JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, held their first “Tomahawks Challenge” on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Sept. 13, 2013.
The event was designed to give the spouses of 1-23 Inf. Soldiers an idea of what the Tomahawks do on a day-to-day basis and simulate some of the training they go through, said Lt. Col. Corey L. Crosbie, commander, 1-23 Inf.
The six-hour challenge tested the wives’ in a variety of infantry-specific tasks, including land navigation; their ability to provide buddy aid and transport the wounded; qualify with a M4; and physical fitness.
The Tomahawks Challenge isn’t an event new to the brigade, but it is the first time the battalion has done something like this for their spouses.
"Other battalions had done the same thing," Crosbie said, “but we wanted to do things a little differently with the events that we went after.”
Spouses gathered at 8 a.m. for accountability and weapons familiarization. They were then separated into groups and moved either to the weapons range or the land navigation course.
The wives who moved to the range donned their husbands' Improved Outer Tactical Vest and were transported via Light Medium Tactical Vehicle truck to the M4 range. They received a safety brief, range familiarization, and proceeded to fire at a 25-meter target. Many of the spouses hit their target and more than a few had tight shot group.
Participants were treated to Meals-Ready-to-Eat before moving to the shoot house where, following instruction on clearing a room, they stacked up on a door and “entered and cleared a room against a ‘determined enemy’,” Crosbie said.
The spouses were transported back to the battalion area where they swapped out with the other group who had conducted land navigation, administered first aid, and conducted grenade drills using training grenades.
This was the Tomahawks’ first foray into such an event and many of the wives had never participated in anything like this before. However, according to Crosbie, the feedback from both the spouses and their Soldiers was largely positive.
“The spouses really enjoyed it,” Crosbie said. “One of the things we did learn was that (the spouses) wanted to do ‘enter and clear a room, enter and clear a building,’ a lot more. They enjoyed the (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System) play and the blanks and engaging an enemy.”
Soldiers were thankful for the event which some felt gave their spouses a better understanding of what they do every day and the training they go through.
“There were a lot of comments (to the effect of) ‘hey, we want to do this again,’” said Crosbie of his Soldier’s reaction to the event.
That may be a real possibility, he added, that the event will probably be repeated late next spring or early summer.
“We’ll have an opportunity to do it again. I think we can definitely learn from it and get better and hopefully have more interest (next time),” Crosbie said.