Story by Sgt. Daryl Bradford, 100th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Texas Army National Guard
Service members arrived at Camp Swift on a rainy morning in March, ready to compete in the Texas Military Department 2020 Best Warrior Competition. The sky was overcast, bringing a shadow upon the day, but they had come to prove to themselves and their fellow countrymen that they had what it took to earn the title of “Best Warrior.” Soon, however, the soldiers would realize that competition was only half of the experience.
The Best Warrior Competition is a demanding challenge that brings together service members from the Texas Army and Air National Guard and Texas’ foreign partners, Chile and Czech Republic, in friendly, four-day competition.
“That’s the biggest benefit of the competition, the type of soldiers and leaders that we develop into in the process of this,” said Sgt. Jonathan David Huwe, an Infantry Team Leader from 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, when speaking on training with and against the Chilean soldiers.
Texas Guardsmen and their foreign counterparts work together to sharpen their warrior skills and leadership qualities during the competition process, ensuring that they are ready to respond in times of crisis or when their home nations need them. The competition furthers relevance and readiness by inspiring training that is tailored to increase the soldier’s ability to defend and serve.
Serving the nation and Texas are both equally important, and he takes pride when supporting the large-scale operations or back at home, said Huwe.
Having served the United States twice on overseas deployments as a Texas Guardsman, Huwe knows the importance of being ready, of being relevant, and maintaining strong partnerships.
“Again, it relates back to that competitive spirit,” said Huwe when talking of the Texas National Guard’s Chilean partners. “They’re going out there to give their best and we’re going out there to push ourselves to meet that. That builds strong bonds. Training together builds respect at the lowest level.”
Partnerships like the ones described inspire others to succeed through competition and increase professional skills among service members. Mutually beneficial relationships are born that positively affects foreign working relations and the United States defense goals.
The ideas that Huwe speaks about aren’t just one-sided either because Chilean soldiers hold the same values important.
“This competition generates friendships and relationships between Chilean and U.S. soldiers that pushes us to be the best,” said 2nd Cpl. Manuel Aroca Navarette, an infantry specialist with the Chilean 21st Marine Infantry Battalion. “That respect among each other causes us to fight to be better.”
Among other things, camaraderie built from competition is one of the main qualities the service members from the different countries have in common, said Navarette.
A camaraderie that builds strong bonds—bonds that far surpass geographic and language barriers. The Texas Military Department 2020 Best Warrior Competition fosters those type of friendships. Even more importantly it builds partnerships because even the service member crowned “Best Warrior” is nothing without the support of his brothers-in-arms.