U.S. Army Europe Soldiers, officers compete for title of USAREUR’s best

1st Lt. Michael D. Theising, an engineer officer with the 15th Engineer Battalion, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, tackles a road march event on his way to winning 21st TSC’s Best Warrior competition. Theising will take on the next level of competition when he goes up against top junior officers from across U.S. Army Europe in the annual USAREUR Best Junior Officer Competition in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Sept. 14-19. The BJOC, an event unique to USAREUR, takes place alongside USAREUR's Best Warrior Competition for enlisted Soldiers and NCOs. "It's an honor to represent my battalion, brigade and the 21st TSC (in USAREUR compeition)," Theising said, "but I think it would make anybody a little nervous or anxious to know that they are going head-to-head with the best competition that USAREUR has to offer." (Photo by Staff Sgt. Warren W. Wright Jr.)

1st Lt. Michael D. Theising, an engineer officer with the 15th Engineer Battalion, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, tackles a road march event on his way to winning 21st TSC’s Best Warrior competition. Theising will take on the next level of competition when he goes up against top junior officers from across U.S. Army Europe in the annual USAREUR Best Junior Officer Competition in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Sept. 14-19. The BJOC, an event unique to USAREUR, takes place alongside USAREUR’s Best Warrior Competition for enlisted Soldiers and NCOs. “It’s an honor to represent my battalion, brigade and the 21st TSC (in USAREUR compeition),” Theising said, “but I think it would make anybody a little nervous or anxious to know that they are going head-to-head with the best competition that USAREUR has to offer.” (Photo by Staff Sgt. Warren W. Wright Jr.)

USAREUR Public Affairs Office

Twenty-nine top Soldiers, NCOs and junior officers from U.S. Army Europe’s major subordinate units competed in USAREUR’s 2014 Best Warrior Competition and Best Junior Officer Competition at the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Sept. 14-19.

The six-day event challenges competitors to complete a series of approximately 20 tasks and missions designed to test their knowledge, physical and battlefield skills in hands-on and situational testing and oral and written examinations. Competitors will tackle a day and night land navigation exercise, an obstacle course, a physical fitness test, a hand-to-hand combat tournament, a battlefield medical scenario and other physical activities. Soldiers and officers also participate in a simulated media interview, write an essay, take a written examination, and demonstrate their military knowledge and bearing for a board of sergeants major.

The USAREUR-level competitors were previously selected as their organizations’ top Soldier, NCO or officer in local competitions at their units across Europe. While units throughout the Army conduct competitions each year to select their best Soldier and NCO, the Best Junior Officer Competition is unique to USAREUR, and highlights the command’s best lieutenants and captains.

This year’s competitors are (in alphabetical order):

Pfc. Kevin Alba, Bavaria Medical Department Activity
2nd Lt. William Alfonsi, A Company, 24th Military Intelligence Battalion
Capt. Aaron Amano, Europe Regional Dental Command
1st Lt. Kyle Amonson, D Company, 2-159th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion
Staff Sgt. William Chavis, 7th Army NCO Academy
Sgt. Nicholis Couture, 319th Field Artillery
Cpl. Kyle Craig, C Company, 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion
2nd Lt. Kristen Daisy, Service Company, 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery
Staff Sgt. Jessie Darrett, 5th Signal Command
Staff Sgt. Carlos Eggins, USAREUR Headquarters Battalion
Staff Sgt. Miguel Garza, U.S. Army Public Health Command Region Europe
Sgt. Andrew Gunner, A Company, 1st Military Intelligence Battalion
Pfc. Nicholas Hanson, 319th Field Artillery
Spc. Donald Irvine, C Company, Allied Forces South Battalion
Pfc. Paul Islas, D Company, 2-159th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion
Pfc. Brandon Kirk, Service Company, 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery
1st Lt. Mitchell Messick, A Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry
Sgt. Steven Miles, K Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment
Spc. Brody Moran, A Company, 24th Military Intelligence Battalion
Sgt. Elliot Pratt, D Company, 2-159th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion
Pvt. Benjamin Ranew, B Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry
Sgt. Ricardo Ruiz, C Company, Allied Forces South Battalion
Sgt. Sean Salter, Service Company, 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery
Spc. James Simo, Headquarters, 21st Theater Sustainment Command
2nd Lt. Sebastian Smoak, 2nd Cavalry Regiment
Staff Sgt. Jordan Stipp, 709th Military Police Battalion
1st Lt. Michael Theising, 15th Engineer Battalion
Spc. Felix Vallegarcia, C Troop, 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment
1st Lt. Kirk Van Everen, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry

Winners in the Soldier and NCO categories of the Best Warrior Competition will represent USAREUR in competition at the Department of the Army level, Oct. 6-10 at Fort Lee, Va.

For more information and updates on USAREUR’s Best Warrior and Best Officer Competitions, visit here and the USAREUR Facebook page.