FT. IRWIN • Three Army reservists, under the umbrella of the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Los Angeles, pitted their skills against each other Sunday during a leg of the Best Warrior Competition at Fort Irwin.
Think of it as a playoff round for Army reservists in the Army-wide competition, where soldiers qualify for subsequent "rounds" through conquering various Army aptitude tests.
The competition will conclude with the finals sometime during the summer, explained Command Sgt. Maj. David J. Vincent from the 304th Sustainment Brigade out of Riverside.
The eventual champion — from a pool of Army National Guard, active-duty and reservist soldiers — will earn the title of U.S. Army's Best Warrior, according to the Army's website.
Events on Sunday included a land navigation course and M16 rifle qualification simulator.
It was the first time the 311th ESC competed at Fort Irwin.
"A lot of soldiers mobilize out of Fort Irwin," said Command Sgt. Maj. Winsome Laos, the day's competition organizer, when asked why the base was chosen. "It's a one-stop; they feed us and lodge us. Plus, they have a good terrain."
As for the land navigation course, Spc. Aaron Henry said the openness of the desert proved to be less challenging than the wooded areas he covered during basic training.
Henry said he was at the furthest stage of the competition he's ever advanced to, and he finished the land navigation course before his two competitors.
"The most difficult part was tuning back into training," he said.
He believed he had found the five different checkpoints that First Lt. Josh Wallace, the officer in charge, had mapped out for him.
"I'm definitely doing my best, which is most important," Henry said. "No regrets."
Sunday's eventual winner, Spc. Mahmood Mokhayesh, will advance next to the 79th Sustainment Support Command leg, which will be held in a few weeks at Camp Pendleton.
Shea Johnson may be reached at (760) 256-4126 or at SJohnson@DesertDispatch.com.