FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Finding motivation for accomplishing goals and excelling is something that most people can relate to. From making decisions in one’s everyday life to career choices that may affect the outcome of the future. Some even decide at a moment's notice to take on a new challenge to become the best version of themselves.
A physically grueling task such as competing in a military competition can be just that.
Staff Sgt. Juan Nunez, a combat arms training manager with the 136th Security Forces Squadron, Texas Air National Guard, represented his unit as a competitor in the Texas Military Department’s Best Warrior Competition March 2-4, held at Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas.
The competition brought together members of the Texas Army and Air National Guard, Chile and the Czech Republic. The three-day event included an essay, an oral and appearance board, night land navigation, an M4 carbine qualification course, an obstacle course, a 12-mile ruck march and a mystery event that challenged the competitors mentally and physically.
“My son was my primary motivation,” Nunez said. “He’s always been the biggest motivation in my life. I asked my son to do something to challenge himself more, in school or anything else. I told him I was going to do it too… that I was going to find a way to challenge myself. I knew I didn’t have to, but he thinks I’m something bigger than even I think I am. That’s why I chose to do Best Warrior.”
Nunez is a single father to his 10-year-old son Tristan, so managing home life and preparing for the competition was a challenge in itself.
“I had to find a way to train between work and picking up my son, taking him to his tutoring and getting him to his Jiu Jitsu classes,” said Nunez. “Aside from that, I still had to help him with his homework, make dinner, workout and find time to try and squeeze in six hours of sleep. It was the same thing every day. By the time Friday hit, all I wanted to do was sleep. So one of the things I did was incorporate him into my training. I would do these long ruck marches and ask him to go with me.”
With such a busy schedule, balancing work and being a full-time father, Nunez found consistent ways to stay on top of his goals. Though he faced several different obstacles, he realized that being fit was the priority.
“The most important thing I knew I needed to develop was my physical fitness,” Nunez said. “I was already in good shape, I thought, but I knew I needed to prepare more for the actual event. I started focusing on cardio, I ruck marched every day and I started doing CrossFit type exercises as opposed to my normal workout.”
Nunez wasn’t alone on his quest for the Best Warrior Competition. He had support Airmen in his squadron and leadership as well.
“We had the tryouts a month before, and he showed a lot of heart and passion,” said Chief Master Sgt. Del Atkinson, security forces manager with the 136th Security Forces Squadron. “It
was evident how hard he was pushing himself. I’m proud of him, I didn’t hear him complain one time.”
Sergeant Nunez successfully completed the competition, and did exceptionally well on the essay portion. Though results won’t be released for another month, for him, the biggest reward was getting home after the competition to see his son once again.
“He kept giving me hugs, and telling me how proud he was of me,” Nunez said. “What surprised me was he came up to me out of nowhere and said, ‘Hey Dad. You don't have to do all of these crazy things, I’m already proud of you.’ I don't think I’d be anywhere close to where I am in life without him.”
For more information about the Airmen of the 136th Airlift Wing, visit www.136aw.ang.af.mil.