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NEWS | Sept. 8, 2015

841st TB Soldier competes in Warrior Challenge

By Airman 1st Class Thomas T. Charlton 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Having the drive and motivation to keep going in the face of adversity is part of being a Soldier. Out on the battlefield, Soldiers are pushed both mentally and physically. Back home, the Army tests its top Soldiers through the Army's Best Warrior of the Year Competition. The competition also builds camaraderie and highlights the importance of resiliency.

Ten soldiers from the Army Materiel Command participated in the competition which included numerous leadership, mental and physical challenges. One of the competing Soldiers is stationed at the Naval Weapons Station here at Joint Base Charleston, SC. Army Staff Sgt. Armond Evansscott, 841st Transportation Battalion freight non-commissioned officer in charge, made it all the way to the second to last tier of the entire competition, located at Camp Atterbury Army Base in Edinburgh, IN, which lasted from the August 25 - 27, 2015.

The competitors had to complete in several events. Some events were routine like the Army physical training test, a day- and night- land navigation exercise and a 10-mile ruck march. While others were more challenging such as passing through a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives chamber, handling stress fires, troop leading procedures, battle drills, first aid, directing and redirecting fire, improvised explosive device, and Army combatives.

The competition consists of five levels starting at the battalion where Soldiers compete against their peers. The battalion level competition includes an oral board conducted by sergeants. The winners progress to the next level. Two Soldiers from the battalion move on to the brigade level. The next levels are division, command and the final level is made up of Soldiers from the entire Department of the Army.

Evansscott said when participating in competitions like the Best Warrior of the Year, preparation and training are the keys to success.

"To get myself ready for the competition, there were several things I had to do," Evansscottsaid. "The people in my battalion would ask me questions any time they passed by me, to prepare me for the board of sergeants. They wanted to ensure I was ready to be drilled with a bunch of questions."

Each competitor has a sponsor from their own battalion to help them stay motivated and ensure their safety throughout the competition.

"My sponsor inspired me to compete this year by his performance in the competition last year," Evansscott said.

Army Staff Sgt. Carlo Gastellu, 841st TB cargo specialist and port operations NCOIC, was Evansscott's sponsor.

"Being his sponsor was an amazing experience," Gastellu said, "It was fun to do it because just last year, Sergeant Evansscott was my sponsor. We switched roles this time around."

Being a sponsor for competitors is a great opportunity but it's a challenge as well.

Gastellu said, "It's difficult being the sponsor. Being at the AMC competition, Evansscott competed for three days straight. In that time, sponsors see their competitors in the morning, dropping them off, and at night, picking them up, and that's it. We don't get to see how they are doing, we just try to help keep them motivated and ensure they are alright throughout the competition."

Part of Evansscott's preparation included weapons training.

"I also went over to the Air Base and practiced with different weapons I was going to have to compete with," Evansscott said." On top of that, there was a lot of physical training involved."

During the competition there  was one mystery event which involved a box full of disassembled weapons.

Evansscott said, "We had 15 minutes to assemble all the weapons and to my knowledge only one sergeant, whose job it is to deal with weapons on a daily basis, actually completed the event."

According to Evansscott, the hardest part of the competition was the ruck marches.

"A difficult thing about the competition is that not only did we have to do a 10-mile ruck, but we also had to ruck from event to event, while carrying more than 100 pounds," said Evansscott. "We rucked more than 50-miles a day."

An unusual option for the competition is to be able to try and compete every year, said Evansscott. However, his plans are to become a sponsor again next year.

Evansscott said, "I think I am going to step back and try give someone else a chance next year.  I want to be a sponsor to give advice and help to others."

"Competition drives Soldiers to become the best, but the Best Warrior of the Year is more than a competition," said Evansscott, "It is almost like going through basic all over again in a small amount of time. It's about never giving up. It's about bringing the mindset to the mission and motivating others to do the same."