News: Super Squad competition brings out the best
Story by Sgt. Amy Christopherson
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. - Soldiers with the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade participated in a Super Squad competition as during the National Security Agency's Armed Forces Week observance. The competition was a joint-services event organized by the Marines on Fort Meade.
As part of the National Security Agency’s Armed Forces Week observance, two teams of soldiers represented the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade in a Super Squad competition May 1.
The event brought teams of Marines, soldiers, airmen and even NSA police out to compete against one another in an obstacle course designed and set up by the Marines. Staff Sgt. Cameron Renner, a platoon sergeant with Alpha Company, 741st MI Battalion, 704th MI Bde., and one of the team leaders, said he first participated in the Super Squad team last year.
“I was introduced to [the Super Squad competition] last year by another soldier in my company,” he said. “Last year was fun but this year was definitely more physically challenging.”
Renner added that competitions like this are good for team building within the unit.
“These events are one of the few opportunities to build camaraderie between soldiers who don’t see each other very often,” he said. “We’re all on different schedules working in different offices so it’s good to train and compete as a team.”
The soldiers began training in March, five days a week during PT. In April, they found out what the specific events would be so they could adjust their training accordingly. Though the competition required them to carry a 25-pound rucksack, during training they ruck marched with at least 35 pounds, but sometimes up to 45 or 50 pounds.
The competition began in a staggered start near the parade field, with competitors each carrying a rucksack, and each team carrying their scorecard which was taped to a 35-pound ammunition can. As the teams ran the 5.5-mile course, they were required to stop at different stations and answer a trivia question then complete a physical challenge. At the first station, each team had to complete 150 burpees before continuing on to the next station.
After the route brought teams back to the parade field, competitors dropped their packs and began the final events. Though the 704th and NSA police teams arrived and began the final push together, the NSA police team was the overall winner.
Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Thornton, command sergeant major of the 704th MI Bde., said these competitions are important for building esprit de corps within a unit and within the military as a whole.
“We do PT every day, but today the competitors are out there combining different events to really push themselves to their limits in a safe environment,” he said. “They are able to bond with their team while measuring themselves against their peers and compete against our sister services, including our civilian force.”