am very proud of myself and all the participants,” he said.
Another BWC organizer, Sgt. Maj. James McCloskey, 7th MSC Operations Sgt. Maj., was pleased with the overall execution of the event, which he called a selection for the USARC competition.
McCloskey, who personally spent most of his military career at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, arrived to Germany in February and discovered that planning, legal and environmental conditions can be different in a European garrison.
“I am not used to the limitations and shortcomings that can arise while working in Germany,” said McCloskey. “I am impressed by the ability of the Cadre to overcome these obstacles and execute an event of this caliber,” he said.
McCloskey was also taken by surprise by the closeness of the competition.
“In my entire career, I have never seen a competition this close,” he said.
“The winner is not determined by who is in the best shape or who has the most training or experience,” said McCloskey. “The winner is determined by who has the most heart, who continues and presses on and never gives up.”