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News | April 4, 2023

Soldiers vie to earn Best Leader title

By Marcy Sanchez

Over 20 Soldiers in Europe recently competed to earn the title of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s Best Leader and subsequently represent the largest American Military Medical Center overseas as the Best Squad and future U.S. Army competitions, March 21-24.

The competition tested Soldiers on Army warrior tasks and marksmanship drills, life-saving skills, military competence, and physical fitness.

Over the week, Soldiers participated in an Army Combat Fitness Test, ruck marches, battlefield scenarios, and simulated medical trauma response.

Although the competition is focused on leadership skills and teamwork, Soldiers vie to be on the final “squad” to go on to compete at the Department of the Army’s “Best Squad Competition,” regardless of the team the Soldiers were initially assigned to.

According to the U.S. Army’s website, the most influential level of leadership is at the squad – where many Soldiers reside. While an Army squad is often aligned with a traditional infantry squad, the competition reminds Soldiers the squad is any small-unit group of Soldiers, usually led by a squad leader, a senior noncommissioned officer.

The week-long competition will assess each squad on their technical and tactical proficiency and ability to work as a disciplined and cohesive team. The competition features many different fitness and combat-related events ranging from the Army Combat Fitness Test and weapons lanes to a 12-mile-foot march and detailed individual warrior tasks and squad battle drills.

Two competitors were recognized for their elite physical fitness and abilities during the competition, U.S. Army Sgt. Dean Santos, an environmental health technician at LRMC, and Pfc. Christopher Trejo, a preventive medicine specialist at LRMC. The pair were recognized for a superior ACFT score and highest combined tactical event score, respectably.

Following the competition, six Soldiers were recognized as LRMC’s Best Squad: Sgt. 1st Class Kaleb Richardson, noncommissioned officer in charge, Radiology Department, LRMC, Sgt. Dean Santos, Spc. Cristian Paz, a laboratory specialist at LRMC, Spc. Axxel Pasos, a healthcare specialist at U.S. Army Health Clinic Wiesbaden, and Pfc. Christopher Trejo. LRMC’s Best Squad will go on to compete at the Medical Readiness Command, Europe competition in May.

“As we are postured to accept some of our Nation’s wounded tonight, (competitors) work hard and dig deep to do unbelievable things,” said U.S. Army Col. Andrew Landers, commander, LRMC. “You do it every single day. The (deployed) joint warfighter knows if they can get (to LRMC), you will have their back.”
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