Story by Pfc. Rue Emrich, 10th SFG(A).
Soldiers trudged up and down muddy slopes in windy and rainy conditions while looking for their points on the land navigation course, one event of many testing the competitors vying to call themselves the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Best Warrior.
The 24 competitors also participated in a stress shoot, warrior task drills, obstacle course, physical fitness tests, written essays and oral boards between the 17-28th of May.
The Best Warrior Competition is an annual event across the Army with Soldiers competing at each echelon. 10th Group’s Staff Sgt. Alex Berger is the reigning Army wide winner, and the desire to remain “The Best” propels the candidates. When they are rucking twelve miles or doing a stress shoot in the mud, they navigate the challenges with this goal in mind.
“When you reach a moment of tiredness and your body wants to give out, your mind has this weird state of peace of whether you’ll let this situation break you, or if you’ll break it.”Spc. Muder of the Battalion Support Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th SFG(A) – Muder was the junior enlisted winner.
Photo: U.S. Army 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Soldier zeroes his M-4 for the stress shoot event during the Best Warrior Competition at Fort Carson, Colorado on May 18, 2021. (U.S. Army Photo by Private 1st Class Rue Emrich)
Throughout the competition, a bond grew between Green Berets and Paratroopers while competing and learning things from each other to advance themselves. Learning how to solve adverse problems with creative solutions is a hallmark of Special Forces operations.
“The whole reason the Army has this event is because we are a tight knit group of warriors.”Command Sergeant Major Larry White, 10th Group’s senior Non-Commissioned Officer
Quoting Teddy Roosevelt, White added, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause.”
Photo: U.S. Army 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) winning Soldier practices rendering first aid, stopping blood loss during the Best Warrior Competition on May 19, 2021. (U.S. Army Photo by Private 1st Class Rue Emrich)
Staff Sgt. Finn and Spc. Muder, the 10th Group winners, will go on to compete against the winners from the other Special Forces Groups throughout the Army in the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) level. This competition will be held on Fort Bragg, North Carolina starting on the 21st of June. If The Originals’ competitors are victorious, they will then move up to the United States Army Special Operations Command Best Warrior competition.
“10th Special Forces Group creates leaders, and the Soldiers participating in this competition are the ones we’re going to see in my shoes down the line, because they’re the ones that want to step inside of the arena and test their mettle. That’s why it’s important the Army does events like this. To help Soldiers navigate the transition from a Soldier to a leader.”Command Sergeant Major Larry White, 10th Group’s senior Non-Commissioned Officer
Video: 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) Best Warrior Competition (2020). A member of the 10th SFG and finalist for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Best Warrior Competition (2020) completes the ACFT, foot march, and rifle qualification. Video by USASOC, Sep 2020, 4 mins.
Story: This article, “Better Than the Rest” by Pfc. Rue Emrich of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), was originally published on June 17, 2021 by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. DVIDS content is in the public domain.
Photo: U.S. Army 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) winning Soldier assembles a radio and passes the communication portion of the warrior tasks and drills event of the Best Warrior Competition on May 19, 2021. (U.S. Army Photo by Private 1st Class Rue Emrich)