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Combat Medic is Army’s Best Shooter

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — An Army Medicine Soldier was named the U.S. Army’s Best Shooter for 2022. Spc. Paulo DaSilva, Jr., a 68W combat medic excelled in the Army’s recent Best Squad Competition to receive the honor. Da Silva is assigned to the Medical Readiness Command West’s Reynolds Army Health Clinic at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

The Army’s Inaugural Best Squad Competition, replacing the Best Warrior Competition, was held at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. from Sept. 29-Oct. 7. The Army’s Soldier and NCO of the Year were also named. The NCO of the Year was also an Army Medicine Soldier — Sgt. Garrett Paulson.

DaSilva said that the Best Squad firing range was the most difficult firing range he’d ever seen.

“It was at an upward angle. There was lots of greenery that made it hard to see the targets because they blend into the surroundings.” It was also an overcast day, he said.

“I was confident in my shots. Although I excelled against my peers in the train up, I didn’t expect to win. I was pretty stoked to learn I’d won against such high-caliber competitors as the Special Forces and the Infantry,” he said.

DaSilva shared that all of the Army Medicine squad were highly motivated and went into the competition to win and worked hard in their training to do better.

“It really started within for all of us. We all had a drive. We spent our training time focusing on the areas in which we needed more help. I focused on shooting movement and land navigation. Shooting the M4 clicked with me and became an area I excelled in. We had good training and resources. I was in awe of the caliber of people who were training us,” he said.

DaSilva has only been in the Army for two years and is currently doing his first permanent party assignment. He ended up in the competition because one of his leaders saw his potential as a good competitor. DaSilva said he was “volun-told” to compete. The training leading up to the competition was rigorous and included early morning physical training, high-intensity workouts, weightlifting, ruck marching, obstacle courses and land navigation.

“We showed up as Army Medicine Soldiers,” he said. “Everything got thrown at us, not just medical. We had a lot of determination to show that MEDCOM is not to be taken lightly in this competition.”

Before joining the Army, DaSilva had been a painter, a maintenance man, a casino supervisor, a CNC machine operator and even did body piercings. He said he chose an Army medical career because of his religious background.

“I didn’t want to be striking anybody,” he said. “I didn’t want to be Infantry. Being a [68] Whiskey helped me save some Soldiers instead of taking people out. I wanted to help some Soldiers and become one,” said DaSilva.

The 30-year-old Californian has been married for two years, and he and his wife are expecting their first child in the coming weeks.

DaSilva said if he had a choice of future assignments, he would love to go to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State or to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii.

Story and photo by Stephanie Abdullah

Additional photo by PFC Hans Williams

2 Responses to “Combat Medic is Army’s Best Shooter”

  1. Stickman says:

    Congratulations!! JBLAM is nice enough if you enjoy the rain, and MAMC certainly can offer the opportunity to stay pretty busy if you go that route. Stay away from the local areas which are high crime, and its a beautiful place. MAMC delivers about a billion babies a year, so his wife will be well taken care of.

    Never hung out with 25th ID, so no help there…

  2. Marcus says:

    Hooah brother.