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    'Can Do' infantrymen compete for best scout squad

    'Can Do' infantrymen compete for best scout squad

    Photo By Sgt. Joshua Laidacker | A squad of infantrymen from 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry...... read more read more

    FORT BENNING, Ga. – An infantry squad from the reconnaissance platoon of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, competed in the 2015 Gainey Cup on Fort Benning, Georgia, May 4-8, 2015.

    The Gainey Cup, named after retired Command Sgt. Maj. William “Joe” Gainey, the first senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a competition to earn the title of the “Best Scout Squad” by testing the scouts’ mental and physical endurance in 15 events.

    The squad from 3-15 Inf., whose motto is “Can Do,” consisted of 1st Lt. Nathan Schwartzbauer, Sgt. Robert Montavon, Sgt. Robby Paz, Spc. Brandon Whitely, Pfc. Cesar DeLeon, and Pfc. Steven Taylor. The infantrymen, also known by their military occupation specialty identifier as 11Bs, finished third overall and are the first and only infantryman ever to compete in the event dominated by cavalry scouts.

    Gainey said he personally requested for infantrymen from scout platoons to be invited to the competition.

    “In the 70s we had to have a primary and a secondary MOS; my secondary was 11B,” said Gainey, a native of Hartsville, South Carolina. “They need to be here. They’re just as much scout as I am.”

    “We took it upon ourselves to do the best that we can to represent our platoon, our unit and ultimately the infantry branch and emphasize the fact that reconnaissance is not just exclusively an infantry or a cavalry thing, but a maneuver thing; it’s important for all,” said Schwartzbauer, the reconnaissance platoon leader. “We were just honored that we were able to demonstrate our ability to conduct these reconnaissance and security tasks at an Army-wide competition.”

    Squads completed a written exam on cavalry knowledge a day prior to the competition and the scores determined the sequence of events for the teams.

    The order of events was the first strategic decision made by the squads because 12 of the events spanned a 76-hour period, both day and night, which allowed little time for sleep and much physical and mental fatigue. The infantrymen of 3-15 Inf. scored high enough to earn their second choice of placement and were known as Squad 17 for the remainder of the competition.

    “We operate exclusively dismounted in austere conditions with heavy loads and we’re expected to execute our mission,” said Schwartzbauer, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota. “I’d say due to that, our guys are conditioned to be more physically and mentally tough just by virtue of their experiences and given the fact that most of these events were dismounted in nature, we felt right at home.”

    A single shot from a pistol by Gainey signaled the start of the reconnaissance run event and the competition. The reconnaissance run consisted of an unknown distance run, which ended with a written exam about the route and drawing a detailed map.

    “The thing we kept emphasizing was doing our personal best and really, no matter what the outcome, it’s something we can really be proud of,” said Schwartzbauer.

    The competition also featured events such as route reconnaissance, live-fire exercises, build a field expedient antenna, create a hasty road crater, vehicle identification, call for fire, and a medical and security event. Many of the events required the squads to maintain security as well as avoid detection from opposing forces and unmanned aerial vehicles.

    “The thing we always fell back on was our characteristics of an infantryman,” said Schwartzbauer. “We like to say we are the most physically tough and we used that as a motivator. Even when the chips were down and we knew we might not get the best score we were still going to push on and finish as fast as we could anyway.”

    Some of the events proved much more difficult than others. Schwartzbauer expressed a lot of confidence in the ability of his squad to complete the land navigation course because of their experience with land navigation and dismounted patrols, but the course proved very tough, even for these resilient soldiers.

    “There was just an absurd amount of low growth and brush growth,” said Schwartzbauer. “We basically had to body breach our way from point to point through the thick vegetation.”

    Overall the infantrymen were happy with their performance as was Gainey who saluted the tired and worn soldiers at the awards ceremony.

    “I’m very proud of everybody here,” said Gainey, who also served as a brigade command sergeant major of 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, during his career. “I think being the best you can be in what you do is important.”

    “I think our overall ability to be comfortable being uncomfortable ultimately lead us to being successful across all events.” said Schwartzbauer. “Win, lose or draw, we were just happy to be able to compete. I’m really quite humbled to be the platoon leader of these guys.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.08.2015
    Date Posted: 05.12.2015 16:21
    Story ID: 163073
    Location: FORT BENNING, GA, US 
    Hometown: HARTSVILLE, SC, US
    Hometown: ST. PAUL, MN, US

    Web Views: 388
    Downloads: 1
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