News: ‘Dragon’ brigade conducts first Iron Dragon since redeploying home
Story by Sgt. Shantelle Campbell
FORT RILEY, Kan. – More than 80 soldiers of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, gathered inside Robinson Fitness Center on Custer Hill Oct. 27 to participate in the Iron Dragon Fitness Challenge.
This was the first Iron Dragon conducted since the brigade returned from a yearlong deployment to northern Iraq in August.
Dragon brigade soldiers who participated in the challenge tested their mental and physical strength and endurance by pushing out numerous repetitions of push-ups, sit-ups, dips and pull-ups. Their hearts were also tested during the three-mile run, which was the last exercise of the challenge.
As the last man crossed the finish-line, the Soldiers refueled and satisfied their stomachs by partaking in the various breakfast items that were provided for them under the awning of the picnic area on Raiders Field.
In a gesture that’s becoming a tradition for the Iron Dragon, Col. Hank Arnold, the commander of the Dragon brigade, expressed his appreciation for the soldiers who participated in the Iron Dragon and commended their dedication to fitness.
“I appreciate everybody’s effort for coming out here,” said Arnold. “Everybody who came out had to be here 30 minutes earlier than you normally have to be for PT. You had the self-discipline, drive and determination to come out and go after something that is above and beyond, and that says a lot about everybody out here.”
To conclude the challenge, Arnold and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael S. McCoy, the top noncommissioned officer of the Dragon brigade, congratulated and awarded ten new Iron Dragons with a Certificate of Achievement, unit coin and the infamous Iron Dragon trophy.
“It feels good,” said Spc. Matthew J. Stern, an infantryman with Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th IBCT, about becoming an Iron Dragon. “I’ve been training really hard … to get this award.”
“I hope that by (my Soldiers) seeing me meet the standard and seeing everyone come and try that they feel inspired to push themselves to reach that point of exhaustion, because it’ll help them throughout their career, not just in garrison but also in combat,” concluded Stern.
There is scheduled to be another Iron Dragon Fitness Challenge sometime next month.