Islander Student Competes in Qualifying Rounds of U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition

Published: May 20, 2016

Islander Student Competes in Qualifying Rounds of U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Riksy Nunez, a junior mechanical engineering major at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, faced quite the adventure competing in the 79th Sustainment Support Command Division level of the U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition. Nunez, a recently promoted 1st Sergeant in the ROTC Islander Battalion and a specialist in the Army Reserve, earned first place in two Best Warrior qualifying rounds to secure his spot to compete at the 79th Division level. Nunez placed fourth overall in that competition, which took place April 6-12, at Fort Lewis, in Washington state. Only eight people from around the country competed at this level.

“My nature is to be competitive,” said Nunez. “The more fun I’m having, the more competitive I get. I knew I wasn’t just competing for myself. I represented thousands of soldiers, both in the Army Reserves and in Islander Battalion.”

Described as the “Super Bowl” of Army competitions, the final round of the Best Warriors Competition represents the best of the best from the U.S. Army active duty, the U.S. Army Reserves, and the U.S Army National Guard. It’s scheduled to take place from Sept. 26 to Oct. 3, in Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. During the final round of the four-day competition, elite warriors test their Army aptitude by conquering urban warfare simulations, board interviews, physical fitness tests, written exams, and Warrior tasks and battle drills relevant to today’s operating environment.

Nunez faced similar obstacles during the 79th Division level competition, including physical fitness tests, marksmanship, medical emergency drills, ruck runs, land navigation, an essay and written exam.

“The most challenging part was the mental aspect,” said Nunez. “It’s like taking a test over an entire book in which only a few detailed questions are asked. You don’t know what is going to be on the test or what is important enough to remember.”

The competition also included a mystery challenge that had participants racing against time while putting together multiple disassembled weapons.

“That was by far the hardest individual challenge,” said Nunez. “For example, the M9 Beretta Pistol can have up to five parts and they are scattered across a table. In 10 minutes, you had to find the individual parts to put the weapon together, and then get to work on putting together the next weapon.”

Nunez hopes to graduate in May 2018. Following graduation, he hopes to commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, and eventually, become an aviation officer.

Despite the challenges associated with the Best Warrior Competition, Nunez has fond memories.

“We developed a comradery with each other even though we were from all parts of the country,” recalled Nunez. “We were all representing our units and giving it our all while respecting and pushing each other. I had a blast, and I plan to compete again in the future.”