By Sgt. 1st Class Michele Uitermarkt
Medical Readiness and Training Command
Despite a massive snowstorm shutting down much of the state of Texas, the Medical Readiness Training Command and the 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command hosted a Best Warrior Competition at Camp Bullis, Texas, the last week of February 2021. Ten Army Reserve Soldiers continued their quest to earn the title of the top Soldier in their respective commands and the opportunity to compete for the title of The Army Reserve's Best Warrior.
The competition encompassed six days of grueling tasks designed by Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Lopes, and 1st Sgt. Jorge Pimentel of the 4th ESC, both former drill instructors, along with a team of 37 cadre from the MRTC and 4th ESC.
“This type of competition builds the knowledge and confidence of the competitors,” said Pimentel. “They have to prepare extensively and study and build their physical resilience. They are here to compete, but they are also here to learn lessons they can take back to their units.”
The Soldiers participated in a series of rigorous tasks including the Army Combat Fitness Test, day and night land navigation, marksmanship, Army Warrior Tasks, a leadership reaction course, a written test, Drill and Ceremony, an obstacle course, a written essay, and a 14 mile road march. Each Soldier also appeared before a formal board.
“These Soldiers took time out of their life to be put through the ringer,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Gessler of MRTC.
The winners will move forward to the next level of competition at their respective commands, the Army Reserve Medical Command and the 377th Theater Sustainment Command, to compete for the opportunity to attend the Army Reserve’s Best Warrior Competition.
“It has been really fun, rewarding, and extremely challenging. It’s definitely physically demanding,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Easley, Executive Officer of the Army Reserve’s 7305th Medical Training Support Battalion. Easley has participated in three Best Warrior Competitions.
Spc. Jeff Wood, a Jonesboro, Arkansas native, was a member of the winning team of last year’s group Best Warrior Competition from the Army Reserve’s 90th Sustainment Brigade. He served as a cadre member for this year’s competition.
Speaking in retrospect he said, “It really showed me that I could do more than what I thought I could do. These competitions really push your limits and you can take that to your everyday life. I didn’t think I could go to college and do well, but after winning this competition last year, I learned that I can do whatever I set my mind to do.”
Each winner for their Command was presented with an Army Commendation Medal and trophy by their Commanding General and Command Sergeant Major.
1st Lt. Matthew G. Easley, from Elk Grove, Calif. was named “Officer of the Year” for MRTC and Sgt. Justin P. Kelleher, representing the 2nd Medical Training Battalion, was named "NCO of the Year." Kelleher, a Human Resources NCO from Salt Lake City, will represent the MRTC at the next level of competition.
“Take that back to your Soldiers and encourage them to compete,” said Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Marsiglia, Commanding General of MRTC. “You all are the future of the Army.”
Brig. Gen Kevin Meisler, Commanding General of the 4th ESC, recognized the 4th ESC winners.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thomas B. Downer from the 4th ESC received the "Officer of the Year" award. Sgt. David T. Barton, from the 327th Transportation Detachment, earned "NCO of the Year" and Spc. Edgar Gutierrez, of the 319th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, received the title of “Soldier of the Year.”