News: Soldiers compete, show they are Fit-To-Fight
Story by Sgt. Michael Blalack
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Sixty soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska competed in a Fit-To-Fight competition on Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Sept. 18-20.
“This was a good way to promote some competition between batteries,” said 1st Lt. John Conrad, a platoon leader in Battery C. “There are some incredibly fit guys in the battalion and my goal was to finish in the top five.”
The event consisted of three events; the Army Physical Fitness Test, a four-mile run followed by a pull-up challenge and an eight-mile foot march. The soldiers competed as two-man teams and were required to complete each stage together.
“The purpose of the competition was to ramp up our esprit de corps here in the battalion by getting some friendly competition going,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Alexis Shelton, senior noncommissioned officer for 2-8 FA. “I’ve wanted to do this for a while and just had the opportunity to put it together now. I like getting the leadership out there competing with their soldiers, it makes everyone put more into it and ultimately challenge themselves and each other to do better.”
The Army teaches soldiers to never leave their battle buddy and this competition demonstrated the importance of having that person by their side.
“It got pretty competitive out there,” said Pvt. Christopher Jones, a radar operator with Headquarters Battery. “It was great to have a buddy with you, pushing you to do better, getting each other through the tough parts.”
Spc. Earl Butler, 2-8 FA command sergeant major’s driver, was singing cadences and exchanging friendly insults with teams that finished before and after him as the team’s rucksacks were inventoried at the end of the march.
“This was awesome,” said Butler. “We should do this more often; this is the stuff that makes us soldiers.”