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    Oklahoma Guardsmen take top honors at international competition

    Oklahoma Guardsmen take top honors at international competition

    Photo By Sgt. Anthony Jones | Sgt. Jonathan Cody, of Midwest City, Oklahoma, Cpl. Kyle Foor, of Oklahoma City, Spc....... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Anthony Jones 

    45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

    NORMAN, Oklahoma -- Four Soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team showed the international community that the Oklahoma Army National Guard produces reserve component troops that compete at an award-winning level.

    Oklahoma's own , Sgt. Jonathan Cody of Midwest City, Cpl. Kyle Foor of Oklahoma City, Spc. Durham Chilcoat of Jenks, and Spc. Brandon Widman of Stillwater, were among four teams to earn gold at the Altcar Challenge – an international competition hosted by the United Kingdom designed to test reserve Soldiers.

    From Sept. 7 to 9 the Soldiers competed against 18 teams of reserve troops from the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, The Netherlands and Poland at the Altcar Training Camp in Merseyside, England.

    The competition is comprised of several events including dismounted close quarter combat, land navigation, obstacle courses and casualty evacuation. Col. Chris Chomosh, the 45th IBCT commander said the Soldiers were given a day to familiarize themselves with the lanes before beginning the two-day challenge.

    “The challenge was great in every way,” Chomosh said. “Everyone was welcoming and friendly. Everyone lived in the same barracks. Soldiers were telling jokes and trading patches, and at the end of the day, it was a great chance to work with our allies to build interoperability, friendship and comradery before we are in a deployed environment.”

    Chomosh said the event was also an opportunity to learn from NATO allies as much as it was a competition to be best.

    “We want to compete and be leaders among our allies," Chomosh said. "It’s indicative of the quality of Soldiers we have in the Oklahoma Army National Guard that they can compete and earn the top marks. But we learned that reserve component Soldiers all over the world face the same challenges, like being away from our families and civilian employers.”

    Cody, a member of 1st Battalion, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th IBCT served as the team leader during the challenge. He said it was a great chance to see the tactics, techniques and procedures of NATO allies.

    “We found out how heavily the UK relies on what we know as team leaders,” Cody said. “Everything during this challenge put decisions on the team leader. It was a good experience in leadership, especially since our team hadn’t met each other until the day before we got on the plane to fly to the UK.”

    Cody said not meeting until days before the challenge and being able to take the top honors speaks volumes about 45th IBCT Soldiers.

    “Being adaptable is huge when working in small teams," Cody said. "The big picture is made at brigade and battalion, but it is the Soldiers who have to make decisions on the ground. You can have a beautiful operations order, but plans can quickly go out the window and adaptability is key to success.

    “My big take-away is being adept in our tactics, techniques and procedures,” Cody added. “Be so far into the core of your battle drills that they become second nature, but remain flexible. Keep that big picture in mind, but staying flexible is key to being an efficient team.”

    Through the competition, the Soldiers from the 45th IBCT were paired with a team from The Netherlands to form a squad to take on challenges like village clearing.

    Foor, who deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq, said it was a challenge working with a team who’s first language is not English. He said he learned many things from them that he plans to bring to his National Guard unit.

    “It was great seeing the different ways our allies work,” Foor said. “I will definitely be bringing these techniques home. One thing is using mils over degrees for land navigation to be more accurate and another is an emphasis on mission planning.”

    Cody agreed with Foor’s plans to bring lessons learned to his unit, saying it was good for the Soldiers to see the positives of how NATO allies plan and train in a competitive environment.

    “It feels great to win and we are very honored,” Cody said. “As a [noncommissioned officer], the team was spot on. The 45th’s Soldiers are always ready to go.”



    Date Taken: 10.14.2018
    Date Posted: 10.18.2018 12:53
    Story ID: 296384
    Location: NORMAN, OK, US 

    Web Views: 245
    Downloads: 0