By Sgt. Joseph Vine – FORT SHAFTER FLATS, Hawaii – The 9th Mission Support Command announced the Pacific Army Reserve Soldier and noncommissioned officer of the year during a ceremony, here, May 12.
The Soldier of the year title went to Spc. Chung Lee, a carpentry and masonry specialist with the 797th Engineer Company, 411th Engineer Battalion, 9th MSC, who rose above the region’s top Army Reservists.
The hard-fought battle for NCO of the year went to Sgt. 1st Class Dallas Pocaigue, a senior food service instructor with the 4960th Multi-Functional Training Brigade, 9th MSC.
The two Army Reservists each earned their respective title and an Army Achievement Medal after competing in a weeklong Best Warrior Competition that assessed their mental and physical prowess through a myriad of events to include weapons qualification, land navigation and hand-to-hand combat.
“I was really excited and surprised that I was picked,” said Pocaigue, a Hawaii resident and Guam native. “All the competitors worked equally hard, and it could have gone either way; anyone could have won.”
Lee, who finished first in a muddy, rain-soaked road march, said he was unsure he was going to win.
When Lee heard his name announced as the Soldier of the year, his jaw dropped.
“I was really surprised that I was selected as the best warrior,” he said.
Though there can only be two winners, Command Sgt. Major David Yamamoto, command sergeant major of the 9th MSC, said all the Soldiers in the competition gave everything they had.
“When I look at these Soldiers, I see how much time and effort they put into [the competition]. It shows me they’re proud of themselves, they’re proud of their unit and proud of the Army,” said Yamamoto. “These Soldiers continue to exceed and raise the standard.”
Although the regional competition is complete the journey for these victors is not yet over.
From this point, Lee and Pocaigue will go on to represent the 9th MSC at the U.S. Army Reserve BWC, scheduled for July 14-21, at Fort McCoy, Wis.
Both Soldiers said they will take their experience and lessons learned as they move on to the nationwide competition.
“I’m going to prepare for the next level by training a lot harder and a lot faster,” said Pocaigue. “We are going to go out there with a bang.”
Lee, a Guam resident, said he will also continue his training and is looking forward to the next challenge.
Report by Sgt. Joseph Vine, 305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. The 9th Mission Support Command serves as the headquarters for all Army Reserve units and service members in the Pacific Theater. Its major subordinate units include the Theater Support Group; 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment; the 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade; the 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade; and the 411th Engineer Battalion. With units located in Guam, Saipan, Alaska, American Samoa, Hawaii, Japan and Korea, the 9th MSC truly embodies the spirit of their motto: “Pride of the Pacific!”