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Staff Sgt. Colin Whyte, from Fort Benning, and Capt. Robert Malloy, from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, will team up to compete in the 2016 Jack L. Clark Jr. U.S. Army Best Medic Competition later this year at Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis, Texas, after finishing first and second place in the Regional Health Command-Atlantic Best Medic Competition at Fort Benning Sept. 13-16.
Fourteen Soldiers assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Meade, Maryland, and forts Belvoir and Eustis, Virginia, competed in the competition. Sgt. Hai Nguyen of Fort Benning finished as the competition's first runner-up, while Spc. Colin Fistrowicz of Fort Bragg claimed the title of second runner-up.
The competition included a physical fitness test, day and night land navigation, a 12-mile foot march, combat water survival, knot assessment/swiss seat, combat trauma lane urban, and the M4 rifle and 9mm pistol stress shoot range. The 9mm stress shoot included an obstacle challenge prior to conquering the 50mm targets. The competitors competed for individual scores, even though they were ranked as teams. Seven teams competed in the competition. Whyte and Nguyen combined to capture first place for the host installation, Fort Benning.
"This competition was the best of the best," said Whyte, who along with Nguyen, finished the 12-mile foot march with a time of 2 hours, 25 minutes. "We gave it our all and our training enabled us to accomplish each of the tasks to be successful. We strived for excellence, and finishing the competition with the foot march and with Sgt. Nguyen by my side is what this competition was about. I will give it my all in the upcoming Army Best Medic Competition, and I am proud and honored to represent the Atlantic region."
Brig. Gen. Ronald Place, commanding general, Regional Health Command-Atlantic (Provisional), and Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Brady, RHC-A's command sergeant major, along with Fort Benning's Medical Activity commander, Col. Marie Dominguez, and Command Sgt. Maj. Leon Johnson, recognized the competitors during the awards ceremony.
Top physical fitness test award went to Malloy and Capt. Geralyn Janke, who both scored 300, while Staff Sgt. Richard Salman took first place at the M4 shooting range. Coins of excellence were awarded to all the competitors.
"One of the things I found interesting over life is that we tend to avoid things that are hard, and we tend to avoid things that are painful, and yet for some reason, all of you joined the Army knowing that it was going to be hard, and knowing at times it was going to be painful," said Place. "So what does that say about you? It says you knew it was going to be hard, and you knew there was going to be pain, but you prepared for it, you lived through it, you excelled in some areas, and lessons were learned."
"Pain is transitory, and at the end, it's really not bad," Place continued. "Getting the intellectual and emotional will power to move past that to start is key, and then once you start, you can deal with that. Every single one of you for your performance this week has achieved excellence by the very nature of what you did this week."
The teams included Malloy and Janke, Fort Belvoir; Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Vecchione and Sgt. Matthew Andrews, Fort Eustis; Salman and Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Coburn and Capt. Jeremy Lewis and Fistrowicz, Fort Bragg; Staff Sgt. Blake Landsford and Sgt. Phillip Singleton, Fort Meade; and Sgt. William Maxwell and Spc. Thomas Poole, Fort Campbell.