TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Hawaii –
The Regional Health Command-Pacific’s Best Leader Competition kicks off May 8 at Schofield Barracks where 42 Soldiers will undergo grueling events as they compete for the title of best leader.
At the end of the four-day competition, one Soldier and one Non-Commissioned Officer will earn the title of RHC-P Best Leader. Those two will then go on to represent RHC-P and compete as a team in MEDCOM’s (U.S. Army Medical Command) Best Leader Competition later this summer.
Public Health Command-Pacific (PHC-P) is represented by the six-person squad of Capt. Ashlynn Turner (PHA-Japan), Staff Sgt. Hali Allen (PHA-Fort Lewis), Sgt. Caitlin Rippin (PHA-Hawaii, PHC-P NCO of the Year), Spc. Chelsey Justice (PHA-Guam, PHC-P Solider of the Year), Spc. Donell Warner (PHA- Fort Lewis), and Spc. Christopher Dokken (PHA-Hawaii).
“The Best Leader Competition recognizes Soldiers who demonstrate commitment to the Army values, embody the Warrior Ethos, and represent the Force of the Future,” said PHC-P Sgt. Maj. Danny Hailey. “PHC-P tested their top Warrior Leaders through a relentless gauntlet of physical and mental challenges to see how far their stamina and true grit would take them.”
In addition to sending two Soldiers to represent PHC-P, Public Health Activity- Hawaii (PHA-H) is also tasked with running the water survival lane and transportation for the competition.
“We probably have one of the riskiest supporting role of this competition. Safety is a big consideration of the water survival lane,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jaramillovaldes, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the BLC water survival lane.
1st Sgt. Patrick and Jaramillovaldes, with the help of Sgt. 1st Class Edwards, designed, planned, and elevated the water survival lane to meet the challenges and standards required at the RHC-P Best Leader Competition. They credit their success in part to the relationships they’ve built with other units like the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks.
“We’re very fortunate to have such a great relationship with the 25th ID who helped us check out equipment in order to execute our Public Health Activity-Hawaii Best Leader Competitions we host quarterly,” said Edwards.
Edwards says that his career has succeeded and progressed because of the relationships he made while competing in the BLC.
He won the Western Region Veterinary Services Soldier of the Year and Northern Europe District Veterinary Services Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.
“I can say with confidence that I would not be promoted without this board, and this competition,” said Edwards. “It opened up a lot of opportunities for me because of the relationships I established. I take this competition very seriously because I’ve seen what can come out of it.”
Hailey, Patrick, and Jaramillovaldes also won Best Leader Competitions at various levels throughout their careers and continue to remain involved.
Hailey won Northern California District Best Leader in 1997 and the Western Region Medical Command Best Leader 1998, Patrick won NCO of the Year at the Brigade level in Fort Rucker, Alabama, and Jaramillovaldes won Best Leader at the Battalion level in 2010. Jaramillovaldes was also the NCOIC that put together the Public Health Command-Atlantic Best Leader Competition in 2020.
All four are passionate about the future generation competing this year and the opportunities that await each and every competitor.
“We’ve selected the best of the best warriors and we’re ready to watch them compete,” said Patrick.
The water survival lane takes place the morning of May 9 immediately following the ACFT and followed by a, mystery event, dry land navigation, and night land navigation in the same day. Remaining events include a foot march, Army warrior tasks, stress shoot, and an oral board.
“It’s going to take a lot, and it’s going to be challenging but they have a team to help them get through it, and I’m excited to see who goes on to represent all of us at the MEDCOM level later this summer,” added Patrick.
The winners will be announced May 11, 2022 at Tripler Army Medical Center.