By Rodney Jackson, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center
A team of Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Soldiers prepared a rigorous training event for its medics to test their adaptability and challenging them both physically and mentally during a Best Leader Competition Feb14-17.
The team coordinated the three-day competition several months in advance, setting up the course, and having its senior NCOs validate the course to ensure it was safe and challenging enough for the competitors.
“The command sergeants major, sergeants major, first sergeants and master sergeants went through a number of the events that the competitors will be going through to ensure that the training is high quality,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Forker, senior enlisted advisor, CRDAMC. “It also helped to develop our junior NCOs, who will conduct the training and see how the senior enlisted members of the organization are still willing and able to get out and do the things that we ask of them.”
It also allowed the senior NCOs to do some team building, he added.
“The validation opened my eyes, as well as that of the trainers who ran each lane exactly like they would for the competition, to a lot of deficiencies that were missing, giving us a chance to correct those deficiencies, knowing that it’s not going to be perfect,” said Master Sgt. Jamika Coats, logistics specialist, and the lead coordinators. “Most of the coordinators have either been in charge of a competition like this, or sometime during their careers have competed in one.”
Each had different reasons to compete, and they formed some good comradery throughout the three days, Coats explained That close bond will be needed, because a squad of six will be selected to go on to compete for the Medical Readiness Command, West Best Medic Squad Competition later this year.
“Even if I don’t win, hopefully this provides me with a more in-depth perspective of what Soldiers go through, so I can help them meet their dietary goals whether its sports performance or rucking,” said 1st Lt. Megan Hower, registered dietician and chief of nutrition inpatient services.
“You can plan, but until that plan is put into motion, you won’t realize necessary changes to improve upon,” Coats said. “Once we select the best leaders and runners up, and identify them as a squad, we will start training them together to build a more cohesive team and to sharpen their skills.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Thomas, first sergeant, A Co., Troop Command, CRDAMC, and Spc. Gora Zia, patient administrator specialist, competed in the 2022 MRC, W team competition and were runners up. They helped coordinate the stress shoot lane and will help train the squad that will compete in the MWR, C competition.
“Before participating in the MRC-W competition last year, I earned the expert field medical badge, so those two events helped me with the Army’s training standards,” said Zia. “I will offer training tips and advice from my experience in past competitions and help the Soldiers better prepare their gear and mindset, because the competition is not only physically challenging but also mentally challenging.”