Up In Smoke - Competitors Take A Walk Through A Gas Chamber

Story by PV1 Hunter Eastman on 04/18/2018
DEVENS RESERVE FORCES TRAINING AREA, Mass. -- The Major Command-level Best Warrior Competition (MCBWC) at Devens Reserve Forces Training Area in Massachusetts, on April 18, 2018, continued at a fast pace with only one day left before Soldiers are named best warrior and best noncommissioned officer for their command.
Today, Soldiers tackled a run through a gas chamber and rifle and pistol qualifications, along with a tactical field mission.
Marksmanship is one of the tasks that plays a large role in earning points at the MCBWC, and weapon proficiency is integral to a Soldier's skill set while on mission. The competitors' proficiency on M9 pistol and M16A2 rifle were tested in multiple ways.
After a sprint down a forested trail, Soldiers made their way to the M9 pistol range, where they shot at silhouettes and sporting clays, from varying distances. The stress of shooting with an elevated heart rate tested the physical readiness of the competitors and helps mimic real combat situations. Soldiers then quickly moved onto the next range where they qualified with an M16A2 rifle.
Another part of readiness for operations at home stations and across the globe is accurately and safely maneuvering Soldiers through a given task. The tactical field missions conducted at the MCBWC tied the fundamental tasks together, highlighting Soldiers abilities in the tested tasks.
Specialist Hunter Watts, of the 702nd Engineer Battalion, 412th Theater Engineer Command, said he will take what he's learned so far at the MCBWC and hopes to bring it back home to his unit, where he can help lower enlisted Soldiers. "Our mission is to keep growing and to teach," said Watts.
The next challenge was a walk into a CS gas chamber that makes eyes water and is incredibly unpleasant to breathe. This tested the Soldiers ability to maintain their composure through intense situations, something all Soldiers need to make it through a mission.
Specialist Whitni Schurr, of the 349th Chemical Company, 76th Operational Response Command, believes going through both physical and mental discomfort allows Soldiers to move beyond those ailments and push on to complete their mission; helping Soldiers understand how to lead in harsh circumstances.
Competitors ended the day with a series of drill and ceremony tasks and weapon checks on a M249 rifle, M16A2 rifle, and M9 pistol.
Tomorrows events, starting with a 12-mile ruck march, are the last chance for Soldiers to give it their all and earn points at the MCBWC, because by the end of the day a best warrior will be named.


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