NEWS | Aug. 27, 2018

'Best European Defenders' Compete for Title

By Capt. Robert N. Durr 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command

BAUMHOLDER, Germany - Fourteen soldiers from the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command tested their skills, knowledge and stamina during the 2018 Best Warrior Competition at Smith Barracks July 23-26. 
The winners will represent the10th AAMDC at the U.S. Army Europe's Best Warrior Competition and compete against U.S. Army units from across Europe. Only one officer, non-commissioned officer and soldier in this year's competition will be eligible to compete for the title of USAREUR's "Best Warrior." 

Spc. Robert Dees, a Patriot missile repairer assigned to 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, won this year's competition for the enlisted category.
In his eight months with 5-7 ADA, this was his first Army competition. 

"It was really fun and I liked it a lot," Dees said. "It was really difficult and challenging." 

Not only did the competition push soldiers like Dees to their full potential it provided a way for soldiers to learn from one another during the weeklong event. 

"The most important part for me was I learned what it takes to be competitive with my peers," Dees said. "I learned I thrive under pressure. The more pressure there is, the more I tend to perform." 

As a first time participant and winner Dees said he would recommend the competition to soldiers that want to test their knowledge and skills. 

"I would definitely encourage soldiers to compete in the Best European Defender Competition," Dees said. "Even if you don't win you end up sharpening your skills and seeing what it will take to set yourself apart from your peers."

Sgt. David Schafer, another first-time competitor, won this year's NCO category and said it was nice to see the competitive nature of his 5-7 ADA peers come out. Shafer said it was his peers who pushed him to success and ultimately win.

"The most rewarding part about competing this year was being able to overcome the challenges both internal and physical," Shafer said. 

Shafer said he learned a great deal about himself and that the competition was a good indicator of what lies ahead as a contender in the USAREUR Best Warrior Competition. 

"Make sure you are out there pushing people. Give it your all every single morning," Shafer said. "Push yourself and push everybody else." 

The winner for this year's Best European Defender Officer went to 1st Lt. Benjamin Jones, a platoon leader with Charlie Battery 5-7 ADA.

Jones said his overall experience during the competition was bittersweet. 

"Between the moments of suck it was absolutely great," Jones said. "There was a lot of tough moments, a lot of sweat, a lot of heartache a little bit of pain but it was absolutely phenomenal to compete against some really awesome air defenders."

Jones said that competing with his peers gave him a lot of confidence in his training and knowledge.

"I learned to trust what I know and trust what I've been taught and forget about the rest," Jones said. "I'm going to encourage a lot of my peers to do the same and follow in my footsteps."

Master Sgt. Christopher Scarlet, the 10th AAMDC's Best Warrior Competition lead planner said the competition measures a full range of Army and soldiers skills. 

"The competition is designed to assess the physical and mental capabilities of our Soldiers on a wide array of individual military tasks to include but not limited to physical fitness, weapons qualification, ruck march, Situational Training Exercise lanes, day and night land navigation, combatives, a formal board, a written exam and essay and uniform inspection," Scarlet said. 

Scarlet, who assisted in last year's planning, is looking forward to see this year's winners compete in the USARUER-wide Best Warrior Competition. 

"I can't wait to how this year's competition turns out," Scarlett said. 

The 10th AAMDC conducts Best European Defender Week annually to identify and recognize soldiers that possess exemplary qualities, warrior ethos and tactical proficiency throughout the command. The events are designed to challenge and reward competition all participants. Competitors are evaluated on their demonstrated professionalism, tactical proficiency, mental and physical toughness.