Story by: Sgt. Adrian Shelton
Posted On: February 8, 2016
BASTROP, Texas – Troops from the Chilean Marine Corps and Chilean Army reinforced their continuing partnership with the Texas Army and Air National Guard during the state's Best Warrior Competition held at Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas, Feb. 4-7, 2016.
Although Texas has highlighted a joint Best Warrior Competition for several years, combining warriors from both the Texas Army and Texas Air National Guards, this was the first year the competition went international.
Chilean service members were selected to represent their country in the competition based on top performances in areas such as marksmanship and physical fitness.
"As soon as I got the notification that I was selected for the competition, I started looking at the tasks required in the competition on YouTube," said 2nd Cpl. Jesus Vasquez, Special Operations Brigade, Chilean Marine Corps. "I thought it was an awesome competition.”
"This event was like a wedding and we planned it," said Texas Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Alfonso Garcia, the State Partnership Program noncommissioned officer in charge of the Texas-Chile program. "We set up the logistics and the agendas and had everything all laid out, so when the Chileans came here everything flowed seamlessly."
The Chilean troops only had two days to learn the things that were different for them, such as certain weapons and communications equipment said Garcia.
"Our National Guard sponsors had a big part in helping us to prepare," Vasquez said. "The security measures in place for events like weapons qualification were very efficient and very safe. We learned alongside the National Guard troops and built a good relationship."
Garcia and other Guardsmen helped translate for the Chileans throughout the long weekend.
The Chileans found the week's events provided not only an opportunity to compete, but also presented them with unique challenges.
"It wasn’t always easy for us to communicate because of cultural and phonetic differences," said Chilean army Sgt. Maj. Juan Gonzalez, who sponsored the Chilean soldiers in the competition. "But the Guard had good translators and a lot of the Guardsmen spoke Spanish and made it easier for us to learn the scenarios during the competition."
The Chilean troops experienced some physical challenges as well and noted the geographic differences between Chile and Texas. READ MORE...