Long Road To Victory - Soldiers Finish The McBwc
Story by PV1 Hunter Eastman on 04/20/2018
DEVENS RESERVE FORCES TRAINING AREA, Mass. -- Before sunrise, competitors in the Major Command-level Best Warrior Competition (MCBWC) started their day with a 12-mile ruck march around the South Post of Devens Reserve Forces Training Area in Massachusetts, April 19, 2018.
Despite the heavy rain and cold conditions which developed near the end of the event when most competitors had already logged over ten of the twelve miles, Pvt. Adam Nelson, a combat engineer from the 372nd Engineer Battalion, 416th Theater Engineer Command (TEC), said, "you just have to put that ruck on, start stepping and take it one mile at a time."
This task pushed the competitor's limits and proved their ability to endure in stressful environments and epitomizing the Soldiers Creed calling for physically and mentally tough Soldiers that can rise above any hardship.
"It's extremely exciting to see them plan, strategize, team up and really dig down deep to overcome every challenge," said Maj. Gen. A. C. Roper, Commanding General of the 76th Operational Response Command, the command responsible for organizing the competition.
After the march, Soldiers traveled to Minuteman National Historic Park (MNHP) in Concord, Massachusetts where they watched a reenactment, in honor of the Soldiers who fought and gave their lives in the American Revolution - the original Citizen-Soldiers.
The visit happened 243 years, to the day, of the Battle of Lexington and Concord fought on these very grounds on April 19, 1775 and memorialized in Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Concord Hymn" as 'The shot heard round the world.'
"We're here memorializing patriots of the war," said Sean Conley, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and a direct descendent of Paul Revere also attending the event. "We'll never forget the history of our country."
This was a motivating event that helped Soldiers understand the history and camaraderie of America's early Army, motivating them to continue pursuit of their goals as Soldiers, and model themselves after America's valiant patriots of the Revolutionary War.
Watching a reenactment of the Shot Heard Around the World was an honor for Nelson that hit home for him due to the emotional meaning of the events that sparked the revolution in America.
The visit to MNHP brought everything the Soldiers have been working towards at the competition full circle and into perspective. Understanding what the Army stands for and what it has accomplished with the help of patriots that fought for our country during the Revolutionary War is an experience that will last a lifetime.
"Today serves as a bridge, that connects our past when our Army fired the Shot Heard Around the World to our present-day reality, where we now have the best Army the world has ever known," said Roper, reflecting on the powerful reenactment Soldiers participating in the MCBWC were able to witness as a conclusion to the competition.
After the trip to MNHP, for the final scored event, the competitors where then required to compose and essay with the newly rekindled inspiration of being a Citizen-Soldier.
At the end of the day, competing Soldiers and their sponsors, sergeants major, cadre and other members of the MCBWC gathered for the award ceremonies to name the best warrior in each command.
Specialist John Mundey, from the 463rd Engineer Battalion, 412th TEC, won best warrior, as a junior enlisted Soldier, for his command. Mundey also earned the highest score out of all the junior-enlisted Soldiers as well as the highest score of all the competitors here, proving he has the Soldier and leadership skills, and military knowledge to earn the title best warrior.
"I'm glad that I was able to pull it all together because I trained really hard for this," said Mundey. "Overcoming any adversity builds character and resilience, I hope I can take this back to those in my unit and share what I've learned here."
Sergeant Christian Cieslak, 382nd Engineer Company, 412th TEC was awarded best warrior, noncommissioned officer (NCO), for his command, as well as the highest score of all NCOs in the competition.
Sergeant Aaron Chavers, from the 198th Army Band, 99th Readiness Division, earned his second, consecutive major command-level win, this time as an NCO. Chavers previously won best warrior as a junior enlisted Soldier last year.
"Winning best warrior will help build my leadership skills as an NCO," said Chavers. Chavers also credits his sponsor, Staff Sgt. Joshua Meyer, who competed for the NCO title last year, for helping him maintain his motivation and persevere through the challenges that the competition garnered.
Specialist William Laws, of the 318th Chemical Company, 76th Operational Response Command was awarded best warrior, for his command, as a junior enlisted Soldier.
Sergeant Thomas Crump, attached to the 327th Chemical Company, was also best warrior winner for the 76th Operational Response Command, as an NCO.
Sergeant Justin Richardson, of the 365th Chemical Company, 416th TEC, took home the title of best warrior, for his command, as an NCO. The winner of the junior enlisted best warrior, the 416th TEC was Spc. Benjamin Retz.
"This was a great competition that tested every part of being a Soldier," said Spc. Bradley Brown, attached to the 382nd Engineer Company, 412th TEC.
The MCBWC brought Soldiers together to learn, grow and realize their potential as Soldiers in the U.S Army. The conclusion of the competition will benefit each of the competitors, so they can go back to their units and share all that they've gained throughout the four-day event.