Army Medical Command Competition comes to Hawaii
Fort Shafter, HI – Primed and ready from numerous noncommissioned officer and Soldier competitions and each looking forward to claiming the prize known as the “Best Medical Warrior” for 2010, Soldiers from every Army medical region arrived on the Island of Oahu. Soldiers from the Army Medical Department Center and School, Europe, Western, Northern, Southern, and Pacific Regional Medical Commands, Medical Research and Material, Public Health, Dental and Veterinary Commands bounced from Schofield Barracks, to the Marine Corps Training Area, Bellows, to Tripler Army Medical Center gym, and finally Hickam Air Force Base Beach area for many different events 13-19 March.
Hosted by Pacific Regional Medical Command and held in Hawaii for the first time ever, the competition extended over a five day period and tested the Soldiers ability to withstand physically challenging events and maintain the mental edge to continue to perform effectively. During the competition, the U.S. Army Medical Command, Command Sgt. Maj. Althea Dixon weighed in on how things were going. “The Soldiers competing are all so motivated. They are out here with a winner's heart, and they all understand that at the end of this week, only two Soldiers will be announced as MEDCOM's Soldier and NCO of the year, but they all know that they are all winners.”
After enduring the regional sergeants majors oral board that tested the Soldiers knowledge of the Army; an Army physical fitness test; a six mile road march while carrying 60 pounds of equipment and mostly uphill on Schofield’s Kole Kole pass; day and night rifle ranges with weapons and systems mostly used in combat brigades; day and night urban orienteering using the Defense Advanced GPS system also new to many of the Soldiers; almost four miles of lanes that tested the Soldiers Army Warrior Tasks readiness; a combatives tournament and culminating with a 100 meter kayak pedaling and medical skills contest, labeled the mystery event, only two competitors would step forward to claim the prize.
Those two were Staff Sgt. Adam Sahlsberg, Mary E. Walker Center NCOIC, Fort Irwin, CA., and Specialist John Evans, Munson Army Health Center x-ray technician, Fort Leavenworth, KS., and both from the Western Regional Medical Command. After winning, both Soldiers thanked the other competitors, their chain of commands and their support channels for encouragement, motivation and confidence. “I think any one of these NCOs could have won this, it just happened to be my week,” said Sahlsberg. “The camaraderie was incredible.”
We bonded and to our own disadvantage, without hesitation, we were helping each other throughout the competition, he added. “The ten fine noncommissioned officers and ten fine Soldiers here were the best of all the regions and it showed,” Sahlsberg said. Sahlsberg went on to thank his wife, who was at home with their two children and expecting another one soon, and Jesus Christ, saying without them accomplishments like this wouldn’t be possible.
Evans also thanked Sahlsberg, who has trained and competed with him, for mentoring him saying “He’s a pretty good NCO and he’s given me a lot of training up to this point.” The two had different opinions on which event was the most difficult. There wasn’t an event that was more difficult than the rest; the difficulty was the physicality that was embedded into each event Sahlsberg stated. “Each event was physically draining,” he said.
Evans, like other competitors, was still tired and relieved that the competition was over. “It was tough, it was really tough,” said Evans. “The toughest, actual aspect of the competition was probably the road march.” Both walked away with numerous prizes and won the honor to move on to the All Army Noncommissioned officer and Soldier of the Year competition held later this year.