Vera, Ruiz Win USAMRMC Best Warrior Competition
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command 2017 Best Warrior Competition was held March 26-29 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Nine junior enlisted Soldiers and six noncommissioned officers from the USAMRMC and eight subordinate commands competed for the title of Best Warrior. After the four-day grueling competition, which was hosted by the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, included events at Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis, two medical laboratory specialists emerged as the 2017 USAMRMC Best Warriors.
Sgt. Martin "Andy" Vera from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and Spc. Jesus "J.J." Ruiz of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, received the honors of Best Warrior Noncommissioned Officer and Best Warrior Soldier, respectively.
"Winning this competition is one of my proudest moments," said Vera. "It means that the work I have been doing to develop my technical and tactical skills as a junior NCO has paid off. I'm glad to have won the competition, but the fact is that it was anyone's game. The group of NCOs and Soldiers that competed this year were amazing and I enjoyed every moment we spent together pushing our mental and physical limits."
"Earning the MRMC Best Warrior is the biggest accomplishment of my career to date," said Ruiz. "It was an honor to stand in front of my peers while representing my unit. It was also an opportunity to get together with other Soldiers from other units and exchange our professional knowledge."
Vera and Ruiz credit their commands in preparing them for the competition and enjoyed the challenge, the comradery with the other competitors and cadre.
"The competition this year was physically and mentally challenging," said Vera. "I always enjoy coming to an event like this and the knowledge transfer that occurs. Whether that's from the experiences of other competitors and their journey so far in the Army, the cadres' execution of the events or the type of questions that senior leaders asked at the board, it's all one big opportunity to develop as an NCO and Soldier."
"The competition was intense. That is the best way I can describe it," added Ruiz. "Throughout the entire four days we all pushed ourselves and each other. One thing that surprised me was even though we competed, we never let each other fall back."
The competition put the candidate through a series of physical and mental challenges including the Army Physical Fitness Test, a 12-mile foot march, obstacle course, a written essay and exam, day and night land navigation, an oral board, a mystery event, Army Warrior Tasks and marksmanship.
"The best part about the competition was the ruck march," said Ruiz. "It was a tough 12-mile route that included hills that seemed to never end, rocky dirt road and some uneven roads, which all lead to a huge physical push. It was truly the defining moment of the competition."
"My favorite part of the USAMRMC BWC was getting to meet and talk with all the competitors and cadre involved in the competition," said Vera.
Vera and Ruiz will represent the USAMRMC at the MEDCOM Best Warrior Competition scheduled at Joint Base San Antonio in mid-July.
Junior Enlisted competitors:
- Spc. Eliezer Hernandez, U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory
- Spc. Shane Mitchell, USAMRIID
- Spc. JJ Ruiz, USAMRICD
- Spc. Willard CarmichaelChavis, 6th Medical Logistics Management Center
- Spc. Paden Gray, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
- Spc. Sergio Rubio, USAISR
- Spc. Raymond Calzada, USAISR
- Spc. Kyle Buchanan, U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Europe
- Spc. Ian Caro, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine
Noncommissioned Officer competitors:
- Sgt. Lyle Haller III, USAARL
- Sgt. Martin Vera, USAMRIID
- Sgt. Kyung Lee, 6MLMC
- Sgt. Erik Serrano, USARIEM
- Sgt. Daphney Jean-Felix, USAMRMC
- Sgt. Juan Paola S. Ponce de Leon, USAMMCE