Wiesbaden Soldier takes 1st in Army, 2nd overall in Alpha Warrior competition


Sarayuth Pinthong /U.S. Air Force
Lt. Col. Eric Palicia, an engineer with U.S. Army Europe headquarters, competes in the Inter-Service Alpha Warrior competition Sept. 14, 2019, at the Alpha Warrior Proving Grounds, Selma, Texas. Palicia placed first in the Army and second in the overall competition.

When Lt. Col. Eric Palicia saw a flyer for an Alpha Warrior qualifier in May, he decided to throw his name in the hat for a chance to go head to head with last year’s overall winner – his younger brother.

In this year’s Alpha Warrior Inter-Service Battle, Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors completed more than a dozen obstacles that tested their strength, agility and endurance, in a timed race Sept. 14, 2019, in San Antonio.

“I thought, ‘if I could earn a slot, I could compete against my brother,’” said the U.S. Army Europe headquarters engineer, who went on to surprise himself when he passed two more rounds of qualifiers to make it to the competition.


Palicia earned the top spot among Army competitors and second place overall – right behind his brother, Air Force Capt. Noah Palicia.

Eric Palicia credits bodyweight exercises and running for his success in preparing for the competition.

“You have to have endurance,” he said. “Cardiovascular fitness is the cornerstone of everything I’ve ever done athletically my whole life.”

Despite that, Palicia said the wins had little to do with him and much more to do with being a positive example.

“Before the competition started, there were 60 brand new enlistees who did their oath,” he said. “All their families came out, and we had a chance to talk to them, and they asked us what we’d done so far in the military. If they can look at me and see what we’ve done, the whole swath of ranks and ages and everybody gets along, right off the bat those 60 sons and daughters see the organization they’re going into. They see all of us together doing this competition — there’s no ego or animosity. We’re all in it together.”

Next up for Palicia is the Army 10-miler, Oct. 13, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

Palicia said he feels lucky to be supported in his fitness endeavors.

“It’s wonderful to be a part of a command climate that realizes the importance of a competition like this and the importance of leaders doing it,” he said.