Dragon's Peak tests Soldiers' mettle
June 26, 2009
- Dragon's Peak competition takes place at Fort Leonard Wood
- Dragon's Peak winners announced.
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - More than 60 competitors challenged themselves with a series of physical and mental tests last week during Dragon's Peak to see who would be the 2009 CBRN Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
"This competition is to identify the best Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Soldier throughout the entire CBRN Corps," said Sgt. Maj. James Hill, 48th Chemical Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas, who organized Dragon's Peak.
Command Sgt. Maj. Ted Lopez, U.S. Army CBRN School, said the competition was a good measure of
"It's a time when all Soldiers can come together and compete," he said. "When you compete amongst your own peers, it's different. (The competitors) get to look at themselves - where they are as a warrior. For the leaders, it's a level of measurement and a good picture of where you're at."
Dragon's Peak started, June 18, with the Army Physical Fitness Test, followed by M16 rifle qualification, then day and night land navigation.
After four hours sleep, competitors stepped out on a 12-mile rucksack road march over some of the hilliest terrain on Fort Leonard Wood. The fastest Soldier finished in three hours and one minute, after battling rolling hills, 90-degree weather and high
"Any way you looked at it, you were going up a hill," Lopez said. "One Soldier asked, 'Where did all these hills come from'' I told him, 'We found them all just for you.'"
As soon as competitors finished their road march, they started hands-on Warrior Task testing.
"They had to do the wartime individual tasks that every CBRN Soldier should do," Hill said.
Competitors rotated between stations, testing their knowledge of first aid, operating and maintaining chemical equipment, detecting chemical agents, collecting chemical and biological samples, protecting themselves from CBRN contamination, and decontamination procedures.
The following morning, competitors completed the Physical Endurance Course for time and took a CBRN written exam.
After tallying points, select Soldiers and NCOs stood before a board to determine who would be the competition's winners.
The top three Soldier
competitors are: Spc. John De La Rosa, 62nd Chemical Company, Fort Lewis, Wash.; Spc. Andriy Znak, 12th Chemical Company, Germany; and Pfc. Mario Sanes, 181stAca,!E+Chemical Company, Fort Hood, Texas.
The top three NCO competitors are: Staff Sgt. John Swan and Sgt. Tyler Kahla, 172nd Chemical Company, Fort Riley, Kan.; and Sgt. Robert Hocog, 75th Ranger
The top three Soldiers in each category will attend the Green Dragon Ball, Friday, where the winners will be announced. The winners will receive the Command Sgt. Maj. George Murray Leadership Award, and all six Soldiers will receive prizes.
Staff Sgt. Brett Strand, Company B, 110th Chemical Battalion, Fort Lewis, Wash., shared what the competition meant to him.
"I feel honored to see what the best has got and compete among them, peer to peer," Strand said. "You don't know if you're the best until you try."
Hocog, back after competing last year as a specialist, had advice for other CBRN Soldiers considering next year's competition.
"Give it a shot," Hocog said. "It will let you know where you are as a person -
it tests your character and