The strength, drive and determination of an Army Reserve Soldier

By Rosario Urquieta | 63rd Readiness Division | Aug. 7, 2018

FORT HOOD, Texas — A U.S. Army Reserve Soldier, father of two, husband, and a full-time civilian employee; this Soldier’s determination and persistent drive to meet his goals while maintaining his military career, civilian responsibilities, and spirit demonstrates his strength, and willpower to make his goals a reality.

In 2016 Vargas enlisted into the U.S. Army Reserve after his contract with the active Army had concluded. Once enlisted into the reserve component, Vargas found out about the combatives competition being held in Fort Hood, Texas and registered.

“It felt good,” said Vargas, he continued, “to win the 2016 heavyweight combatives competition in Fort Hood, Texas. Then when the opportunity came around again I was ready and able to step up and rise to the occasion once again.”

His desire and steadfastness led him to his 2016 win as a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier in the heavyweight category while competing in a predominantly active army competition. With the 2016 combatives competition victory under his belt, he was further motivated to continue to train and compete. In 2018 Vargas competed in a team made up of 3rd MCPOD soldiers and won as an individual in the light heavyweight category.

“Not only was this a win for me, it was a win for the unit,” said Vargas, he continued, “this win demonstrated that the 3rd MCPOD soldiers are well trained and were keeping up with their basic tasks and drills.”

Due to his exemplary can-do attitude and commitment, Vargas earned Maj. John Barry, 3rd MCPOD commander’s support in his want and drive to compete.

“All the training he has done has been on his own,” said Barry.

In preparing for the competition the 3rd MCPOD team would get together on their own in any space they could find and work on sharpening their skills.

“We didn’t send him to school, we didn’t send him to any additional classes of any kind to prepare him for combatives,” said Barry, he continued “this was all done on his own time with his Fort Hood team members.”

Vargas attended and competed in the tournament along with a team of Soldiers, which were given the opportunity to compete in the combatives tournament in Fort Benning, Georgia to represent Fort Hood, Texas.

“He doesn’t need to be handheld or coddled through the process, and that’s something that other Soldiers are able to see and pay attention to,” said Barry.

Barry has known Vargas for a year and a half, and within that time Vargas has demonstrated his competence, capabilities, self-motivating attitude, and determination.

“Vargas didn’t wake up one day and just all of sudden become Sgt. Vargas, it happened over a career of learning and mentoring, that’s what got him there. Now, soldiers are starting to see the possibilities, and think ‘hey if I start doing this then there are additional doors that will open to me because of that’,” said Barry.

Vargas trains when he can, some days he is able to train twice a day and others once a day. But no matter what he always finds time in his busy life.

“It really comes down to how bad you want it,” said Vargas.