News: Senior leadership takes on Courage Challenge
Story by Staff Sgt. Mark Miranda
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – While senior enlisted soldiers endured the grueling tests of the Mangudai Warrior Competition, unit commanders and senior staff officers participated in a concurrent event to build esprit de corps among JBLM’s senior leaders.
The Courage Challenge tested basic Soldier skills in a field setting for JBLM brigade level commanders, command sergeants major and senior staff officers, May 2. It also served as a forum for them to provide input to JBLM leadership on training and command challenges.
“The Courage Challenges began under Lt. Gen. (Robert) Brown,” said Maj. Brennan Cook, the primary coordinator. “They are quarterly; this is the third one, and we try to make each one better than the last. They are challenging events followed by a leaders’ discussion on topics important to the Commanding General.”
“We wanted to provide a first-class, physically challenging leader development event,” said Col. Robert Taradash, I Corps Commanders Initiative Group Chief.
An added measure to build esprit de corps through the rigorous challenges, each team member had to be physically in contact with a 20-foot strip of engineer tape at all times.
The Courage Challenge events started with land navigation across rough terrain. Some of the events were a 400-meter Sked rescue system carry, a Humvee push for 400 meters, weapons assembly including a functions check, and a log cutting competition.
“The teams are competing for time, and will be required to speed-walk the entire event, no running allowed,” Cook said.
Air Force personnel from McChord Airfield were invited to participate, as well as a few liaison officers from allied nations who are currently assigned to JBLM.
“There are also a couple of civilians participating: Maj. Gen.(R)James M. Collins, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, as well as (liason officers) from Korea and Japan,” Cook said.
The last event of the morning was a log-cutting competition. Three logs were available for the six teams to cut a portion of the ends off. Each team sent one member at a time to chop through thick logs using an axe. With several teams closely matched, the fastest to remove their end of the log would win the Courage Challenge.
The team that walked away with the trophy and bragging rights was one led by outgoing 7th Infantry Division Deputy Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Billy Farris.
“We have people moving on to the war college, the Pentagon, so today was also about spending time with some of those who are leaving, and it’s been a great honor to work with these members of the team,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, I Corps Commanding General.