U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command foreign liaison officers participated in a professional development session by visiting Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and Fort Bliss, Texas, from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. During their visit to Fort Huachuca, the foreign liaison officers learned about the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and the 311th Military Intelligence Brigade’s roles and mission. At Fort Bliss, the officers were hosted by 1st Armored Division, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy and Joint Modernization Command. (U.S. Army photo)
As a part of the commitment to its community, Fort Leonard Wood once again hosted this year’s annual JROTC Raider Challenge competition Oct. 21.
The event is a head-to-head competition between regional high schools to see who has the most physically fit as well as cooperative team. In order to make sure the event was a success, an extensive amount of preparation was undertaken.
“Well over 60 man hours were spent creating the concept of what the challenge would eventually look like,” said 1st Lt. Daniel Sherman, the event’s officer in charge.
One key element to planning, as well as staffing the event, was including students currently attending their leadership course at Fort Leonard Wood serving as part of the 554th Engineer Battalion. Students from classes 12-17 and 13-17 were present during the day in order to guide their teams throughout the courses. Each team was assigned a lieutenant who guided the them throughout the day.
In addition to being on the ground with event attendees, second lieutenants from class 12-17 were responsible for much of the planning.
“(Mentorship is important because,) JROTC has the potential to influence the next (generation of) cadets that decide ROTC is the right fit for them and therefore by extension, the future of the officer leadership present within the Army,” said 2nd Lt. Robin Brown, EBOLC student and event volunteer.
Retired Col. Charles Williams, Waynesville High School JROTC senior Army instructor, said having the lieutenants working with the JROTC is an added benefit to holding it at the installation.
“The lieutenants are with the teams and they’re closer in age, so they talk to the kids about college and such,” Williams said. “I think for all the teams, the cool thing is getting to hang out with lieutenants all day and the drill sergeants.”
He added the meet held at Fort Leonard Wood is a favorite for a lot of the teams.
“This Raider meet, of all the ones we go to, is probably the one people like the most. Some of these schools are nowhere around military, and I think that’s why they like coming here,” he said.
The physically demanding event included long-distance endurance events, such as the 10k run, all the way to a modified version of the Army’s physical fitness test. This also helped cadets gain a more realistic feel of what life within the Army will look like. Throughout each event, lieutenants stayed with the participants and offered words of encouragement making sure each team stayed motivated throughout the course.
Williams said this year’s event was a success once again.
“I want our kids to do good, but as long as the event goes well and everyone is happy, then it’s a success,” he said.
Leavenworth, Kansas, High School took home the overall win this weekend. Team captain, Javon Evans said the team’s motto, “practice, practice, practice,” is what makes them a successful team. He hopes this will be what gives his team a successful showing at the upcoming national Raider meet, which is set to take place Nov. 4 in Molena, Georgia.
Additional photos can be found at: www.flickr.com/photos/fortleonardwood/albums/72157687499643241.
(Editor’s note: Vaughan is a Unit Public Affairs representative for the 1st Engineer Brigade.)
JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — Imagine treading water in full-duty uniform after swimming four laps, running sprints and holding a chin-up for more than a minute.These are only three of the six events Joint Base Langley-Eustis service members completed to earn the prestigious German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge, one of the most sought after foreign awards approved to be worn on U.S. military uniforms.
An oval wreath of oak leaves with a German eagle at its center, either donned in gold, silver or bronze symbolizes the extensive annual test administered to German soldiers. Agility, endurance, strength and mental toughness are necessary to earn this badge, as each physical event builds upon another to test overall abilities as warfighters.
The week-long GAFPB challenge is open to all ranks, professions and branches, giving U.S. Army Soldiers, Air Force Airmen and German Army soldiers a chance to interact with fellow Armed Forces and coalition forces.
German Army Lt. Col. Ingo Beisse, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command German army liaison officer, enjoyed coordinating the assessment to give the almost 200 U.S. service members competing a sense of what it’s like for his soldiers in Europe.
“If you share a common set of memories and you know what it means, it brings you a little closer,” said Beisse. “We are getting so much from the Americans, being here, so this is a good option for us to give a little back.”
To earn the badge, participants need to meet the set standard for each event—a 100-meter swim, 11×10 meter sprint, flexed arm hang, 1,000-meter run, ruck march with a 33-pound load and marksmanship test using the M9 pistol.
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Alice Park, U.S. Army School of Music Advanced Individual Training course manager, has earned the gold badge three times before. Even after training several months in advance, she said she still feels nervous before every event.
“I love being able to work toward something,” said Park. “Even though I have already done these three times, it doesn’t make it any easier at all. It’s still nerve-wracking and scary but it’s exciting. That’s why I want to keep doing this.”
When first faced with the challenge, Park was ill-prepared. She failed the 100-meter swim—a primary eliminator event for participants in the challenge.
The swim must be completed in full-duty uniform, minus cover and boots, in less than four minutes. Before exiting the pool, participants must also shed their outer garments down to their swimwear while treading water.
“After I failed the swim, I had two or three months before the make-up swim to train,” she said. “I swam every day and was able to pass. The feeling was amazing. Now, I try to swim throughout the year on a regular basis and train in my uniform a few months out.”
Now as a veteran of the competition hosted by TRADOC, Park finds herself in a coaching role for first-time competitors. Dispelling the belief that the competition is too difficult for some, she shares her experiences with future competitors and even helps prepare them for the challenge.
“I enjoy being able to share what the challenge is like with new people,” she said. “I like ensuring them that it’s not as hard as they think and that they can do it.”
Although the event appears to be an individual challenge, Park said a team-like connection grows among participants.
“One thing I really enjoy is the morale-building aspect of supporting one another and cheering each other on throughout the different events,” said Park. “I recently learned the bulk of the participants were AIT students and I thought it was neat that they had the opportunity to participate. What a great way to ignite and motivate the young Soldiers at the start of their military career.”
Chasing her fourth gold badge, Park hopes to be an inspiration to other service members to take on the challenge.
“I aspire to be a leader that can inspire, encourage and guide other service members to be better,” exclaimed Park. “I’m a petite female and if I can do this, then everyone can!”
“I would say going into the challenge, I felt a healthy combination of nervousness and excitement with a touch of absolute dread.”
Unlike Park, this was U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. David Neil Regner’s first experience with the international fitness test.
The newest member of the Air Combat Command Heritage of America Band took the opportunity to connect with his unit and become familiar with the joint community.
“As difficult as the challenge was, it gave me time to have some great conversations with my fellow Airmen, and even some Army Soldiers,” said the newly-appointed flight commander. “I met some wonderful people, heard fantastic stories and shared in some pretty good laughs.”
Regner said when made the serendipitous decision to participate in the challenge, he was clueless about what he was really getting into. Thankfully, he wasn’t going through the challenge alone, and began training in mid-September with three other Airmen in his unit.
Just as Park mentioned, the lieutenant had a difficult time with the swim, and didn’t even qualify on his first attempt.
“Don’t go into the GAFPB without having first gone through each challenge on your own, especially the swim,” said Regner. “You’d think taking your clothes off in water would be simple – but you’d be wrong! It goes without saying, but the more you know, the better you’ll prepare and the better you’ll perform.”
With friendly competitive banter and enthusiastic cheers fueling a supportive environment, Regner connected with his fellow competitors. The flight commander felt the rewarding opportunity also enhanced his team’s readiness.
“Events like this one provide a unique opportunity for new connections,” said Regner. “Not only between Army and Air Force, but with foreign military too; creating a stronger fighting force.”
Although the preliminary events end this week, some competitors will have the chance to requalify or get better scores during a make-up week. With the badge ceremony still several weeks away, all will have to wait for the final results in hopes they may be able to proudly wear the badge so many work so hard for.
Pictured above: A U.S. Army Soldier fires a 9mm Beretta automatic pistol in the prone-unsupported position during the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge event at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Oct. 20, 2017. Members must fire two bullets in three different positions to qualify in the marksmanship event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)
FORT KNOX, Ky. (Sept. 28, 2017) — The future leaders of ROTC are expected to live all of the Army values. Recently, the values of Personal Courage, Duty, and Selfless Service were tested by cadets and cadre members as they were activated to take part in hurricane relief efforts.
More than 200 cadets in the Simultaneous Membership Program and ROTC cadre from various programs were activated to support relief efforts for both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Missions ranged from search and rescue operations evacuating numerous families to providing humanitarian aid to the families forced into shelters by damaging winds and flood waters.
University of West Florida Cadet Isaac Kimbrell activated with the 53rd Brigade Support Battalion, Chipley, Florida, which distributed supplies to those hit by the hurricane.
“It was very humbling, but also very educational. I was both amazed and disappointed by what people can do when they’re desperate,” he said. “The way that people worked together despite language, culture, or race barriers was amazing.”
“I learned a lot about expectations versus reality. I also learned a lot about the differences between Soldiers. These lessons will forever remain with me,” Kimbrell added. “I was there with the enlisted Soldiers throughout this while process, and I will remember what we needed, what was too much, and what was effective. It was very enlightening to see leadership from the point of view of a subordinate.”
Cadet David Pavelsky Jr. was one of 17 Texas A&M cadets who took part in relief efforts. He assisted in securing humanitarian aid and shelter operations established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Houston. He said he was glad, yet humbled, to help his fellow Texans.
“I was really excited to help in Houston. Seeing the devastation that took place and the look on the faces that had lost everything – I was really glad I could do my part,” Pavelsky said.
Cadet Michael Elder, University of West Florida, activated with the 870th Engineer Company (SAPPER) from Crestview, Florida.
He assisted with relief efforts in Tallahassee, Florida, by working with the Red Cross to help manage multiple shelters for people affected by the storm. His unit also helped in route clearance operations in Tallahassee.
“It made me feel good to be a part of such an effort because it is nice to be out there helping people in need,” he said. “I feel my experience with the storm relief efforts will help better me as a leader in the future because I received some great experience with helping people in the field.”
Cadet Christian Hernandez, another Texas A&M cadet, welcomed evacuees from the Texas gulf coast at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, which was home to about 2,650 evacuees.
“We were the first ones that many of the evacuees saw after the shock of Hurricane Harvey,” Hernandez said. “Even though we had long hours and sleepless nights, I was really happy to help and made sure that we warmly welcomed them with a smile.”
Not all cadet efforts took place in the hurricane damaged areas of the country. Many ROTC and junior ROTC programs also organized events to collect supplies to send to those in need.
Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes, commander of U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, Kentucky, said providing aid in real-world situations gives cadets an opportunity to grow as leaders.
“I’m proud and impressed by the dedication and selflessness of these cadets. Relief efforts for natural disasters continue long after the sky has cleared and the soil has dried, so these cadets may sacrifice a semester of school or delay their graduation to be a part of these relief efforts,” he said. “But it’s an invaluable experience, teaching them how to operate and lead in chaotic and complex situations — it’ll make them better leaders in our Army.”
The U.S. Army Cadet Command is the largest single source of new officers for the Army, commissioning the majority of the Army’s new officers each year through the senior ROTC program.
Brig. Gen. Jonathan Biggart, British Army assistant chief of staff of training (left), stands for a photo with Thomas Greco, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s deputy chief of staff for G-2 (Intelligence), and Col. Christopher Pflanz, director of TRADOC’s G-27 Operational Environment Training Support Center, Sept. 22, 2017. Biggart conducted his first visit to Fort Eustis, Va., to gain a better understanding of the Army’s operational environment and ensure a closer relationship between the TRADOC G-2 and the British Army’s assistant chief of staff of training.
During his visit, Biggart received an overview of TRADOC and learned how the command designs, acquires, builds and improves the U.S. Army. Biggart also received a tour of the OETSC, where he learned how TRADOC understands, visualizes, describes, delivers and assess the operational environment for the U.S. Army. (U.S. Army photo by Clay Weis)
Find more photos of TRADOC distinguished visitors on TRADOC’s Flickr page.
FORT BENNING, Ga. (Sept. 20, 2017) – Soldiers from Destroyer Company, Task Force 1st Battalion, 28 Infantry Regiment, trained for dismounted operations as part of their new mission to provide security for the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, Sept. 8.
The 1st SFAB will go through rigorous certifications in order to train, advise, assist, accompany and enable foreign partner security forces. Task Force 1-28 will become an integral part of the adviser team by enabling the 1st SFAB’s advisers to safely conduct their mission with foreign security partners in any theater the Army decides.
Destroyer Company, a heavy weapons unit, usually conducts mounted operations to provide convoy security for their sister companies in Task Force 1-28. This training event affords them the opportunity to brush up on their dismounted skills at the team level. Soldiers practiced with blank ammunition and progressed to using live ammunition during the training.
Soldiers throughout Task Force 1-28 are excited to work with the Army’s newest brigade and the unique challenges and experiences that come with it.
“This is a great opportunity for our Soldiers to get out in the field and shake off the dust on dismounted operations. We are getting to do some pretty great training over the next few months to prepare for future missions with the SFAB and everyone is excited about it,” said 1st Lt. Jack Rosenhammer, a platoon leader in Destroyer Company.
This training event is the first of many for Task Force 1-28. Companies from the task force will conduct shoot house ranges, mounted gunnery and more to continue to sharpen their skills in the coming months.