Band of Brothers

2016 USAR Best Warrior winners train together in Montana

02/07/2017   By Brian Godette USARC Public Affairs
 

FORT HARRISON, Mont. — Warriors met in the Midwest for training. Three months prior to the meeting, these Warriors were pitted against each other in the U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition.

Emerging as winners from the 2016 USAR BWC, stood Sgt. 1st Class Joshua A. Moeller and Spc. Michael S. Orozco, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Soldier of the Year respectively, as well as the NCO of the Year runner-up, Sgt. 1st Class Robert D. Jones and the Soldier of the Year runner-up, Spc. Carlo Deldonno.

These Warriors, now slated to represent the U.S. Army Reserve at the Department of Army level BWC later this year began their train-up for the competition in Montana, not as competitors, but as a newly formed band of brothers.

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Spc. Michael S. Orozco, U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition winner in the Soldier category, navigates a section of the obstacle course during training at Fort Harrison, Mont., August 5, 2016. The USAR BWC winners from the NCO and Soldier category are going through rigorous training, leading up to their appearance at Fort A.P. Hill later this year for the Department of Army BWC. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Brian Godette, USARC Public Affairs)(U.S. Army Reserve photo by Brian Godette, USARC Public Affairs

”I feel like we’ve gotten closer,” said Deldonno. “It’s been a smooth transition, being on the same team, like I’ve always felt we were.”

The USAR Best Warrior winners traveled to Montana to begin a three week intensive training conducted by U.S. Army Reserve Command noncommissioned officer training staff and a team of U.S. Army Reserve drill sergeants, designed to give the winners the best preparation for the upcoming competition.

The 2016 U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior winners and runner-ups navigate an urban terrain site and provide casualty care during training at Fort Harrison, Mont., August 5, 2016. The USAR BWC winners from the noncommissioned officer and Soldier category are going through rigorous training, leading up to their appearance at Fort A.P. Hill later this year for the Department of Army BWC. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Brian Godette, USARC Public Affairs

The 2016 U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior winner from the Soldier category, Spc. Michael S. Orozco, and runner-up, Spc. Carlo Deldonno, treat a medical casualty during simulated training at Fort Harrison, Mont., August 5, 2016. The USAR BWC winners from the noncommissioned officer and Soldier category are going through rigorous training, leading up to their appearance at Fort A.P. Hill later this year for the Department of Army BWC. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Brian Godette, USARC Public Affairs

“This training has been really good,” said Deldonno. “It focused a lot on the skills I feel I need to work on.”

“If it were just going to be me training by myself, I probably would of done all-right but there’s just no substitute for going through the actual task itself, with the equipment you’re going to use, being trained by some of the best drill sergeants whose sole purpose it is to prepare you for this competition,” said Moeller.

The training marked the first time the winners and the runner-ups were able to work with each other in pursuit of the same goal.

“I did not know them before the competition, and now we are all living and working together these three weeks so the bond is really strong and we are all helping each other out,” said Moeller. “You know what? I love the Army because even in something like this, which is an individual competition, the Army is a team sport.”

The 2016 U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior winners and runner-ups navigate an urban terrain site during training at Fort Harrison, Mont., August 5, 2016. The USAR BWC winners from the noncommissioned officer and Soldier category are going through rigorous training, leading up to their appearance at Fort A.P. Hill later this year for the Department of Army BWC. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Brian Godette, USARC Public Affairs

The training encompassed basic Soldier skills, tasks and drills, as well as training on military knowledge to accompany a host of other physical demands. To endure, the warriors relied on their instructors, and most importantly, each other.

“The experience of going from competing against someone to now training with them has been great,” said Orzoco. “One of the Soldiers, Spc. Deldonno, is a medic and he’s really skilled, both on the civilian side as a paramedic and a combat medic on the Army Reserve side, and he’s brought a lot of extra knowledge.”

The 2016 U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior winners and runner-ups navigate an urban terrain site and provide casualty care during training at Fort Harrison, Mont., August 5, 2016. The USAR BWC winners from the noncommissioned officer and Soldier category are going through rigorous training, leading up to their appearance at Fort A.P. Hill later this year for the Department of Army BWC. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Brian Godette, USARC Public Affairs

“Drill Sgt. Moeller and Drill Sgt. Jones, they bring a lot of the drill sergeant knowledge so if something may have been missed or they think they can add something, they’ve been able to give us a lot more information that when we were competing against them and they didn’t tell us about it,” said Orzoco.

The endgame for the Army Reserve is to have another winner at the DA BWC, like Staff Sgt. Andrew Fink did last year, becoming the best NCO in the entire Army, highlighting all that is good in the U.S. Army Reserve.

“There’s a stigma about the Army Reserve that the Soldiers, because they are part time, they are not on the same level, and I’ve actually seen the opposite,” said Moeller.

Moeller, who was an active duty Soldier for 10 years before joining the U.S. Army Reserve took deeper appreciation in serving as a representation of the force.

“It’s been pleasantly surprising how professional all the Soldiers in the reserve are because they not only have to be Soldiers when called upon but they have to balance an entirely separate life and that has made some incredibly dynamic and multifaceted Soldiers and leaders I have seen around the force,” said Moeller. “All of those things wrapped up into one, the Army Reserve is definitely putting their best foot forward.”

For these Warriors and former competitors who met in the Midwest, camaraderie and a common goal to be the best that they can has forged a new bond between brothers.

“Anywhere you go, doesn’t matter what part of the country the person came from or what their background is, at the end of the day you all bleed green so we kind of just fall into it like we’re old friends.”

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The Griffon Summer 2017

Vol. 41.2 | Summer 2017

The Griffon
The Griffon is written and published quarterly in the interest of the 108th National Training Command.
 






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