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    Sustainers Prepare for Expert Soldiers Badge

    Sustainers Prepare for Expert Soldiers Badge

    Photo By Sgt. James Geelen | The Ghost Riders from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Special Troops...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. James Geelen 

    4th Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade

    FORT CARSON, Colo. –Social distancing, teleworking and quarantine can make it difficult to connect with coworkers and friends. The common practices during this ‘new normal’ can inhibit teamwork and team building. This has become the challenge for leaders in today’s Army while still protecting their Soldiers from COVID-19.
    Lt. Col. Travis W. Hill Sr., commander, 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division along with Command Sgt. Maj. Johnny G. Bryant, battalion command sergeant major, 4STB, 4SB, 4th Inf. Div. created a physical competition to challenge squads throughout the battalion.
    “The overall intent of our competition was to prepare our ‘Trailblazers’ for the Expert Soldier Badge, (ESB), testing,” Bryant said. “We created a seven lane event and had each company form a team to make it more competitive, which helps the Soldiers get more out of the training.”
    The Soldiers completed a variety of different events such as the Army Combat Fitness Test, a 12-mile forced march, casualty care while under fire, a chemical and biological contamination site, a stress shoot and more.
    “When we started going through all the events, it was very interesting and eye-opening to me,” said Pfc. Nicholas Ramsey, religious affairs specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4STB, 4SB, 4th Inf. Div. “The events were designed to push you to your mental and physical limits, while demanding everyone come together as a team.”
    The companies from throughout the battalion each submitted a squad of Soldiers to compete for the title of best squad. The overall victory went to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4STB, 4SB, 4th Inf. Div. The team nicknamed ‘Ghost Riders’, took the lead early in the competition and never looked backed.
    “Our group trained together as much as possible leading up to the competition to help us learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Ramsey said. “We stayed humble throughout the competition because you don’t want to give the other teams extra motivation by talking trash. We knew that to be the best, you have to work harder than everyone else.”
    Building a team from a headquarters company can be a challenge in itself.
    “We had to canvas far and wide across our company to find the best talent and then 1st Sgt. (Hector) Rodriguez brought them together to form a cohesive unit,” said Capt. Jonathan Hatch, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4STB, 4SB, 4th Inf. Div. “No matter what your background is, you’re a Soldier and you come together as a group of Soldiers to accomplish the mission. In this, case the Soldiers came together from across the echelons of brigade staff, medics and battalion staff to build this team out and made this a successful exercise.”
    These competitions offer the Soldiers a chance to shine, no matter what their job is.
    “This competition showed the rest of the battalion that we have full spectrum warriors just like any other MOS,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Laurencelle, rear detachment first sergeant, 230th Finance Management Support Unit, 4STB, 4SB, 4th Inf. Div. “We’re expected to not only be technically proficient but tactically proficient as well. Our Soldiers demonstrated that ‘in spades’ this week.”
    The contest was designed to challenge each individual and each squad, making everyone dig deep to get to the finish line.
    “All of the tasks were Soldier skills that we don’t always get to perform in our daily duties,” Ramsey said. “I found the medical event to be the most intense. Treating a casualty under fire, with the added stress of people yelling at you would have been impossible to properly perform without the help of the whole team.”
    While the winners of the squad competition have bragging rights over their peers, they have also built bonds of friendship.
    “Competitions like this help to build up the morale and cohesion throughout the companies and the battalion,” said Lt. Col. Travis W. Hill Sr. “This also helps to promote more unity in the organizations, especially in this time of social distancing and quarantines.”
    The contest organizers would like to be able to add more competitors to their next event.
    “I would like to try to get a sustainment level best squad competition and help build that cohesion in the sustainers across Fort Carson,” Bryant said. “When Soldiers are out ‘embracing the suck’ with someone who’s not in their formation, it helps them build that bond with individuals that might be able to help them in the future.”
    The Trailblazers are going to continue training for Expert Soldier Badge.
    “These events bring out the natural leaders in a group,” Hill said. “We want to support the young and emerging leaders and foster their personal and professional growth.”




    Date Taken: 10.03.2020
    Date Posted: 10.28.2020 12:36
    Story ID: 381904
    Location: FORT CARSON, CO, US 
    Hometown: MANSFIELD, PA, US

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