SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HI –
Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Edwin Basa
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Nine Soldiers from the 9th Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) and Hawaii National Guard (HIARNG) competed to earn the top spot at the 2022 Best Warrior Competition March 4-6 at Schofield Barracks and Bellows Air Force Station. The BWC is jointly operated between the Army Reserve and HIARNG. However, for this year’s competition, the HIARNG was the leading planning element.
“The Best Warrior Competition tests our Soldiers’ basic Soldiering skills to move, shoot, and communicate”, said BWC organizer, HIARNG Command Sgt. Maj. James Ryan Jimenez,
“This measures proficiency. This builds readiness,” he said.
“We have Soldiers that do not have the opportunity to fire on a regular basis. This is extra trigger time where they can hone their battle skills that much more,” he added.
Although the HIARNG announced their noncommissioned officer and enlisted winners soon after the last event, the 9th MSC revealed their two winners the following day.
The Army Reserve winners were Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Staff Sgt. Jeremy Dornbusch, and Soldier of the Year Spc. Shawbaz Soaia. Both hail from the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment.
“It means a lot to me to be able to represent the 100th Battalion,” said Dornbusch. “Put your mind to it, work hard. No matter your age or MOS (Military Occupation Specialty), you can do whatever you want.”
“It was not easy. I definitely had to earn it,” said Soaia. “Now I’m even more fired up to keep training harder and studying more. Hopefully, we can bring it all the way home.”
They both will advance to compete at the U.S. Army Pacific Best Warrior Competition in Hawaii which will include active duty, National Guard and Reserve Soldiers.
BWC consisted of various events over the course of three days. The first day commenced with the Army Combat Fitness Test and later followed with the land navigation and obstacle course event. The second day consisted of individual weapons qualification, a road march, and a written test. The final day concluded with warrior tasks and an appearance board.
For Spc. Charles Johnson, 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, BWC can enhance a Soldier as a whole.
“You forget things like setting up claymore (mines)…we do have hand grenades, and CBRN (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear) scenarios that exists outside of just putting your mask on,” said Johnson. “BWC broadens your spectrum of what the Army has to offer.”
For another competitor, Sgt. Steven Jones, 411th Engineer Battalion, felt that BWC was apersonal challenge.
“This event gave me the opportunity to actually build on my strengths and refine my weaknesses, so I could understand what I need to improve on,” Jones said.
Beginning in September, the Army will hold the inaugural Best Squad Competition which will replace BWC. It will emphasize the cohesiveness of a team while still evaluating Soldiers individually.
“This will be a great opportunity to incorporate our Soldiers to go back to our squad-level mentality,” Jimenez said.