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NEWS | June 15, 2018

Urban assault course boosts morale

By Sgt. Amber Sanders 372nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

The U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior urban assault course not only challenged competitors physically and mentally, but it also served as a morale booster during the 2018 Best Warrior Competition at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The complex lane has been the only event thus far allowing soldiers to compete as a team.

“Doing individual things proves your personal skills, but working as a team is everybody’s effort,” said Spc. James Ranstead, with Bravo Company, 396th Combat Support Hospital, 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support)

“To come together with very efficient warriors and work together as one Army is a really hooah moment,” Ranstead explained. “It feels really great. I like being able to come together and clear these room knowing that Soldiers to the right and left me have my back.”

For the timed assault lane, competitors were tasked with entering a mock village, clearing buildings and rescuing a Soldier captured by enemy forces.

“For this particular exercise, your standard movement drills are extremely important,” said Sgt. Michael Mangan, a chemical equipment repair specialist with the 439th Quartermaster Company, 334th Quartermaster Battalion, 377th Theater Sustainment Command. “Completing all those basic warrior task that we are trained on, it’s awesome watching them all come together.”

Competitors were broken down into four man teams and flown to the lane by helicopter, which was a pleasant surprise after riding a bus to all the other events.

“Coming in on the helicopter was definitely exciting,” said Spc. Konner Klein, a supply noncommissioned officer with Charlie Company, 457th Civil Affairs Battalion, 7th Mission Support Command

“I am actually training to become a UH-60 pilot,” Klein said. “The small things are pretty big. It boosts our confidence and morale while we try to make it through this competition.” 

During BWC, competitors are not told what they will be doing until right before each event.

“This competition definitely brings in the element of surprise,” said Spc. Dawson Birchall, an aviation operations specialist with the 244th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade, U.S. Army Reserve Aviation Command.

Competitors expressed that not knowing exactly which events the competition will entail each day causes additional stress to an already demanding situation, but events such as the urban assault course helped Soldiers stay motivated until the end.

“Having to react spontaneously can be very difficult and stressful especially in a combat situation.” Said Spc. Birchall. “Not everyone can handle it. With events like this, that stress kind of goes away.”

Working as a team allowed the competitors to showcase their leadership abilities, form stronger bonds with other competitors and keep each other motivated.

“It’s great, through all the adversity we are pushing through it as team,” said Staff Sgt. Derek Hopkins, a cavalry scout with the 2nd Battalion, 398th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), 108th Training Command (IET)

“That’s basically how you get through any adverse situation, doing it as a team not as an individual,” Hopkins explained. “There is a lot of enthusiasm today because we know we are on the downward slope. Getting to ride out here on the UH-60 was a big morale booster. Then coming out here to clear the buildings, everybody is staying pretty pumped up and motivated the whole time.”