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NEWS | May 4, 2016

U.S. Army Reserve Best Warriors arrive for competition

By Sgt. George Thurmond 319th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Competitors of the ninth annual U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition arrived today in preparation for the four-day competition, which begins May 2.

Many Soldiers arrived by flight and were greeted by Master Sgt. Todd Sanford of the 518th Sustainment Brigade based in Knightdale, North Carolina, who led the transportation of the competitors from the airport to the base.

One of the Soldiers greeted by Sanford wasn’t new to the USARC BWC, but still felt a few nerves about competing once again.

“I’m a little nervous, but excited. It’s my second time here so I do have experience in what to expect, but it’s always a mystery event, it’s always challenging. I’m excited to be here to see what I can do,” said Sgt. Muhammad Ali, the 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, assigned to the Alpha Company, 405th Combat Support Hospital, based in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Hailing from the same unit as Ali, Spc. Carlo Deldonno, the Soldier of the Year representative of the command, who graduated from Army combat medic school a little less than a year ago, saw strength in his perceived lack of experience.

Deldonno felt his lack of military experience would reflect in his general military knowledge, but could also be a strength saying, I’ve completed basic combat training and Advance Individual Training recently so a lot of the skills are very fresh in my mind in the by-the-book method.

One change to the BWC was the lack of sponsors accompanying the competitors this year.

“I think coming last time with a sponsor was helpful, however they did challenges were the sponsor did not help you as much, so coming back this time I can expect that…but not having a sponsor this time is a challenge,” said Ali. “It’s more about what you know and not what your sponsor knows and in that sense it’s a true test of what you’re capable of doing as a Soldier.”  

A common challenge amongst the competitors was being “Twice the Citizen.” Ali, a full time doctorate student, explained.  

“I think being a Soldier citizen itself is more of a challenge, more so than active duty … simply because we’re wearing two hats. We’re a civilian outside of being an ambassador for the Army, and in the Army we’re being a fulltime Soldier and competing with the active component,” he said. “(We are tasked) with being as good as them, and being ready to deploy and performing just as well, if not better than they are. So in that regard I feel we have to be more ready in all aspects. We have to consistently challenge ourselves and be able to get better at what we do, all while insuring that we are up to date in our civilian life.”

Although the competitors spoke of various challenges on the road to representing their respective commands at this year’s USARC BWC, Deldonno summed up a common theme amongst the group.

“This competition embodies what it is to be a Soldier, and I want to do my best and represent my unit and the Army Reserve.”