A Soldier assigned to 75th Fires Brigade takes a photograph of his team mate performing a chin-up during a "Lieutenant Scavenger Hunt" Oct. 3, 2013, at the brigade's "Diamond Cutter Gym." The scavenger hunt was a first in a series of team and morale building events Col. Michael Eastman, brigade commander, has planned for Soldiers assigned to the "Tough As Diamonds" Brigade.

FORT SILL, Okla. -- More than 70 junior officers assigned to 75th Fires Brigade, participated in a "Lieutenant Scavenger Hunt" Oct. 3, here.

The officers were separated into prearranged teams of three to four Soldiers, which were given a list of locations to find on post that were within a one-mile radius of the brigade's headquarters building.

"It's a team building exercise," said Col. Mike Eastman, 75th Fires Brigade commander. "We've mixed lieutenants from across the formations into the teams.

"As you know, once you've deployed a number of times, you find out very quickly that many times in combat, you're thrown together with people you've never meet [from] units you've never worked with," said the veteran of four deployments. "Your ability to quickly build a team, quickly come together on a common goal or objective and then execute a mission is important."

He added although the scavenger hunt was much simpler than that scenario, "the basic fundamentals are the same."

The Lawton native said the event was physically challenging because the Soldiers had to find several points within a limited time, which spanned from shortly after 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.

He also said that the lieutenants would have to work as a team to figure out a route to find the points and do so while staying together throughout the event.

Upon arriving at the points, the officers took photos where, in some cases, they posed while planking, doing a pyramid or sitting on a swing.

The scavenger hunt served a dual purpose: to build camaraderie and teamwork among the junior officers as well as to further develop their decision making skills.

"I think it will give them a chance to get to know each other and exercise some basic leadership skills: prioritize where they're going, how they're getting there and working with others," said Eastman.

While some teammates were faster than others, the teams had to stay together while moving to each point, he said.

On the command "get ready, go," the teams ran in several directions in an attempt to gain a time advantage over their counterparts.

"We had a mental concept of where we needed to go and what we needed to do," said 1st Lt. Kenric Lull, executive officer, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery, 75th FiB.

Active listening and responding became a residual factor throughout the hunt as the team members took different approaches to finding the points in an efficient manner.

Lull said the team debated if it wanted to first stop at the Resiliency Training Center or Sheridan Road Elementary School. He said the team solved its dilemma by communicating effectively and that "healthy dialogue was a key component in making hasty decisions."

That team, which also included lieutenants Gary Hurst, Kiara Reed and William Johnson, won the competition.

Eastman, who joined one of the teams as a competitor, held a candid under-the-oak-tree counseling session with junior officers at as the event concluded.

He said it's important to him that the "young officers" assigned to the brigade have the opportunity to engage with him and ask whatever questions that are on their mind and the chance to work together.

The "Lieutenant Scavenger Hunt" was the first in a series of leadership development events the colonel has scheduled.

Eastman said he plans to host a similar scavenger hunt for the captains, majors and lieutenant colonels assigned to the brigade.

He also let the lieutenants know the challenges for upcoming scavenger hunts will progressively increase in difficulty.

Page last updated Thu October 10th, 2013 at 12:26