US Dental Command hosts grueling event at Bliss
Fort Bliss, TX (U.S. Army) — Fort Bliss hosted the 2013 U.S. Army Dental Command (DENTCOM) Best Warrior Competition held here July 15 through July 18. The competition pitted 12 of the best Soldiers from the various DENTCOMs around the world to earn the title of “Best Warrior.”
The winners were Sgt. Zac Teel, an oral-surgery assistant at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, and Spc. Kevin Gailey, a supply technician at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
All participants were tested with an array of events, including the Army Physical Fitness Test, an obstacle course and a road march, each designed to gauge their overall soldiering skills.
As with most Army competitions, the APFT marked the start of events July 15. Several participants found it challenging because Fort Bliss sits approximately 3,710 feet above sea level and it can make it harder to breathe.
“The altitude here is truly an equalizer,” said Teel, discussing how the environment played a factor in slowing him down. “It added one minute to my run time.”
Another event which tested the endurance of the competitors was the air assault obstacle course. With challenges involving climbing, crawling, jumping and everything in between, it allowed individual fortitude to be seen.
“This course is brutal out here,” said Gailey, who had one of the fastest completion times for the event. The altitude in addition to the dry air made the obstacle course a real challenge, he said.
Not all of the events were physically driven, however. A series of “mystery” events were implemented to evaluate contestants’ basic soldiering skills. These included drill and ceremony demonstrations, knowledge of the Physical Readiness Training and dental charting.
“We wanted to take it back to the basics,” said Sgt. 1st Class Willie L. Henard, an operations NCO at Fort Bliss Dental Activity and event coordinator for the competition. “We just tried to keep it as lane driven and scenario driven as possible.”
The competition culminated with a ceremony July 18. The winners were announced and presented with an Army Commendation Medal as well as several items of memorabilia.
Gailey and Teel can both return to their home units with bragging rights and heads held high, knowing that they’ve represented the best DENTCOM has to offer.
However, they shouldn’t rest too comfortably on their success just yet.
They will face-off against the other medical fields in the Medical Command Best Warrior Competition at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., slated for August.