War fighters return to Guantanamo
Army Staff Sgt. Rene Salazar directs the war fighter competitors during their training prior to the 13th annual Army war fighter competition, Aug. 18, 2009. Army Sgt. Steve Jones, Pvt. Terrance Robinson and Pvt. Levi Arrowood represented the 525th Military Police Battalion, assigned to Joint Task Force Guantanamo, in the competition. (JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Staff Sgt. Blair Heusdens)

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (Sept. 25, 2009) - Service members from Joint Task Force Guantanamo's 525th Military Police Battalion recently returned from the 13th annual Army war fighter competition where the three-person team placed 25th out of 42 teams from around the globe.

The competition, which was held at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., from Sept. 15 through Sept. 19, 2009, pitted the best of the best Military Policemen in the U.S. Army against each other in a battle of physical endurance and tactical proficiency.

Army Sgt. Steve Jones, Pvt. Terrance Robinson and Pvt. Levi Arrowood represented the 525th in the four-day event. Sgt. Samuel Nobles and Pvt. Jessie Pendleton were alternates for the event, in case someone was to get injured.

Prior to the event, the team of five trained for two months after competing in a battalion tryout.

"We had a two-day tryout," Jones said. "We competed in an obstacle course, and then an extended [physical fitness] test."

After being selected to the team, they started training on military police-related tasks and rigorous physical training.

"I was sleeping one night, and then I got woken up at midnight, I was told to ruck-up and get ready to go on a road march," Jones said sorrowfully. "I am not a big fan of being woken up in the middle of the night to do a 15-mile ruck march."

Jones, who extended his stay for a few months at the JTF to participate in the event, was honored to be part of this event.

Throughout the competition, Soldiers participated in a physical fitness assessment, and completed various obstacle courses and challenges, as well as weapons qualifications, military skills competitions and even water survival tasks.

"Events like these continue to push military policeman to higher standards," Jones said. "It is a great way to challenge yourself and fellow [service members]."

A Humvee push, ammo can loading, and 200-plus-pound dummies to carry around were among the physically demanding events, which tested the abilities of the military policemen over four days. A written exam tested the MP's practical knowledge following the physical events. The competition is based on a point system.

It wasn't all glorious for Jones and his team.

"We had some challenges along the way," Jones confessed. "There was one event when I almost wanted to quit. It was the 16-mile road march with a 65-pound rucksack."

The physically-demanding event was on the last day of the competition, meaning it was after several other physically exhausting events. The team went on to finish third in the road march. It was the team's best finish in an event.

Robinson found the 50-foot warrior tower in the physical endurance course to be the most challenging, due to a fear of heights. With cheers of support from his team, he was able to face his fear and complete the event.

"I didn't want to let my team down, and I wanted to make the 525th proud," Robinson said humbly.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Raines, the senior enlisted leader of the JTF's Joint Detention Group, accompanied the Soldiers to the competition.

"All of the teams there were winners," said Raines. "[The team] represented the 525th extremely well as an organization."

The 525th service members placed 25th overall in the competition, but took away more than just the satisfaction of representing their unit.

"It is something very challenging and very rewarding," Robinson added. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime event."

"In the end, it was worth it," Jones continued. "It was a lot of fun. I would do it again."

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