Winans Triumphant at MRMC's Best Warrior Competition
The 2014 U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Soldier of the Year competed at the 2015 U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Best Warrior competition Feb. 2-6, at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and came out victorious in his category. Spc. Matthew D. Winans, a bioscience specialist at the USAISR Dental and Trauma Research Detachment won the USAMRMC Best Warrior competition and will now compete at the 2015 Army Medical Command Best Warrior of the Year competition in May.
"It feels great to earn the title of MRMC's Best Warrior," said Winans. "It is a reflection of the outstanding leadership and training I received from the non-commissioned officers at the ISR. The achievement was a team effort."
To prepare for the competition, Winans and Staff Sgt. Pablo Sierra, the 2014 USAISR NCO of the Year, who competed at the NCO level, trained and studied with the assistance of several USAISR NCOs. Winans credits the countless hours of training and studying to be the deciding factor in the competition.
"Each competitor was physically and mentally strong," he said. "It was slightly stressful due to the pace of the events and the cold weather. Near the end of the competition, the small gaps between the competitors increased the anxiety for everyone. As the competition progressed, it was wonderful to see the esprit de corps between competitors."
Sierra who took the runner-up spot in the NCO of the Year competition will continue to train and study with Winans.
"It was an exceptional performance by both ISR competitors," said Col. Michael D. Wirt, USAISR Commander. "Our two Soldiers truly embody the Warrior ethos and proudly represented the ISR throughout the competition."
USAISR Sgt. Maj. Quinton Rice Jr. said he was proud of both competitors and attributes Winans' success to the support and motivation he received from their departments and the organization.
"It was a very tough competition," said Rice. "It went down to the last event and Spc. Winans out distanced the top members of eight other organizations under the USAMRMC umbrellas."
Winans also attributes his success to the support of his wife and family, his sponsor Staff Sgt. Scott Eriksen, and the personal guidance he received from Sierra during the competition.
"Staff Sgt. Sierra kept saying 'you are never out of the fight,'" said the Wellsville, a New York native. "From that advice I was able to manifest personal courage and stay positive in the face of adversity."
Winans, who has been at DTRD for almost two years and in the Army since 2012, said that he will continue to train and study for the next competition.
"Spc. Winans is a stellar Soldier who has the initiative, drive and discipline to accomplish anything he wants," said Staff Sgt. James McAlister IV, DTRD NCOIC. "I am so proud that he was able to implement the training he received for this competition and I will continue to support him throughout the next one."
Rice believes that Winans will excel at the next level.
"I believe that if our organization continues to support him and provide him challenging training, then he will do exceptionally well," said Rice.