The first inklings of sunrise hadn’t come close to touching the desert sky when U.S. Army Soldiers were stirring from their beds, readying themselves for what was to come while shaking off the final lingering grasp of sleep. Waking before the sun rises is not uncommon in the military, especially to infantrymen; however, this mission was different – contending to be U.S. Army Central’s best warrior. On this day, more than a week ago now, June 20, 2021, U.S. Army Central (ARCENT) hosted its Best Warrior Competition (BWC) 2021 in and around Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
One of these competitors, U.S. Army Spc. Omar Dacosta, an infantryman with Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain), not only won the enlisted category of this year’s US ARCENT BWC 2021 but also happens to be a Task Force Spartan Soldier. Dacosta, 19, of Revere, is currently deployed with the 3-172 Inf. Reg. on a nine-month tour in Southwest Asia in support of Operation Spartan Shield. Although he has only been in the military for two years, Dacosta has proven to be a well-rounded soldier who has big aspirations when it comes to the milestones of his career.
“I’d like to take the experience I’ve learned and be able to help and train other people,” said Dacosta. “I’d like to train other people whether it be in positions like drill sergeant or platoon sergeant. That’s my goal: to help train the next generation of soldiers.”
Inspired by stories his great-grandfather told him of his time in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, Dacosta said, he wants to carry on that legacy and make the military a lifetime career. It’s a legacy he has already started to live up to by giving his all in the 2021 Best Warrior Competition, which he didn’t take lightly.
“Being here in this competition is an honor,” said Dacosta. “It’s a voice of confidence that my mentors and unit have in me. I feel like representing my unit is important. Also, representing myself and the opportunity to be here to compete against some of the best in ARCENT is a challenge, but one that I’m going to face and accept.”
Face it he did, giving it his all and placing in the top positions in most of the ARCENT BWC 2021 events, which consisted of an Obstacle Course, Land Navigation, Army Warrior Tasks, the Army Combat Fitness Test, a Ruck March, a Written Test, an Army Board, and, finally, a mystery event that tested them both physically and mentally. Even though he placed ahead of his peers in the events, eventually winning the competition, Dacosta did not let the title of ARCENT BWC 2021 Enlisted Winner go to his head.
“The biggest feeling right now is humbleness and pride,” Dacosta said about winning. “There were some great competitors, and I’m honestly shocked that I won out of all of them. It’s a sense of representation. I need to go on and represent everybody that I competed against. I need to go on and represent all of ARCENT.”
Dacosta is ready for the next chapter in the competition as he moves on to the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) Best Warrior Competition 2021 later this year. He takes it as a challenge to himself and against himself. It is the same attitude he had when participating in ARCENT BWC 2021.
“I always say, the only person you’re competing with is yourself,” said Dacosta. “I beat myself at this competition. I did better than I ever have, and on to the next one.”