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    Fort Riley Soldier Runs, Rucks, Razes Competition

    Fort Riley Soldier Runs, Rucks, Razes Competition

    Photo By Spc. Nicholas Vidro | Spc. Zachary Cockrill, a military police Soldier with HHD, 97th Military Police...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Nicholas Vidro 

    7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    Sprinting against the red and purple sky Zachary Cockrill kept his mind clear with two words: Don't lose. Keeping up his pace and eyeing the finish line his determination held steadfast against nine of III Corps toughest soldiers. He refused to be stopped. Throwing himself against the wall since the first day, he hasn't stopped pushing through the entirety of the III Corps Best Warrior Competition. For this Soldier competition was the operative word.

    The rally for competition goes deep into his past. Growing up as a middle child in the country he's no stranger to carving out his place through contention.

    “I grew up with two older siblings, my older brother is eight years older than I am and I adopted my 'hate to lose' mantra from him,” he said. “From the start I wanted to be like him and I started to compete against him as I got older. Baseball, football, you name it.”

    For this Fort Riley Soldier, the spirit of competition isn't the only fire burning in him. Coming from a long line of military service, serving his country seems to have always been on his path. With family serving in multiple branches, he didn't have a hard decision to make when it came to joining the Army. His career as a military police Soldier however started outside of the home.

    “I worked in a Sheriff's department coming out of high school in the jail for about two years,” he said. I realized its hard to progress in law enforcement without college or military experience, so I decided to further those goals by becoming an MP.”

    Even after joining the Army, the Indiana native continued to expand his skills. He would eventually add the position of driver for the battalion commander to his duties. This is where he met 1st Sgt. Justin Brown, of the 300th Military Police Company.

    “I first met Spc. Cockrill as he was aid and driver to the battalion commander. From the start I could see he was very positive, a real go-getter, committed to excellence, and a fast learner,” said Brown.

    Brown was also the military policeman's sponsor during the competition and noted on what it had been like to watch him surpass every challenge put in his path.

    “I think he's done outstanding, especially for being a specialist in the Army he's not expected to know as much as he does. He really put in the time to learn and I feel like he knows significantly more than most junior sergeants in the Army,” he said.

    The challenges that Zach faced included many different tasks including multiple fitness tests under different constraints, a 12 mile ruck march, land navigation, and a shooting range among other tasks that tested his mind and body over four days with little to no sleep.
    Even against those odds he pushed himself the only way he knew how.

    “My entire motivation is 'I hate to lose'. I want to do the best I can at everything I do. Especially running and rucking,” said Zach. When it doesn't work out the most important thing for me to do is bounce back as fast as I can.”

    In the end, after keeping his “never lose” mentality he didn't think he was going to win.

    “Unfortunately I don't feel like I did good enough to win. Mainly because I didn't finish the ruck march in time. It was a real blow since it's something I usually do better on,” he shook his head in disappointment.

    Despite these feelings his resolve and resiliency proved strong as he received a surprising win in the end.

    “Winning was very surprising, ever since the ruck march I had been regretting my performance. I was thinking 'Man, if I could just re-do it I know I could've won', so this was awesome. I'll be taking those thoughts and this win with me to the FORSCOM board to better prepare for whatever challenge is next,” he said through a smile.

    The struggle isn't over yet for this Soldier. Soon he'll be moving on to compete at the Forces Command level competition and beyond that he looks to grow even farther in every aspect.

    “I believe you can always accomplish anything you put your mind to. Always be humble, never give up, and always strive for self improvement,” he said.



    Date Taken: 06.11.2018
    Date Posted: 06.14.2018 11:56
    Story ID: 280522
    Location: FORT HOOD, TX, US 
    Hometown: SYRACUSE, IN, US

    Web Views: 69
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    Fort Riley Soldier Runs, Rucks, Razes Competition