Volume 1, Issue 2
Next Drill: April 2-3 Saturday Sgt.’s Time: 0730
First Formation: 0800
Soldiers Compete to be Named Best in State By Pvt. Ryan R. Scott 122 PAOC CAMP MURRAY— It was 3:20 p.m. in a non-descript building on Camp Murray, Washington. An elite handful of Soldiers stood at ease, in formation, a look of confidence on many of their faces. They listened to a quick briefing of what the next three days would entail. They were a motivated group of the best Soldiers the Washington Army National Guard (WAARNG) has to offer. From a wide array of Army disciplines, they all began to prepare themselves for a competition that would test their skills as Soldiers and push them to their limits both physically and mentally. Sixteen citizen Soldiers from the WAARNG competed in the Soldiers of the Year competition at Camp Murray, Washington Thursday through Sunday. The Soldiers, nine lower -enlisted and seven noncommissioned officers, were put through a grueling four days of mental and physical trials. They were there to determine who would be representing the state at the regional Best Warrior compe-
Photo by Pvt. Ryan R. Scott
Sgt. Justin J. Crivello, with the 81st Brigade Combat Team, performs a pat-down search during the level one soldier skills portion of the WAARNG Soldier of the Year competition at Fort Lewis, Washington on Friday, March 18, 2011.
tition in North Dakota in June. The competition began early Thursday morning with an Army Physical Fitness Test, which was the beginning of what was to become a physically demanding weekend in which the Soldiers would push themselves past the point of exhaustion. The day continued with basic Soldiers skill testing,
or “day-stakes”. The event consisted of a number of stations set up in a mock village on Joint Base LewisMcChord. The tests included the timed task of assembling and using a field radio, responding appropriately to a chemical attack, clearing a building of hostiles, assessing and treating a casualty, and properly detaining and searching both a hostile per-
son and a suspicious vehicle. “These are scenarios that Soldiers could be facing at any time,” said Sgt. Justin J. Crivello, who was representing the 81st Heavy Brigade Combat Team at the competition. To succeed, we had to take it task by task and complete each event as we went along, he said. Please turn to SOY, page 2
SOY Continued from page 1 “Every „Joe‟ needs to know how to use a weapon, search an urban environment; those kinds of common tasks that every Soldier should know,” said Sgt. 1st Class Gordon M. Ross, the NCOIC of the day stakes portion. “They either read up on it to try to figure out how to do it or they are going to learn as they‟re out here.” The first day concluded with the participants being put through both a day and night land navigation course; each lasting roughly four hours. The courses were set up and run by Soldiers from the state‟s Special Forces Group. “We were required to meet the standards of the Special Forces guys who set up land navigation,” said Pfc. Alex R. Vancour, who was representing the 951st Component Repair Company. “They put us up to a rigorous test to find the best in the Army.” “A couple Soldiers got hurt, a couple Soldiers got
Photo by Pvt. Ryan R. Scott
Pfc. Christopher L. Patterson, a soldier with Bravo Troop, 1 Squadron, 303rd Cavalry Regiment, competes during the marksmanship portion of the WAARNG Soldier of the Year Competition at Fort Lewis, Washington on March 19, 2011.
lost,” said Crivello. It‟s a perishable skill. If you don‟t stay on top of it, you lose it, he said. The next day would bring new challenges and test the competitors to prove if they had what it took to be named Washington‟s best.
Photo by Pvt. Ryan R. Scott
Sgt. Travis Edris, with the 286th Engineer Company, is congratulated by Brig. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty, Assistant Adjutant General of the Washington National Guard, after he was named the WAARNG NCO of the Year at Camp Murray, Washington on March 20, 2011.
By the time most people in the state were beginning to get out of bed to begin what proved to be a beautiful, sunny, western Washington day, the competitors in this year‟s competition had already zeroed their M16 rifles. They stood pensively at the entrance to the range, preparing to prove their marksmanship skills. “The most important part of this competition is being able to shoot. It‟s the most important skill to have as a Soldier,” said Vancour. “It‟s my favorite thing to be able to get a hold of those M16s.” Round after round, the Soldiers hit their marks in an attempt to prove that they deserved to be named the WAARNG‟s Soldiers of the year. No sooner had they finished at the range, they were shuttled to the obstacle course to show off their
speed, agility, and maneuverability. Brig. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty, Commander of the WAARNG, and State Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Sweeney, the senior enlisted member of the WAARNG were on hand to motivate the troops and offer words of encouragement. “I went through the same course about thirty years ago,” said Sweeney to the competitors. “I hope they‟ve replaced some of the ropes in the meantime,” he joked. The esprit de corps shown at the obstacle course was hard to ignore. As each competitor approached the last obstacle of the course, the yells of encouragement and congratulations were deafening. “Everybody‟s doing this together,” said Crivello. “Nobody‟s out for themselves.”
Photo by Pvt. Ryan R. Scott
Pfc. Russell Whitley, with the 286th Engineer Company, is congratulated by Brig. Gen. Bret D. Daugherty, Assistant Adjutant General of the WAARNG, after he was named the WAARNG Soldier of the Year on March 20, 2011.
The day ended with a modern Army combatives tournament on the drill floor at Camp Murray. The event drew a large crowd of spectators from across Camp Murray. Enlisted Soldiers, officers, civilians, and even a few leaders with the Canadian Army were on hand to cheer on the competitors and witness the skill and ceaseless effort being brought to the mat. The matches were tough and all of the Soldiers showed incredible talent and endurance. “It definitely pushed us to our limit,” said Cpl. Matthew Rupp, a recruiter with Area 5, Alpha Company, Recruiting and Retention Battalion. The fatigue was clearly evident on the faces of the competitors after the tourna-
ment as they cleaned their weapons and began to prepare themselves mentally for the oral boards they would be facing the next day. Early on the last day of the competition, the Soldiers were sharply dressed in their class A and dress blue uniforms. Many paced silently in the halls awaiting their turn to go in front of the oral board facilitated by senior members of the WAARNG. “It‟s just you and a panel of members that outrank you by a lot,” said Crivello. “It‟s walking up and getting in there that‟s the hardest part.” “Once you‟re done it‟s like the weight of the world is off your shoulders,” he said. As the scores from the weekend were being tabulated and the awards cere-
mony was being prepared, the competitors gathered together, joking and laughing about what they had been through the past four days. “One of the things they get out of [the competition] is an immediate bonding,” said Sweeney. “They come out as a team and support each other going through it.” In the end, however, only one lower-enlisted Soldier and one NCO could be named as the best in the state. The title of 2011 Washington Army National Guard Soldier of the Year went to Pfc. Russell Whitley, who was the lower-enlisted representative from the 286th Engineer Company out of Yakima. Whitley proved himself throughout the competition
April 2011 to be a talented and highly capable Soldier. “I‟m absolutely excited to represent the Washington Army National Guard,” said Whitley. There are a lot of Soldiers out there and it‟s great to be able to represent each one of them, he said. “I could tell just from the combative and the PT test that it was probably going to be Pfc. Whitley,” said Vancour. “He is one high-speed Soldier.” The title of WAARNG Noncommissioned Officer of the Year went to Sgt. Travis Edris, who was also from the 286th Engineer Company. “I‟ve long held that the 286th is one of the best units in the state,” said Edris. It‟s a smaller unit and not many people know about it, but the Commander and the 1st Sergeant have really paved the way to be where we are now, he said. Whitley and Edris will now be continuing on to the regional competition, proving themselves against Soldiers from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. But the competition is more than just finding a winner, said Sweeney. “It‟s a great self-assessment of what they know as a Soldier and an NCO,” said Sweeney. “They get to assess themselves to know they‟re weaknesses and know their strengths.” “They can say to their Soldiers, I did it, you can do it, and we can overcome,” he said. “It gives me a warm feeling inside, of pride, as a senior NCO, to watch them come up here and do this.”
Commander Comments Aloha fellow soldier-journalists! It was a sobering reminder about the poignancy of what we do as Guardsman on the morning on 11 March 2011 as CSM Santos and I waited at 4:00 am at McChord Field to board a C130 to go to Vibrant Response 2011 at the Muscatatuk Urban Training Center (MUTC) at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. It was the same morning that the 9.0 tremor and ensuing tsunami destroyed much of Japan‟s Western coastline. In fact, as CSM Santos and I were airborne with COL Abbott and the HRF-WA (Homeland Response ForceWAARNG) en route to the Mid West, the pan-Pacific waves were scheduled to come ashore on the west coast of the U.S. The irony about our deploying to Vibrant Response, the largest annual disaster response exercise in the U.S., that involved more than 3,000 interagency personnel responding to a 10 kiloton terrorist bomb incident in downtown Indianapolis, was more poignant when the disaster in Japan evolved into a nuclear reactor and environmental disaster. CSM Santos and I were on the ground in Indiana for just over 60 hours during the VR-11 exercise. It was a somber experience to arrive back in the terminal at McChord Field to see the CNN live television reports about the thousands of Japanese civilians killed by the tsunami or who still remained missing. Soldier-journalists of the 122nd, let the events of Japan‟s disaster remind your clearly about why you are in uniform. You have a unique skill set to strategically influence a global event such as the Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Also, I would like all of you to speak to and to learn from SSG Kriess about his experiences during VR-11 as we plan and prepare to participate in VR-12 and VR-13. I have deployed to Japan on numerous Aviation ODTs over the past 15 years and I am saddened to be so helpless during this disaster in not being able to help the Japanese people in some way. However, this is your poignant reminder to be vigilant, prepared and professional in your duties as soldier-journalists. The disaster along coastal Japan could easily have occurred here in the Pacific Northwest (think: Mount Rainer eruption and lahar for example). Thank you again for all of your sacrifices and professional efforts as solider-journalists. CSM Santos and I have received countless „kudos‟ from other WAARNG MSC‟s because of the work that you all have done over the past three months. Pace yourself, continue to do good work and drive safely to the next IDT. Tailwinds, LTC Bolante, Commander, 122nd PAOC, WAARNG.
Photo by Lt. Col. Anthony Bolante
Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Santos, with the 122nd PAOC, Lt. Col. John Dowling, Commander of the 361st PAOC, and two soldiers from the 361st view a news video by Staff Sgt. Jason Kriess, from the 122nd, at the Muscutatuk Urban Training Center, Camp Atterbury, Indiana March 12, 2011.
Photo by Lt. Col. Anthony Bolante
Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Santos and Staff Sgt. Jason Kriess pose in front of mock wreckage at the Muscutatuk Urban Training Center, Camp Atterbury, Indiana March 12, 2011. Kriess was role-playing as a civilian reporter for Vibrant Response 2011, an annual disaster response exercise which involved more than 3,000 interagency personnel.
First off, I would like to mention again how impressed I am with everyone for responding to all the missions we were handed over the last month. The hard work is paying off, and it is being noticed throughout the 96th Troop Command and beyond. Keep up the great work! The Commander and I have also been on the run these past few weekends. We spent three days in Indiana during the Vibrant Response exercise meeting with the 361st PAOC, a New York Army Reserve unit assigned to work the exercise. The 361st functioned as the PAO with the HRF. It was followed by a weekend at Camp Murray
attending the Senior Leaders Conference. What we took away from those events were some great ideas that will help us plan for the TY12 training year and the latest info pertaining to Soldier‟s records and professional development. The primary focus of this weekend‟s drill will be utilizing the ES2000 weapons trainer. We will also be performing an APFT. If time allows, we will practice vehicle driving skills with our newly acquired “up armor” HUMVEE‟s and take our vehicles to the confidence course on JBLM. Be safe out there and thanks for all you do. See you at drill. -CSM Santos
Don’t Forget! To check your clothing record. How to access your clothing record: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Log in to AKO Click on the “Self Service” tab Click on “My Clothing” In the links section, click “My Clothing Record”
If you find any discrepancies, please speak with Staff Sgt. Cosmo at this month‟s drill.
2011 Drill Schedule All 122nd PAOC Soldiers are required to attend the following IDT dates scheduled for FY- 2011: DATES 2-3 April 2011 14-15 May 2011 4-5 June 2011 9-10 July 2011 6-7 August 2011 10-11 September 2011 Dates and/or locations are subject to change.
LOCATION Camp Murray, WA Camp Murray, WA Camp Murray, WA Camp Murray, WA Camp Murray, WA Camp Murray, WA