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NEWS | March 19, 2016

1st MSC Soldiers compete for top spot during Best Warrior Competition

By Spc. Anthony Martinez

CAMP SANTIAGO, Puerto Rico - Demonstrating commitment to the Army values, embodying the Warrior Ethos, and representing the force of the future are just 3 qualities that describe the Soldiers participating in the 1st Mission Support Command (MSC) Best Warrior Competition (BWC) at Camp Santiago, Puerto Rico, March 14-18.


During this five-day competition, these elite competitors tested their Army aptitude by conquering medical evacuation simulations, board interviews, physical fitness tests, written exams, and Warrior tasks and battle drills relevant to today’s operating environment.


During the BWC, Soldiers went through several tasks, including the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). With a start time of out your typical o’dark thirty, every Soldier performed exceptionally well despite the 90 degree weather and gave distinguished themselves by giving 110%. Sgt. Juan Almodovar, 35th ESB, B Co., experienced a slight setback during the push-up event. “I was nervous, I could have gotten eliminated if I failed,” said Almodovar, “I was using an incorrect form and I got corrections from the Drill Sergeant and finished the event with good numbers.”


During this physically and mentally strenuous week, Soldiers held high expectations throughout. “I expect this competition to push you, it will push you physically and mentally and I sure look forward to pushing myself and become better as a Soldier and as a person.” Said Private 1st Class Andrew I. Rosser, 201th Reginal Support Group.


The Noncommissioned officers (NCOs) have demonstrated their leadership skills guiding the rest of the competitors through this competition. For Sgt. Standrich Granell, 268th Transportation Co, this isn’t his first time competing at the 1st MSC BWC.  “This is my third year competing and I can tell the difference,” said Standrich, “each year the events get tougher. This is great because we need to be prepared to represent the 1st MSC at USARC level.” Granell represented the 1st MSC during the USARC Best Warrior Competition last year as a specialist.


As with any competition, winning is the mission but most of these Soldiers are taking home more than just a win. “This is a unique experience,” said Spc. Roberto Santiago, 471st EN Co., “We have to take advantage of this opportunity, you come out of this experience feeling motivated to carry on with your military career and civilian life.”


Unlike unit level competitions, the competitors did not have their sponsors beside them, motivating them and pushing them through the events. The drill sergeants present were not only evaluating their performance but were also motivating them and ensuring they gave nothing but their best.


“It doesn’t matter who is going to win, our objective is that each one of those Soldiers learn and execute each one of those tasks to the highest level possible,” said Senior drill Sgt. Henrick Roman, 1st/389th E Co.


As the Soldiers prepared for the last event, the Sergeant Major board, the competition was tight with only a one or two point difference. After five days of competition, only two move forward, an NCO and a junior enlisted Soldier.


Through his hard work, effort and leadership, Granell came out victorious and will be representing the 1st MSC during the USARC BWC along with Spc. Janmichael Armijo, 35th ESB C Co.  During the competition, Armijo expressed his desire to win and he succeeded. “It’s a good learning experience for my career and just hope I win.” Said Armijo.


Brigadier General Alberto C. Rosende, commanding general for the 1st MSC, was present during the award ceremony. He congratulated Granell and Armijo and has great confidence that they will represent the command well.


Even though there can only be one winner per category, this competition gave these Soldiers something more, something not everyone can say they have. “I know that Soldiers or individuals tend to be disappointed when they don’t come out on top,” expressed Rosende. “But at the end of the day, they have to remember that they were participants, they were on the battlefield, they were members of those that were really living the event, and nobody can take that away from them.”


Rosende emphasized that these Soldiers were representing their units and when they go back to their units, they can mentor other folks on what they need to do be better. “They can come back here next year that much stronger and better,” said Rosende. “The Best Warrior Competition is not only to identify the best Warrior, but it really is to give opportunities to Soldiers to continue training in their warrior skills and make them the best solider that they can be.”