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    Deployed air defense Soldiers compete for honor, respect

    Deployed air defense Soldiers compete for honor, respect

    Courtesy Photo | CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – A Hunter Elite Competition participant from Headquarters and...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Task Force Spartan

    By 2nd Lt. Matthew McKay
    HHB/1-62 ADA Unit Public Affairs Representative

    CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – While forward deployed to Southwest Asia, Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 62nd Air Defense Artillery “Hunter” Regiment, Top Notch 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade continue to display their crew and individual tactical capabilities.
    The battalion held a Hunter Elite competition during the month of March. This recurring event is intended to identify and recognize the top performing junior enlisted Soldier, noncommissioned officer, and officer within the Hunter Battalion, while raising the unit’s esprit de corps. The victor in each category is also funneled into the higher echelon’s competitions as they occur.
    Within an air defense artillery battalion, a battery is a dynamic unit comprised of different military occupational specialties each with a specific focus. The batteries each operate their designated missile systems.
    The service battery is responsible for ensuring the battalion’s wheeled and missile system assets are mission capable, while the headquarters plans and coordinates to guarantee all batteries operate as one to accomplish the battalion’s mission.
    The Hunter Battalion had full participation from each of its six batteries, with each battery carefully choosing its three contenders to represent the unit.

    In the end, winners in all three categories came from the unit’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battery. They are: 1st Lt. Jacob Bennett, Staff Sgt. Steven Smarrito and Spc. Eric Kaaihue.
    The competition was comprised of eight tasks spread out over two days. These tasks included an M4 rifle qualification, an army combat oriented physical fitness test, basic Army Warrior tasks, a written examination, a packing list inventory, an eight-mile ruck march, a land navigation course and a presentation before a mock promotion board.
    The basic Army Warrior tasks encompass the ability to shoot, move, communicate, and survive. Over the course of the competition, the participants went through a series of situational training exercises. These exercises tested specific tasks like treating a wounded Soldier, clearing buildings and responding to chemical attacks all in a simulated combat environment.
    First Lt. Jacob Bennett of Fayetteville, N.C., the signal officer for HHB, was excited about his victory, effectively declaring him the elite officer within the organization.
    This competition was difficult, testing aspects of an individual Soldier’s technical and tactical proficiencies under harsh conditions.
    “The toughest part of the competition for me was the Warrior Tasks and Drills portion because of the high pace and added stress factors which made seemingly simple tasks a lot harder,” said Bennett. “It showed me that even though you might think you know something, it's always good to rehearse and prepare. When unexpected situations happen it is better to be over prepared than unprepared.”

    In the true spirit of the competition, Staff Sgt. Steven Smarrito from Magnolia, Texas, appreciates his victory but was motivated for more selfless reasons. As a maintenance sergeant, Smarrito is involved in not only maintaining HHB’s equipment but also in the development of over 42 Soldiers.
    “For me, it is not about being at the top. It is about improving myself and inspiring my Soldiers to want to compete in these types of competitions to better themselves,” said Smarrito. He remains humble to this day, even after continuing his winning streak to the Top Notch competition where he was ultimately selected as the 11th ADA Brigade’s noncommissioned officer of the year.
    The selected participants had one month to prepare for the rigorous competition. Spc. Eric Kaaihue from Killeen, Texas recognizes the need for collaboration and teamwork. As HHB’s supply specialist, he attributed his own victory to the support from his unit’s chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear team, signal section, and Service Battery’s small arms repairer.
    “I wouldn't have succeeded without the help of other Soldiers in my unit preparing me,” said Kaaihue. “They all took time out of their busy schedules to train me on the various tasks that we had to do during the competition.”
    Overall, Hunter Battalion held a successful competition that allowed its batteries to bond and demonstrate their unit’s pride.
    Capt. Jason Nunes of Winston, Ore., commander of HHB, was proud of all Soldiers within his formation and glad all three selectees from the battalion were from his unit.
    “It was a great opportunity for our Soldiers to showcase the skills they have developed through hard work and training,” said Nunes.



    Date Taken: 04.05.2018
    Date Posted: 04.24.2018 02:56
    Story ID: 274209
    Location: KW

    Web Views: 265
    Downloads: 2