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Williston’s Sgt. Ratchett competes in Best Warrior Competition

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By Timothy Hale

Special to the Pioneer

FORT McCOY, Wis. - The U.S. Army Reserve Command announced the winners of the 2012 Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition today at the American Legion Post in Sparta, Wis.

The 2012 Army Reserve Best Warrior Non-commissioned Officer of the Year is Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Rios. A Corrections Specialist, Rios is a native of Ozone Park, N.Y. Rios represented the 84th Training Command in the competition.

The 2012 Army Reserve Best Warrior Soldier of the Year is Spc. Michael Swan. A Track Vehicle Repairer, Swan is a native of Gurley, Ala. Swan represented the 335th Signal Command in the competition.

Rios and Swan will go on to represent the Army Reserve in the Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition in October at Fort Lee, Va.Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, Chief of the Army Reserve, said the 43 NCOs and Soldiers competing in this year found out the competition was not for the faint of heart.

“As you found out, there’s no wimp factor here,” Talley said. “This is a well-rounded, tough competition that tries and tests the skills that make our Warrior-Citizens Army Strong. I’m proud of every one of you who have endured the physical and mental challenges it takes to be an Army Reserve Best Warrior.”

Swan said he had to take a breath when they called his name.

“That was a deep gasp after they said, ‘Michael Swan’,” he said. “I was pretty struck by that.

Swan said he plans on focusing on any shortcoming he had during the Army Reserve competition and working on making those events better for him at the Department of the Army competition.

“That’s what I’m going to work on,” Swan said. “Whatever they throw at me, I’m going to come out there to the next level and bring myself up physically and mentally.”

Rios praised his fellow competitors in this year’s competition, but like Swan, he was also shocked at the announcement.

“I’m going try my best, I’m going to try the hardest that I can,” Rios said referring to the Department of the Army competition later this year.

“I’m going to train every day,” he said. “I’m going to talk to the competitors from last year and see what they encountered.”

 

Other honors at the awards banquet were as follows:

 

Best Warrior runner-up (Non-Commissioned Officer category): Sgt. Orval Emery, a Chemical Operations Specialist representing the 377th Theater Support Command, from Wichita, Kan.

 

Best Warrior runner-up (Soldier category): Spc. Ivan Pimentel, a Human Resources Specialist representing the 75th Training Division, from Modesto, Calif.

 

Highest Army Physical Fitness Score: Spc. Lucas Delay, a Military Policeman representing the 200th Military Police Command, from Davison, Mich.

 

Highest Weapons Qualification: Spc. Carl Best, an Intelligence Analyst representing the Military Intelligence Readiness Command, from Lincolnshire, Ill.

 

NCO Combatives Winner and overall combatives champion: Sgt. Anthony Mitchell, a Public Affairs Broadcast Specialist representing the 3rd Medical Deployment Support Command, from Chicago, Ill.

 

Soldier Combatives Winner: Spc. Dustin Chavez, an Operating Room Specialist representing the 807th Medical Deployment Support Command, from Pollock Pines, Calif.

 

The week started with candidates competing in Best Warrior Competition represented 205,000 Soldiers serving in the U.S. Army Reserve.

 

The 21 NCOs and 22 junior enlisted Soldiers spent the week on a variety of Army challenges that tested the limits of their physical and mental capabilities to include: Army Physical Fitness Test, night land navigation, urban orienteering, weapons qualifications, Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, 10km ruck march, written exam and essay, a sergeants major board appearance, and a Modern Army Combatives tournament.

 

Their military backgrounds and experience represent the entire spectrum of the Army Reserve. Many have deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. Their career fields include military police, healthcare, mechanics, human resources, intelligence, chaplain assistant, public affairs, and engineering. They are America’s Warrior-Citizens, representing a wide cross-section of communities from across the United States.