Fatigue, muscle failure, sprains, and strains are all side effects for those competing in a Best Warrior competition. The intense physical requirement could be considered enough to invoke sympathetic pain in bystanders and spectators.
The Colorado National Guard’s 2023 BWC tested competitor’s physical stamina, starting with the Army Combat Fitness Test.
Facilitating the event, U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ragnar Schuett, non-commissioned officer in charge, Finance (G8), Joint Force Headquarters, Colorado Army National Guard, lives the ACFT daily through his full-time position. The fitness program is an additional duty for Schuett and the G8 because they’ve always been good at managing the program, he said.
“The ACFT gauges different areas of fitness to give you an overall view of a Soldier's fitness,” Schuett said. “The one we’re running for the Best Warrior Competition accumulates points added to the competitor's overall score.”
BWC is a type of type of competition that encourages each person to do their best in each event and also builds skills that the person can bring back to their unit.
“In terms of readiness right now, with the G8, we run the ACFT regularly during drills for any soldiers that need it whether for schools, overdue record, or what you need,” Schuett said. “The one for Best Warrior is the first event that will gauge where that Soldier is physically. It’s not always an indicator of who will be the best, but it’s an indicator and way for the Soldier to gauge themselves as well.”
The ACFT is the U.S. Army’s modernized method of building readiness among the force and helping Soldiers build skills needed on the battlefield.
“The ACFT is a better gauge, in my opinion,” Schuett said. “The old test gauged different things, but I think this one is a lot more accurate and a little more competitive.”
Soldiers need to maintain a high level of physical fitness because it is part of their job requirement, but it also contributes to their overall wellness health-wise.
“Working out makes you feel better when you’re talking about mental health”, Schuett said. “And being able to know that you can do the job in an austere environment is a better gauge for the Army to see where we are at as a force.”
According to the Army, the ACFT transforms the fitness culture, reduces preventable injuries and attrition, and enhances mental toughness and stamina.
Since completing the ACFT is such a rigorous task, it makes sense that it was chosen to kick-start the competition.
“The ACFT is super important to maintain that high level of fitness so we can all do our jobs well, support ourselves by staying healthy, and be capable of helping each other out when needed,” U.S. Army Spc. Josylnn Carochi, BWC competitor and plumber, 947th Engineer Company, COARNG,” said. “I wanted to do the Best Warrior Competition because I was really looking forward to the challenge and trying something different, trying something new.”
Although Carochi did not win Best Warrior 2023, through her dedication and efforts, she completed the competition with a smile and even won top honors for the land navigation event.