February 27, 2009
By Luke Waack
- Engineer Soldiers learn basics of building self-esteem, teamwork, leadership
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - Confidence is a key component in military operations, leadership, teammates and equipment, and Soldiers in the third week of Initial Entry Training developed a deeper trust in themselves and their comrades with a trip to the Confidence Course at Trainng Area 97, Tuesday. One hundred forty-nine Company A, 31st Engineer Battalion combat engineers jumped, pulled, pushed and swung their way through the course of 14 events, motivating one another along the way.
"These Soldiers are from all over the country. In the first two weeks they are getting to know each other; sometimes they have personality conflicts. When they get out here, all that goes to the wind. It's all about motivating their battle buddies; one team, one fight," said Capt. Shawn Morton, Co. A, 31st Engr. Bn. commander.
Completing the Confidence Course improves their ability to work as a team, Morton said.
"It's a confidence building course which allows them to face a lot of their fears; heights, jumping and going through obstacles they have never faced," said Sgt. 1st Class Magda Davila, Co. A., 31st Engr. Bn. drill sergeant.
The physical challenges also give the Soldiers an idea of what they will face in the future.
A combat environment is physically demanding, and Soldiers may be asked to jump over walls, crawl on their bellies to an objective or use teamwork to climb a tower, Davila said.
"They have to be able to sustain effort with a lot of physical endurance, while counting on their battle buddies. This is probably the most exciting part of training they get. They look forward to this and anything that has to do with endurance, motivation and physical activity that is not pushups and sit-ups," Davila said.
Davila encouraged Soldiers to dig deep and improve their current levels of confidence.
"You have to persevere and you have to have a big heart, that's what I tell them," Davila said.
Soldiers are motivated by the challenge, and seeing their teammates succeed gives them confidence, said Pvt. Yu Yang, Co. A, 31st Engr. Bn.
"It's hard, but it's fun because everybody is doing it. Everybody's pushing it, so I have to give it my best," Yang said.
The training not only instills confidence in the new recruits, it's also a welcome change in their daily routine, Yang said.
"This is the most fun we've had since the first day of training," Yang said.
With new confidence in themselves and their battle buddies, Soldiers for better prepared for the rest of their training, Morton said.