Best Warriors highlight Army Strong values

Spc. Shiloh Becher, U.S. Army Reserve Command, top, gets position on Spc. James Holmes, U.S. Army Forces-Korea, during the Army Combatives Tournament at the Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition at Fort Lee, Va. on Friday, Oct. 2, 2009.

Spc. Shiloh Becher, U.S. Army Reserve Command, top, gets position on Spc. James Holmes, U.S. Army Forces-Korea, during the Army Combatives Tournament at the Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition at Fort Lee, Va. on Friday, Oct. 2, 2009.

Two weeks after the Army’s Annual Best Warrior Competition the winners are acclimating to their new roles as spokesmen for the Army, the competitors have settled back into their daily Soldier routines and I amstill amazed by the dedication and strength of 24 individuals I witnessed throughout the week-long competition.

As a civilian employee of the Army, I am surrounded by our Nation’s bravest on a daily basis, but working Best Warrior gave me a greater understanding and appreciation for those I serve. I was able to witness, first hand, what it takes to face adversity head on and prevail, what it takes to perpetuate through pitfalls and what it takes to soldier on in times of trouble. I was able to witness Army Strong. Throughout the week, warriors woke while the sun was still sleeping only to face hostage situations, medical evacuations and provide casualty assistance. As the night faded to day, Soldiers’ mental and physical abilities continued to be pushed and tested by written examinations, land navigation, rifle qualifications and combatives. The sound of gunfire and explosions persisted late into the night and left participants with minimal sleep, night after night.

Despite the haze of sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion, warriors upheld the words of the Soldiers Creed: I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. Their excitement and professionalism never faltered throughout the week’s worth of tests. As I approached participants for interviews, comments or requests I was always greeted with enthusiasm and friendliness, even as the pressures of the competition remained. The week-long competition offered me a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a Soldier. In the short timeframe of a week, the experience allowed me to absorb true, gritty Army culture and better my ability to share the Soldier story.

The extreme perseverance, dedication and professionalism exhibited by the 24 competitors at Best Warrior, and Soldiers everywhere, is what makes my job so enjoyable. The dedication and vigor instilled in the individuals that make up our Army are unparalleled by most and the Best Warrior Competition reiterated that working with and for individuals encompassing such qualities is a privilege to say the least.

Now that you’ve read about my experience, do you have a story about working with Soldiers? Do you know a Soldier who is Army Strong? Tell me about it!

-Courtney Wittmann, Army Public Affairs