June 28, 2013 –
FORT McCOY, Wis. - The U.S. Army Reserve Command announced the winners of the 2013 Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition today at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy here.
The 2013 Army Reserve Best Warrior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year is Sgt. 1st Class Jason Manella. A civil affairs specialist, Manella is a native of Fremont, Calif. He is assigned to the 445th Civil Affairs Battalion in Mountain View, Calif. and represented the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) in the competition.
The 2013 Army Reserve Best Warrior Soldier of the Year is Spc. Mitchell Fromm. A Combat Engineer, Fromm is a native of Marathon City, Wis. He is assigned to the 428th Engineer Company in Wausau, Wis. and represented the 416th Theater Engineer Command in the competition.
Manella and Fromm will go on to represent the Army Reserve in the Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition in October at Fort Lee, Va.
For Manella, not only did he have to overcome all that was thrown before him in the competition, but he also has made a tremendous recovery from several improvised explosive device attacks while deployed to Afghanistan in 2012.
To aid his recovery, Manella worked on regaining short-term memory by learning the Army Study Guide.
“It’s an honor to be selected and represent the Army Reserve in front of the entire Army,” Manella said. “I’ve been working hard at this for almost a year now training and I am ready to move forward and give it the best I can.”
For Fromm, competing in Best Warrior is just one more step in his professional development.
He volunteers for every training opportunity his unit has to offer, to include the Reserve Foreign Exchange Program. Fromm said he joined the military because he wanted to do everything, so he seeks out every class possible and accepts every opportunity forwarded to him.
Now, Fromm has another opportunity to succeed.
“I’m just going to take it real slow and keep learning something new everyday,” Fromm said. “I expect a lot of movement, very little sleep and it’s going to be exciting. I like all those things.”
Fromm credits unit cohesion for his success throughout this year’s competition cycle.
“I’m not going by myself, I’m going with the whole 428th because every one of them have spent time with me and taken time out of their personal schedules,” Fromm said.
Other honors at the awards banquet were as follows:
Best Warrior runner-up (noncommissioned officer category): Sgt. 1st Class Richard Silva, a Career Counselor with the 11th Battalion Army Reserve Careers Division located in Los Alamitos, Calif. Silva, a Merced, Calif. native, represented the Army Reserve Careers Division.
Best Warrior runner-up (soldier category): Spc. Zachary Sharpe, a Civil Affairs Specialist with the 414th Civil Affairs Battalion in Southfield, Mich. Sharpe, a native of Davison, Mich., represented the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) in the competition.
Highest Army Physical Fitness Score: Spc. Muhammad Ali, a Medical Laboratory Technician with the 405th Combat Support Hospital, West Hartford, Conn. Ali, a native of Stratford, Conn., represented the 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) in the competition.
Highest Weapons Qualification: Sgt. Jeremiah Bruce, an Infantryman with the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment, Fort Shafter, Hawaii. Bruce, a native of Honolulu, represented the 9th Mission Support Command in the competition.
NCO Combatives Winner: Cpl. Jabriel Santos, a cargo specialist representing the 1st Mission Support Command and a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico.
Soldier Combatives Winner: Spc. Devin Singer, a food service specialist representing the 79th Sustainment Support Command and a native of Morris, Ill.
Even though there were only two overall winners, Command Sgt. Maj. Luther Thomas, Jr., the command sergeant major of the Army Reserve, challenged the 39 NCOs and soldiers competing this year to go back to their units and pass on what they learned this week.
“I need you to go back to your units and train up 38 other soldiers who can compete at this level and make your own companies a great place to train,” Thomas said.
“Second, as you climb up through the NCO ranks, I need each one of you to lift up those behind you. To coach, teach, mentor, and encourage other soldiers in your formations to compete in the Best Warrior Competition. But more importantly, ensure your soldiers are trained in the basics of soldiering,” he continued.
“And third, I want you to continue to be an example for your soldiers in our Army Reserve. I want you to remain committed to our profession of arms,” Thomas said.
The week started with candidates competing in Best Warrior Competition represented 205,000 soldiers serving in the U.S. Army Reserve.
The 23 NCOs and 16 junior enlisted soldiers spent the week on a variety of Army challenges that tested the limits of their physical and mental capabilities to include: Army Physical Fitness Test, night land navigation, urban orienteering, weapons qualifications, Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, 10km ruck march, written exam and essay, a sergeants major board appearance, and a Modern Army Combatives tournament.
Their military backgrounds and experience represent the entire spectrum of the Army Reserve. Many have deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. Their career fields include civil affairs, military police, healthcare, mechanics, human resources, intelligence, engineering, and musicians. They are America’s warrior-citizens, representing a wide cross-section of communities from across the United States.