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Texas Best Warrior Competition Supports Partner Nation Program

BASTROP, Texas– The Texas Military Department’s Best Warrior Competition brought together service members from the Texas Army and Air National Guards, and Chilean and Czech Armed Forces to challenge their tactical and technical abilities, and to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, skills and cultures.

The friendly competition held at Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas, March 27- April 1, 2023, tested participants on a variety of basic military skills such as professional military knowledge, marksmanship, land navigation and physical fitness.

The TMD invited service members from its partner nations to participate in this year’s BWC through the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program, which pairs National Guards from every state and U.S. territories with partner nations to increase regional security and advance U.S. interests. Cooperative multilateral events like the BWC provide opportunities for development of junior and senior-enlisted leaders, exchange of tactical knowledge, and continued improvement of interoperability.

Sgt. 1st Class Robert Martinez, International Affairs Division, Texas Military Department, accompanied Chilean and Czech service members competing in the BWC to help them integrate with Texas Army and Air National Guard participants.

“I think it’s all about learning about the cultures and exchanging ideas,” said Martinez. “It’s important that they’re here talking to other airmen, soldiers and NCOs, and that they get that general understanding of what we do and our culture as a military.”

This exchange between participants at the BWC proved to be a valuable learning experience for all involved, enabling competitors to build on each other’s strengths and adapt their capabilities accordingly.

“I think this competition helps us to continue to be a joint operating force and a force multiplier,” said Senior Airman Jake Schlang, 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, Texas Air National Guard. “We have learned a lot of things from the Chilean forces that we may not have known, and the Czech soldiers over in Europe are doing a lot more near-peer style exercises as well. Getting their knowledge and insight on things is important for our forces to continue to adapt our capabilities.”

Sgt. 1st Class Cristobal Inostroza, Chilean navy, has previously participated in the BWC for two consecutive years. This year marks his third appearance at the event, during which he has shared his wealth of knowledge and mentored fellow competitors.

“It’s a hard competition, and I’ve been able to learn from all the mistakes I made in the past and have been improving my skills,” said Inostroza. “I’ve been able to help out the other new participants so they can learn what I’ve learned.”

Both Chilean and Czech forces have competed in the Texas BWC for several years past, allowing participants to continue to engage in partnership building.

“I’m looking forward to sharing our skills and experience, not only military skills but more general skills as well,” said Warrant Officer Rostislav Panáček, Czech army. “I’ve picked up some knowledge from members who were here previously, and I’ve learned even more from being here this year.”

The SPP facilitates mutually-beneficial alliances and encourages people-to-people ties at the state level, producing enduring relationships that improve interoperability, enhance U.S. access and influence, and increase readiness of U.S. and partner forces to meet emerging challenges.

This year, the SPP celebrates its 30th anniversary of partnership-building, and the program now includes 88 partnerships with 100 nations around the globe. The Texas BWC is one example of how this program has helped National Guard state partners develop critical enduring partnerships.

“I would like to say thank you to the Texas Military Department for inviting us, and we really appreciate it,” said Panáček. “It is a great opportunity for all of us to be here and to be a part of this competition.”

Source : DVIDS