Alumnus proves himself in military competition


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Miguel Larrea climbs the rappelling tower in the U.S. Army Reserve “Best Warrior” competition, a grueling 10-day competition held at Camp Blanding and Pinellas Park, Fla. A 2011 Southeastern graduate in exercise science, he now works with others looking to improve their athletic performance and self-development as he prepares for future Army competitions.


Miguel Larrea

Eddie Hebert, head, Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies



Specialist Miguel Larrea

Specialist Miguel Larrea

If one word were needed to describe Southeastern alumnus Miguel Larrea of Slidell it would be “tough.” Larrea proved he is among the best in the U.S. Army Reserve this spring after winning a grueling 10-day competition against soldiers from around the country.

A combat medic and member of the 7232nd Medical Support Unit from New Orleans, Spec. Larrea beat out several competitors to be named “Best Warrior” in the competition held at Camp Blanding and Pinellas Park, Fla. He is a 2011 graduate of Southeastern, earning a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.

The competition taxed each soldier’s mental and physical mettle, as the event is designed to demonstrate how individuals can do more than they think they can.

“Competition drives excellence,” said Larrea, who works as a performance coach at Parisi Speed School in Slidell. “This competition gives me a chance to demonstrate that I live by the Warrior Ethos.”

Participants had to complete numerous events that were scored on time or accuracy including an obstacle course, rappelling towers, weapons qualifications, hand-to-hand combat, a written essay, and other challenges. In all, the soldiers ran about 20 miles in a two-day period, packing more than 50 pounds of gear on their backs while wearing a 40-pound bulletproof vest.

Included in the challenge was a “mystery event,” in which the contestants were required to disassemble and reassemble four different weapons: an M4 rifle, 9 MM Beretta, M249 squad automatic weapon and M240B machine gun.

“The ruck march was the hardest part,” he said. “It’s all about overcoming obstacles and being resilient.”

Larrea proved himself in his studies when he was at Southeastern, recalls Eddie Hebert, head of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies.

“There was one semester when Miguel was activated and had to do military duty near New Orleans following Hurricane Gustav,” Hebert said. “He missed a week or two of school, then arranged for a night work schedule. For the rest of the semester, he worked as a military MP all night, then drove to Southeastern every day and took classes. Throughout this, you would never know he was going through this unless he told you. His academic performance was outstanding. He was like a machine, very dedicated to getting his degree.”

As a reservist, Larrea was called up for humanitarian missions in Honduras and two in Haiti. He was also called to active duty to work during the BP oil spill.

Larrea will compete in the national Army Reserve competition in July at Fort McCoy, Wis.



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