143d ESC 2017 BEST WARRIOR COMPETITION, PART 2: ALL DAY, ALL NIGHT
ORLANDO, Fla. – The 143d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Best Warrior Competition began in earnest today as 12 Soldiers from the 143d ESC and the 321st Military Intelligence Battalion demonstrated their physical power and mental might to complete a gauntlet of Soldier skills.
Dawn had yet to illuminate the lakes and trees blanketing Camp Blanding, Fla., when the Soldiers endured an Physical Fitness Test directed by Army Reserve drill sergeants from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 485th Infantry Regiment (Initial Entry Training) out of Jacksonville, Fla. After completing pushups, sit-ups and a two-mile run, the competitors had less than hour to eat, clean, change uniforms, don rucksacks and step into a van bound for Camp Blanding’s live fire ranges.
The 143d ESC cadre and A-2/485 drill sergeants managed the ranges that tested the each competitor’s competency with the M4 Carbine, M9 Pistol and M203 Grenade Launcher—all while wearing a gas mask. The Soldiers were then ferried deep into Camp Blanding’s dense forest. The troops applied their land navigation skills to physically locate three distant points on a map using only a compass and protractor.
As the hot, dry day relinquished control to a cold, moonless night, the competitors returned to the field with weapons in hands and night vision goggles over their eyes. Muzzle flashes pierced the darkness as the competitors attempted to eliminate their artificially illuminated targets.
The exhausted yet enthusiastic dozen returned then to their barracks to clean weapons, write an essay and prepare for another grueling day that begins with a 10-mile road march.
Photos by Sgt. John L. Carkeet IV, 143d ESC, and Spc. Aaron Barnes, 321st MI BN