News: 215th BSB puts on heavy metal rodeo: 1st Cavalry soldiers navigate vehicles through obstacle course
Story by Pvt. Andrew Slovensky
BASRAH, Iraq — When a semi truck came barreling past a line of orange cones, kicking up a cloud of dust in its wake, it was clear this wasn’t a normal rodeo.
Instead of bulls, soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, Alpha Distribution Company 2nd and 3rd Platoons mounted Caymans and other armored vehicles Aug. 6 and took part in a rodeo competition at Contingency Operating Base Basra.
“We’re doing something to break the monotony and also to limit complacency,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Thomas, 215th BSB. “We’re doing a little competition between both platoons.”
Thomas said that along with getting training, the soldiers were competing for honors among their company.
Soldiers were teamed up in each vehicle and performed to standard on a list of events. First, they performed preventive maintenance checks and services on their vehicles before safely securing their equipment. Then the drivers were expected to navigate a serpentine course through orange cones as quickly as possible, while maintaining a safe speed and control of the vehicle. The trucks were ground-guided to their parking spots before backing into a narrow space between T-walls, and given a final PMCS.
“We worked as a team and we got it done pretty quick,” said Spc. Katherine Pak, Caymen driver for the 215th BSB.
Capt. Vernie Param, Alpha Distribution Company commander, said he wanted to do the event, the first of its kind for the 215th, to give the soldiers an opportunity to enhance their skills in a safe yet competitive environment.
"I wanted to give them a chance to refresh themselves, as well as give them somewhat of a familiarization on different types of vehicles and different positions that we fill here in Iraq,” said Param.
When the dust settled, the sound of roaring engines had stopped. The soldiers of the 215th had put on a rodeo for training and had a little fun in the process, without a clown in sight.
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