News: Thunder Crucible tests soldiers’ capabilities
Story by Staff Sgt. Carlos Davis
CAMP CASEY, South Korea – It is early morning and the cold chill of the night air lingers as soldiers of 210th Fires Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division head to Soldiers Field near Carey Fitness Center to register for the first Thunder Crucible event Nov. 6, 2013, on Camp Casey, South Korea.
Approximately 55 two-man teams executed 11 events that ranged from the Army Physical Fitness Test, Korean culture, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear readiness, Warrior Standard test, North Korea threat test, and a series of other warrior tasks to challenge the leaders from batteries and companies across the brigade.
According to Maj. Brendan Toolan, the brigade’s operations officer and a native of Philadelphia, the competition is designed to test and evaluate the physical and mental abilities of the leaders throughout the brigade.
“We hope this event will strengthen the bond within the leadership groups,” said Toolan. “This is the first time 210th Fires Brigade will be conducting this type of training as a leadership development program.”
According to Toolan, the highlight of this event is seeing the junior officers and senior noncommissioned officers teaming up together and taking the event seriously and doing their best throughout the competition.
“I am here to support our team and make sure we get the best possible score we can,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hytower, from Shellman, Ga., a maintenance supervisor assigned to 579th Forward Support Company, 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment.
The crucible allows leaders to train into a field environment and freshen up on their Warrior skills.
“To come up here and train on some infantry-type tasks and to be able to sharpen our soldiering skills is great because they are easily lost if we do not stay current on them,” said Capt. Hugh Lewis, from College Station, Texas, the assistant operations officer assigned to the United Nations Command Security Battalion-Joint Security Area.
Second Lt. Adam Fisk, an Atlanta native, hadn’t trained on some of the tasks since his time in Officer Candidate School.
“The different tasks we are going to be achieving for the next couple of days will cover almost every aspect of skills soldiers perform in case we go to war,” added Fisk, the executive officer assigned to 579th Signal Company, 70th Brigade Support Battalion.
Being stationed in Korea, leaders normally focus on the big picture and can lose sight of the small things that make soldiers well-rounded.
“This competition allows me to gauge on what things I need to work on as a leader,” said Fisk.
The Thunder Crucible is a competition designed to test the mettle, teamwork and soldiering skills of Thunder platoon, battery or company officers and their NCO counterparts. Soldiers competed as teams through friendly competition to showcase their mastery of the warrior skills necessary to be ready to "fight tonight" to defend the Republic of Korea.
The first-place winners were from C Battery, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Fires Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division: Capt. Juan Noda, from Miami, the battery commander for C Battery, and 1st Sgt. Mark Smith, originally from Newport, Ark., the senior noncommissioned officer for C Battery.
The second-place team members were from A Battery, 1st Battalion, 38th FA Regiment: Capt. Robert Auletta, from Massapequa, N.Y., the commander of A Battery, and Sgt. 1st Class Jordan Lee, a native of Saratoga, Calif., a multiple launch rocket system crew member assigned to A Battery.
Third-place team members were from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 38th FA Regiment: Capt. Shaohong Lu, from Atlanta, the fire direction officer, and Sgt. Justin Humphreys, from Las Vegas, a multiple launch rocket system operations/fire direction specialist.
Coming in fourth-place team members were B Battery, 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Fires Brigade, command team: Capt. Carlos Ortiz, from Jersey City, N.J., the company commander for B Battery, and 1st Sgt. Joseph Taylor, from Waterford, Conn., B Battery senior noncommissioned officer.
To download these high-quality photos and others for use in your publication, click on the link to go to this set at the 210th Fires Brigade Flickr page:
Date Posted:11.13.2013 19:33
Location:CAMP CASEY, 26, KR
Hometown:ATLANTA, GA, US
Hometown:COLLEGE STATION, TX, US
Hometown:JERSEY CITY, NJ, US
Hometown:LAS VEGAS, NV, US
Hometown:MASSAPEQUA, NY, US
Hometown:MIAMI, FL, US
Hometown:NEWPORT, AR, US
Hometown:PHILADELPHIA, PA, US
Hometown:SARATOGA, CA, US
Hometown:SHELLMAN, GA, US
Hometown:WATERFORD, CT, US