BASTROP, Texas – Service members arrived at Camp Swift on a rainy morning in March, ready to compete in the Texas Military Department 2020 Best Warrior Competition. Soon, however, the Soldiers would realize that competition was only half the experience.
The Best Warrior Competition is a demanding challenge that brings together service members from the Texas Army and Air National Guard and Texas’ foreign partners, Chile and the Czech Republic, in the friendly, four-day competition.
“That’s the biggest benefit of the competition, the type of Soldiers and leaders that we develop into in the process of this,” said Sgt. Jonathan David Huwe, an infantry team leader from 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment.
Members of the Texas Guard and their foreign counterparts work together to sharpen their warrior skills and leadership qualities during the competition, ensuring they are ready to respond in times of crisis or when their home nations need them.
Huwe said serving the nation and Texas are equally important.
Having served the United States twice on overseas deployments, Huwe knows the importance of being ready and relevant and maintaining strong partnerships.
“Again, it relates back to that competitive spirit,” Huwe said of the Texas National Guard’s Chilean partners. “They’re going out there to give their best and we’re going out there to push ourselves to meet that. That builds strong bonds. Training together builds respect at the lowest level.”
Mutually beneficial relationships like the Texas ties to the Czech Republic and Chile, linked since 1993 and 2008, respectively, under the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program, inspire others to succeed through competition and increase professional skills among service members. They also support U.S. defense goals.
“This competition generates friendships and relationships between Chilean and U.S. Soldiers that pushes us to be the best,” said 2nd Cpl. Manuel Aroca Navarette, an infantry specialist with the Chilean 21st Marine Infantry Battalion. “That respect among each other causes us to fight to be better.”
The camaraderie built from the competition is one of the main qualities the service members from the different countries have in common, said Navarette.