Spc. Ronald Yeager, a Soldier assigned to Headquarters Troop, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, helps hook a tow bar up to a broken vehicle during the battalion's best squad competition at Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, Iraq, May 28. Yeager's squad bested three other companies' squads during the two-day competition.
Story by Spc. Ben Hutto
COS KALSU, Iraq –Soldiers assigned to the Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division competed in their battalion's best squad competition at Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, May 28 and 29.
Four teams assigned to each of the battalion's four companies sent a squad of seven Soldiers to compete in the two-day event.
Squads completed an Army Physical Fitness Test, competed in a ruck march, negotiated an obstacle course, battled in Army combatives matches, and conducted mock media interviews. Participants also completed a reflexive fire range, a vehicle maintenance competition, a mock improvised explosive device lane, and a game show-style Army knowledge competition.
Headquarters Troop was the eventual winner of the competition by a slim margin.
"The competition was really challenging," said Spc. Jeremy Driskel, an infantryman assigned to HHT, 3rd BSTB. "To be honest, I underestimated it. It was hard, but I really enjoyed it."
The competition was an idea Command Sgt. Maj. Antonio Jones, the senior noncommissioned officer of 3rd BSTB, brought with him when the 3rd HBCT deployed to Iraq in October.
"It was one of the first things I wanted to do when I got to Iraq," said Jones. "After seeing the brigade's best squad competition and the division's Soldier of the Month board, I got some more ideas. The whole point of this competition was to have a tough, realistic training event in a fun-type setting. We wanted to push our Soldiers and force them to dig deep."
Jones, a native of Lynchburg, Va., also wanted to use the competition to build camaraderie in his battalion and to see where his companies were in their technical proficiencies.
"The competition has given me an opportunity adjust and tailor our training to fix issues we saw during the competition," he said. "It was just a great event all the way around."
Driskel, a native of Cummings, Ga., said he was extremely pleased with how his team came together.
"Honestly, we were all thrown together at the last minute, but everyone was so motivated," he said. "I like working with people like that. We just kept each other going and picked each other up."
Jones is planning another competition when his unit gets back to Fort Benning, Ga., and hopes the event will help motivate his Soldiers to be as technically proficient and mentally tough as they can be.
"It was a great event, and I appreciate all the Soldiers who took part," he said. "I think everyone was a winner. Winning, to me, was to see that everyone performed the common tasks and demonstrated that they were proficient in their jobs."