U.S. Army Europe Best Warriors pass Grafenwoehr challenge, prepare for Army level competition

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
Aug. 12, 2010

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- U.S. Army Europe named Cpl. Eric Sincore from the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and Staff Sgt. Alicia Anderson from the Joint Multinational Training Command its 2010 Best Warrior Soldier and Best Warrior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year in a ceremony here, Aug. 12.

Gen. Carter Ham, USAREUR’s commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas R. Capel, USAREUR’s command sergeant major, hosted the event and presented awards to all 14 Soldiers who competed for this year’s Best Warrior honors.

“I got off of the plane here last Tuesday and [after learning about this ceremony] I smiled all the way from Frankfurt to my house,” said Capel, who became the 16th USAREUR command sergeant major Aug 2. “How could you have such an honor, to be coming into a theater on a new assignment and getting to be the host of the best of the best that USAREUR has to offer? So I am extremely proud to be the host of this day’s ceremony,” he said.

The competition, conducted July 26-29 at the Grafenwoehr Training Area, challenged 14 competitors representing USAREUR’s subordinate commands in all aspects of Soldier skills and knowledge. (Read the full story on the competition)

“The competitors here faced challenging tests that stretched the limits of mental aptitude, physical strength, endurance, flexibility, and tenacity,” said U.S. Navy Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer Roy M. Maddocks, the U.S. European Command’s senior enlisted advisor and guest speaker.

The competition was hard, but Sincore said he was confident that the training he had done before the competition prepared him for the grueling test.

“I trained hours a day for weeks at a time with the help of my NCO support chain to help get me ready to do this,” said Sincore.

During the two weeks between the end of the competition and the ceremony here, any indication of who the front runners for the Best Warrior titles might be was kept top secret. Tension mounted and the announcement of the winners was a surprise to everyone.

“I knew I performed well, but you never know what they’re looking for, how the points are going to round out, how well your competition did -- so no one knew anything at all,” Anderson said.

“It was unexpected and it feels good to have won the competition,” said Sincore.

Although only two competitors ultimately earned the winning titles, there is more to these events than just determining who wins and who loses.

“I believe that competition breeds excellence -- it truly does. This competition not only finds the best warriors, but it develops them more along the way,” said Maddocks. “You just think, ‘I have a task, and I’m going to do the very best I can at this task,’ and you just take it step by step … I think the rest comes later.”

The USAREUR winners will move on to represent the command at the Department of the Army level competition later this year.

“I’m proud to be representing USAREUR at the next Best Warrior Competition … and I’m looking forward to it,” said Anderson.

Anderson and Sincore both have a lot to live up to, as USAREUR has had several winners at the Army level three times in the past five years.

“Last year’s NCO of the Year for Department of the Army was a USAREUR Soldier, and we will have two more USAREUR winners this year,” said Sgt. Maj. Brad Weber, who has been overseeing USAREUR Best Warrior competitions during those five years.

“That type of success speaks directly to the quality of our competition and how well it prepares our winners for the next level,” Weber said.

View images of the competition on Flickr
Watch video of the competition on YouTube

About us: The U.S. Army in Europe, with NATO and other coalition partners from throughout its 51-country area of responsibility, trains for, conducts, and supports contingency operations. Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany, USAREUR has forces throughout Germany as well as in Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Kosovo, Bulgaria, and Romania, and in Afghanistan and Iraq.