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NEWS | March 4, 2021

Army Reserve Soldier follows footsteps of fallen comrades

By Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris 99th Readiness Division

Spc. Isabella Jaime has honored combat-arms Soldiers in the past; now, she’ll get a taste of what it’s like to be one.

Jaime joined seven of her fellow Army Reserve Soldiers in the 99th Readiness Division’s FY21 Best Warrior Competition Train-Up Feb. 22-26 at division headquarters here.

“There are infantrymen out there putting their lives on the line, doing the stuff that we get to learn about for the next few days,” said Jaime, a trumpet player with the 99th Readiness Division’s 78th Army Band stationed at Fort Totten, New York.

Although Jaime’s military profession is not normally geared toward combat training, her role is of vital importance.

“I do funerals for the Army, so when we have a fallen Soldier, I play Taps at the funeral,” explained Jaime, who is studying music education at New Jersey City University.

The BWC Train-Up is designed to prepare Soldiers for the upcoming Combined Readiness Division BWC by improving their depth of knowledge and proficiency in military skills in a competitive, tactical environment.

The event promotes and sustains a culture of excellence, leadership, individual readiness and team-building within the command.

“Best Warrior seemed like a course that I’d be interested in, and I’m excited to be here,” said Jaime, a two-year Army veteran and native of Wantagh, Long Island.

The BWC Train-Up gave some Soldiers their first-ever experience with more advanced weapons and equipment.

“For some of these Soldiers, this is the first exposure they’ve had,” explained Command Sgt. Maj. John Zimmerman, command sergeant major of the 99th RD. “I did a straw poll at my in-brief and asked all the Soldiers the last time they touched an M240B machine gun, and not a single Soldier raised their hand.

“For some of these Soldiers, this is the first time they’re getting their hands on some of these systems,” he added.

All four Army Reserve readiness divisions will meet at Fort Hunter Liggett, California, in March for a Combined Readiness Division “Top Squad” BWC. The top five Soldiers from that event will represent the four RDs at the Army Reserve-level competition to be held in May at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.