[DVIDS] Fort Shafter Flats, Hawaii – Three Army reservists from Guam are putting their soldier skills to the test in the Pacific Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition held here and at Schofield Barracks.
Spc. Chung Lee and Sgt. Edward Martinez, carpentry and masonry specialists, 797th engineer Company, 411th Engineer Battalion, and Sgt. 1st Class Dallas Pocaigue, senior food service instructor, 4960th Multi-Function Training Brigade, are among nine Army Reservists battling it out for the coveted titles of soldier and Non-commissioned Officer of the Year.
The participants represent the best soldiers and NCOs from major subordinate units within the Pacific Army Reserve, which encompasses Alaska, American Samoa, Japan, Korea, Saipan, Guam and the Islands of Hawaii.
The grueling, six-day competition, which kicked off May 7, pushes the soldiers to their mental and physical limits while testing their endurance, strength and motivation.
Thus far, Lee, a Tamuning resident; Martinez, of Dededo; and Pocaigue, a Yano native; have completed events such as an Army Physical Fitness Test, weapons marksmanship, land navigation and Army combatives.
With only a couple days left in this regional competition, Lee, Martinez and Pocaigue have proven they are up to the challenge.
“All the events we’ve faced throughout the competition have been challenging, but people from Guam are naturally competitive,” said Pocaigue. “For every challenge we face, we give it our very best.”
Although they are relieved some of the harder events are over, the Guamanian warrior citizens are looking ahead and staying focused on what is to come.
[Sgt. 1st Class Dallas Pocaigue, a senior food service instructor with the 4960th Multi-Function Training Brigade, 9th Mission Support Command, checks his compass during the land navigation event of the Pacific Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition, here, May 8. Pocaigue, a Yano native, is one of four participants competing for the Non-commissioned Officer of the Year title in this regionally-significant event]
“Later in the week we will have to stand before a board of sergeants major, and that’s very nerve-wracking for me. You never know what questions you’ll be asked,” said Martinez. “I’m just trying to keep studying and practicing during any free time I have so I will be ready.”
With two veteran competitors on their side, the Guam Reservists continue to feel prepared for any challenges that come their way.
“Having sponsors here with us who have both won the competition at this level has really helped us in knowing what to expect,” said Lee referring to Staff Sgt. Rodel Galila and Sgt. Gerald Manansala, former Pacific Army Reserve NCOs of the Year and current competition sponsors.
Despite being thousands of miles away, these soldiers have not forgotten their roots.
“We share each other’s experience on how to complete each task,” said Pocaigue. “Even though it’s a competition, we help each other out because we’re like family.”
Regardless of whether or not these Guamanians take the win, according to their competition sponsors, they are representing Guam and their unit well.
“The only thing we can ask is that they do their best,” said Galila. “They are giving it 110 percent; so no matter what happens, they won’t let us down.”
The top soldier and NCO of the Pacific Army Reserve are scheduled to be honored at an awards ceremony at the end of the competition here, May 12.