News: Greywolf Soldiers compete in grueling four day competition
Story by Pfc. Jared Sollars
MOSUL, Iraq — U.S. Soldiers train to be the best day in and day out. Over a four day period in 110 degree weather the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division held the Greywolf Best Warrior Competition in Mosul beginning July 16 to determine the most physically fit and tactically well-rounded Soldiers in the brigade.
The competition consisted of a nonstandard physical training test, a live fire stress shoot, casualty evaluation, various warrior tasks and a warrior competition board.
Seven junior enlisted Soldiers and seven non-commissioned officers were selected from the battalions throughout the brigade.
The winner of the NCOs was Staff Sgt. Derek Stephens, of 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, and the winner from the enlisted side was Spc. Colton Derr, with 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment. Each soldier was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for finishing first in their category.
The competition began with a nonstandard PT test which only allowed four minute breaks between events instead of the standard ten minutes. At the end of the two mile run the Soldiers were instructed to run an additional mile to the range where the stress shoot would take place and their time for the stress shoot had already started.
"At the end of the two mile run we messed with their heads by making them run a third mile to the stress shoot," said Sgt. Maj. Tony L. Bowen, the operations sergeant major for the Greywolf brigade.
Once the Soldiers arrived at the range they had three minutes to put on their full body kits, which included a complete body armor kit, advanced combat helmet, gloves and protective eye wear. After equipping their gear the Soldiers had to fire at targets 200 meters out from five different firing positions. During the stress shoot they also had to drag a 100 pound weight litter 50 meters then fire at a target.
Upon completion of the stress shoot the Soldiers had to run 200 meters back to the starting position of the shoot and evaluate a casualty.
For the next two days of the competition the Soldiers were taken to a hands-on area and tested on 20 warrior tasks such as pattern analysis, medical tasks, weapons tasks and even setting up a snap traffic control point.
"The hardest part for me was the medical tasks," said Spc. Derr. "Since I'm a commo guy I don't really get to do that kind of training very often."
The final day of the competition each Soldier went before the Best Warrior Competition Board. While in front of the board the Soldiers were asked questions regarding 15 subject areas, three evaluated areas and presented a 500 word written essay on what they perceived their unit to have accomplished in Iraq during their first six months in country.
On July 18 an awards ceremony and dinner was held at the dining facility on Forward Operating Base Marez. All of the command sergeants major in the brigade and other key senior leaders attended the ceremony. Command Sgt. Maj. James Pippin, the command sergeant major of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division presented the Army Commendation Medal to the top two winners and other prizes for Soldiers who placed first for each individual event.
The Brigade's goal for the competition was to make it more difficult than the upcoming division event. By making this competition more difficult they have insured that their Soldiers are more than ready when they compete at division.
"The competition was excellent, the trainers that trained us up were very knowledgeable on the tasks they were teaching and were very well organized," said Staff Sgt. Stephens.
The Staff Sgt. Stephens and Spc. Derr will continue on to compete in the Multi-National Division-North competition at Contingency Operating Base Speicher later this month. These soldiers are scheduled to continue training on events each day until the division competition.
"I am confident that 3rd Brigade set our Soldiers up for success," said Sgt. Maj. Bowen.