CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, TIKRIT, Iraq -Four Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Division, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division "Wolfhounds", became the first teams from a deployed unit to compete in the Best Ranger Competition during the 2009 event at Fort Benning, Ga, May 8-11. "To compete and finish Best Ranger is impressive, to do it from a deployed environment is miraculous," said Col. Walter Piatt, commander, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. The Wolfhound teams, which consisted of two commissioned officers and two noncommissioned officers from the battalion's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, showed high levels of confidence and motivation due to their extensive training prior to leaving Iraq for the grueling competition. "Being in a deployed setting is actually a better training environment to participate in the Best Ranger competition-we've had ranges that have been open to practice marksmanship when we need-we had explosive ordinance disposal Soldiers to train us on demolitions-we had medical personnel to train us--everything that would prepare us for success has been available here," said Capt. Lloyd Wohlschlegel, the company executive officer. The rigorous training regimen to get the Wolfhound Soldiers ready for the competition took them to a higher level of professionalism as the team members found themselves increasing in proficiency in their basic infantry tasks and skills. "Our train-up actually resembled preparing for an expert infantry badge. We rucked marched countless miles-working out four times a day, two days would be weight lifting and running, the other two was a focus on basic infantry skills training-medical, weapons assemble and disassembly. Basically if you take an EIB book we trained on it and became proficient in everything within our abilities," said 1st Lt. Raymond Kuderka, a military intelligence officer. The two teams focused on the honor of being selected to represent their fellow comrades who would be still fighting while the team would be competing. "Personally I felt very honored to even be considered-because I knew that I would be competing against all other units that were sending only their best Ranger qualified Soldiers-I would then be competing against the Best Rangers in the United States Army-making a mark for the Wolfhounds overseas," said Sgt. David Paul, reconnaissance team leader. Lt. Col. Raul Gonzalez, the battalion commander, came up with the idea of having two teams made up of two commissioned officers and two noncommissioned officers to compete in the competition and represent the Wolfhounds, according to Sgt. 1st Class Derek Wise, reconnaissance platoon sergeant. These four Soldiers went into the competition to represent the entire 25th Infantry Division. The teams showcased the spirit and drive of the Wolfhounds by finishing the competition in the 18th and 20th place out of 48 teams.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16