Story by Sgt. Christina Dion
Out of the six competitors that vied for the top spots to move onto the U.S. Army European Best Warrior Competition in September, Pvt. Benjamin Ranew, Staff Sgt. William Chavis and 1st Lt. Mitchell Messick made the cut.
Set up throughout the 7th Army JMTC Grafenwoehr Training Area Aug. 12 through 14, Soldiers from around the command were selected based on their individual daily performance at their units, their drive to compete and better themselves as well as overall Army physical fitness test scores.
Rank and time in service is not an indicator of success as Ranew proved. With less than 18 months in the Army, Ranew, an Ocala, Florida, native, fought hard against his peers to outperform under pressure.
“I feel great right now,” said Ranew, an infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment. “Coming off of [the Expert Infantry Badge qualification] and straight to this is a little difficult but I feel like I accomplished something.”
Accomplishing goals and setting higher standards is a requirement in today’s Army, said Chavis, the 7th Army Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
“A lot of Soldiers don’t want to do these events because they are either afraid or don’t think they are physically fit enough or studying for the board is too hard,” said Chavis, a McColl, South Carolina, native. “There’s no excuse for not going out and competing.”
Chavis, assigned to the 7th Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy, said that Soldiers have to stand out among their peers in order to be successful and that he’s proof that Soldiers are never too old. At almost 30 years old, Chavis was the oldest competitor at this event.
As a senior small group leader training Warrior Leadership Course students, Chavis said that his performance proves to his junior leaders that it is attainable.
“If I can go out and do it, at my age and as long as I’ve been in the Army, there’s no reason why they can’t have the same aspirations and goals and go out and achieve the same things.”
“It definitely wasn’t easy going up against these guys,” said Chavis. “The biggest thing is that we all learned a little about ourselves and what we can put ourselves through.”
The 7th Army JMTC Officer of the Year, 1st Lt. Mitchell Messick, is an executive officer with Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, and a Virginia Military Institute graduate from Fredericksburg, Virginia. He will be the team leader for the JMTC Best Warrior group heading into the U.S. Army European competition.
Winner of the junior enlisted Soldier category, Ocala,…
Winner of the officer category, Fredericksburg, Va.,…
Winner of the noncommissioned officer category, McColl,…