Fort Shafter Flats, Hawaii – The 9th Mission Support Command named a Guam resident as its “best warrior” and the Army Reserve-Pacific noncommissioned officer of the year, here, Sunday.
Sgt. Gerald Manansala, an interior electrician for the 797th Engineer Company, earned the titles by beating out fellow Soldiers in the 9th MSC’s annual Best Warrior Competition.
[ Brig. Gen. Michele Compton, commanding general of the 9th Mission Support Command, presents Sgt. Gerald Manansala, an interior electrician for the 797th Engineer Company, with a trophy for winning noncommissioned officer of the year after his win at the 9th MSC’s Best Warrior Competition, here, Sunday.]
The road to becoming the “best warrior” out of the entire Army Reserve in the Pacific (which includes Saipan, American Samoa, Japan, Korea, Alaska and Hawaii) was no easy task. Ultimately, Manansala rose above his fellow top-notch Army Reservists in various events including an Army Physical Fitness Test; a six-mile road march; weapons qualification; Army knowledge; land navigation; reaction to indirect fire; and combat life-saving skills.
Although Manansala’s win was a great personal victory, he spent the week competing for more than just bragging rights.
“I just didn’t want to let my Soldiers down,” said Manansala. “I believe that the way to truly be a good leader is to lead by example. I didn’t want to come to this competition and not do my best. I always ask the best of my Soldiers and that’s what they can expect from me.”
1st Sgt. Gerard Damian accompanied Manansala throughout the competition, serving as his sponsor and helping him prepare for the various tasks throughout the event. According to Damian, Manansala’s win is a direct reflection of his dedication.
“I think he (Manansala) wanted to come out here not to win, but to show his Soldiers back home that anything is possible,” explained Damian. “It seems like it’s always been important for Manansala to be a role model for the Soldiers he leads.”
Knowing he was the oldest Soldier in the competition, Manansala entered with realistic expectations.
“At my age it’s hard to stay motivated,” said Manansala. “I didn’t come here knowing I was going to win. I came here to just try hard and do my best, and that’s what I did.”
With his win at this competition, Manansala will accompany Spc. Jessica Storch, the 9th MSC’s Soldier of the year, in representing the more than 3,000 Soldiers of the 9th MSC at the Army Reserve-wide Best Warrior Competition this summer, held at Fort McCoy.
Command Sgt. Maj. Forrest Wacker, command sergeant major for the 9th MSC, remarked on how well the Soldiers of this year’s competition performed.
“Every Soldier who competed for Best Warrior really went above and beyond to showcase their talents and skills and represented their units well,” said Sgt. Maj. Forrest Wacker, command sergeant major of the 9th MSC. “I am immensely proud of what these Soldiers have accomplished.”