FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. –
Twelve competitors from the 653rd Regional Support Group (RSG) and the 77th Quartermaster Group (QM GRP) participated in the Best Warrior Competition in early February 2021.
The BWC is an annual event that tests individual soldiering skills, mental agility, and tests technical and tactical proficiencies, usually under stressful or mentally fatiguing scenarios.
“The intensity that we try to focus on, is testing their grit,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan J. Tobler, Area Security/Force Protection Non-Commissioned Officer of the 653rd RSG and assistant NCOIC for the BWC. “Testing their mental fortitude and pushing them to their physical limits.”
The BWC spanned four days and the contestants hit the ground running. After meeting at Barnes Field, contestants immediately changed into their Army Physical Fitness Uniforms and started warming up for the ACFT.
The contestants go into each event blind.
“The entire time that was one of the hardest things. How can I get mentally prepared for something that I don’t know is going to come?” asked Sgt. Viviana Hurtado-Perez, a Shower, Laundry & Clothing Repair Specialist with the 268th QM CO.
One event may call for being able to assemble a radio and call for a medical evacuation for a wounded Soldier, another event may involve being dressed in their full Army Service Uniform—the dress uniform—and write an essay.
“Regardless of what anybody says, Soldiers are Infantry Soldiers first,” said Command Sgt. Maj Gregory Chandler, senior enlisted advisor for the 77th QM GRP. “We all need to know how to fight, communicate, shoot, move, etc. etc. That is the basic AWT (Army Warrior Tasks) that we need to know, no matter what rank they are.”
AWTs are a collection of soldiering skills critical to a Soldier’s and a unit’s ability to survive on the battlefield.
“Individual soldier’s skills is what we’re looking at,” said Command Sgt. Maj Denny J. Walker, senior enlisted advisor in the 653rd RSG. “We conducted the ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test), the 12-mile foot march and AWTs. We also did a written test for knowledge as well as an appearance boards for knowledge.”
This year’s BWC provided a unique opportunity for the two brigades to collaborate, share resources, cross-train cadre and competitors alike, and identify the top Soldiers who will advance to their respective Commands.
“Because of the COVID situation we needed to think outside the box in order to make the mission - the BWC mission,” said Chandler. “We had to adapt and overcome and perform the mission.”
Despite many setbacks and even having to move the BWC back a month, both CSMs were determined to see the BWC to fruition.
“I would not have canceled it. I would have made it happen one way or the other,” said Walker.
Finalists from each brigade will advance to the next level individually for the 77th QM GRP or as a team with the 653rd RSG.
The 653rd RSG is a part of the 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) headquarter in Mesa, Arizona. The 77th QM GRP is a part of the 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) headquartered in El Paso, Texas. Both brigade-level elements provide military and logistical support to the Army Reserve.