News: ‘Steel Knights’ build esprit-de-corps
Story by Sgt. April York
BAUMHOLDER, Germany – Soldiers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 51st Transportation Company, 16th Sustainment Brigade, chant “Steel Knights” to encourage their teammates to push themselves to complete as many situps as they can without stopping.
The situps were part of a competition to win the Commander’s Cup, a sought-after trophy that earns the winners bragging rights for being the best warriors in the company.
While bragging rights are a strong motivator for competing soldiers, the competition also help soldiers to get ready for their upcoming deployment.
“I want the soldiers to realize that no matter what their job is they are a warrior first and their profession second,” said 1st Sgt. Ronald Brundidge, senior enlisted noncommissioned officer for the 51st Transportation Company.
“When I came to the unit, morale and the function of the company was an ‘I don’t care’ attitude. This competition makes them have pride in themselves, and now they walk around yelling ‘Steel Knights,’ and they want to win the cup,” Brundidge said.
“It’s a great morale booster,” said 1st Lt. Robyn Moore, operations officer for the 51st Transportation Company. “It’s nice rooting for my soldiers; they love competing and when they are finished they have something to brag about.”
The competition used a point system that collects quarterly to determine the winners. Points are awarded monthly to each platoon for the highest physical training average, least amount of deficiencies in an army service uniform inspection, least amount of deficiencies for counseling packets, least amount of deficiencies from a weekly open ranks inspection including barracks checks, and points awarded from a weekly Commander’s Cup event.
Platoons can also have points taken from them if their soldiers received negative actions such as speeding and parking tickets.
The Commander’s Cup event occurs on Fridays during physical training hours. Each event starts with a company run and ends with a random event chosen by the command team. The platoons then chose five members to compete in the event. The winners’ earn points, and they get to hold on to the cup for a week until the next event. At the end of the quarter all the points will be tallied and the overall winners will be the keepers of the Commander’s Cup.
“I love fitness and the competition is a great workout,” said Pfc. Rodrigue Polycarpe, a wheeled vehicle mechanic from the 51st Transportation Company. “These competitions improve morale, because the first sergeant and the commander are motivating us and it improves my mood throughout the day and it improves my mood toward the company.”
The competition started the day of the 51st Transportation Company’s most recent change of command, Feb. 22. The outgoing company commander led the event and then passed the reins to the incoming company commander.
There have been five Commander’s Cup events, and the last one was a situp competition. Team members did situps nonstop until they could not do anymore, and then the next team member started. Headquarters platoon won the event with more than 750 situps between their five members. One of their members, Polycarpe, did 342 situps.
“It feels great to help my platoon finish on top,” Polycarpe said.
“The camaraderie, teamwork and esprit-de-corps are the best part,” Brundidge said. “It builds teamwork and trust within a platoon; everyone loves Fridays now.”