A local Fort Huachuca Soldier gained the title of “Best Warrior” by winning the 2013 Dental Command, or DENTCOM, Best Warrior Competition held at Fort Bliss, Texas, July 15 – 18.
Spc. Kevin Gailey, a supply technician at the Fort Huachuca Dental Clinic, competed against 11 Soldiers from various DENTCOMs throughout the Army. The noncommissioned officer, or NCO, winner was Sgt. Zac Teel from Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
The competition consisted of both mental and physical challenges, to include a written exam, an oral board, a physical fitness test, an obstacle course and a road march.
“Besides the oral board, which is always the hardest one for me because it is nerve-racking, the most difficult part was that there weren’t a lot of breaks between each event. This made it hard to keep up with my endurance,” Gailey said, as he reminisced on the competition.
His favorite event was the air assault obstacle course, consisting of many different “mini-events.”
“It is the most fun for me. It’s a challenge, but I don’t worry about the competition as much because I enjoy it more,” the Soldier said.
According to a Fort Bliss Public Affairs news article, a series of “mystery” events was implemented to evaluate contestants’ basic soldiering skills. These included drill-and-ceremony demonstrations, knowledge of the physical readiness training and dental charting.
“We wanted to take it back to the basics,” said Sgt. 1st Class Willie Henard, a Fort Bliss Dental Activity operations NCO and event coordinator for the competition. “We just tried to keep it as lane-driven and scenario-driven as possible.”
“The altitude is slightly higher,” Gailey said, as he explained how the environment and weather proved to be an added difficulty. “It’s a different kind of ‘dry,’and this time around, it was very humid, which is rare.”
Gailey explained that in his particular career field, meeting the required amount of points for promotion can be difficult so he decided to push as far as he could to accumulate as many points as possible; however, that was not the only reason he competed. Turning 31 in September, Gailey is about 10 years older than most of his competitors.
“I wanted to win awards, but I also wanted to put myself out there and show that I could beat most of those guys,” he said.
Gailey received a certificate of achievement and an Army Commendation Medal, signed by Col. Thomas Tempel, commander, U.S. Army Dental Command.
In order to participate in the DENTCOM Best Warrior Competition, Gailey had to first win the local Soldier of the Quarter board, Soldier of the Year board and Western Region Soldier of the Year board.
Gailey dedicated his achievement to his mentor, Sgt. Christian LaVelle, Fort Huachuca’s DENTAC training NCO. LaVelle took Gailey under his wing and prepared him for each competition.
Representing Fort Huachuca, in August Gailey is slated to compete in the Medical Command Best Warrior Competition at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md.