It was a perfect day for competition at the Combat Conditioning Course as Soldiers in F Battery, 1st Battalion, 40th Field Artillery went two by two through each obstacle. They're halfway through their basic combat training and on Friday they spent the day changing elevations from crawling on their bellies to climbing up ropes.

"At Treadwell Tower the biggest thing is to just get over a fear, obviously a fear of heights. That's a huge one because a lot of them will be very, very, very frightened. They see they can do it. They see it's safe. They see they can trust us and trust their battle buddies and they get through that. That's a huge confidence boost that's why we do it right off the bat. We are in week three or four, you get lost in the weeks here, but at this point we've done a couple weeks of physical training with them so they're starting to get in shape. Confidence is building, and this course is really just about motivation and esprit de corps. And, it's a great workout," said Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Chad Safranski.

Drill sergeants doled out the expected amount of shouting at Soldiers, but they did let them cut loose a little more during this training, for a reason.

"We do like to give them a chance out here to really kind of relax a little bit and make it all about motivation. Then when it comes time to get serious the next day when we give them live rounds to fire or something then we find they're more focused because they've gotten a lot of this out of their system. So we'll let them 'smoke and joke' a little, as we like to say," said Safranski.

Most of the laughter followed "Private Zero's" (Safranski's) demonstration of how 'not to' go through the obstacle course. Safranski was moaning, groaning and shouting ridiculous questions like 'Drill sergeant I have to go potty. Can I use my cell phone''

He said all of his statements were based off what actual basic training Soldiers have said in the past.

Ironically, after the Soldiers started going through the course a lot of the acting "Private Zero" displayed were unintentionally repeated.

Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Traceyann Graham explained the conditioning course as being all about endurance. Apparently the Soldiers heard the message loud and clear.

Just finishing the course Pfc. Matt Walden said, "I think it teaches you to conserve energy, how to be smart about the different approaches. Muscle endurance, not speed, but muscle endurance is the way to go."

After all the Soldiers went through, each platoon went into their game plan picking two males and two females as representatives to go into 'battle' against each other. The chosen from the Regulators, Reapers and Crusaders lined up at the beginning of the course with their game faces on. A drill sergeant gave them the go ahead, and they were off.

Each group was timed by the first sergeant and commander to see just who was the fastest.

"Crusaders are going to win for sure. We're more athletic, we're more disciplined, we're better future Soldiers, and we have the cleanest waxed floor," shouted an excited Walden.

Safranski disagreed. "My platoon, the Reapers, this time are very physically talented, and I think we have a great chance. We have got an awesome group of females in my platoon and being that this is the first we're having females we're all curious how it's going to work out. But, they are motivated and a lot of them are really fit."

The teams gave their all as their peers cheered them on from the sidelines. The teams wiggled, jumped and climbed their way to the finish line, which came down to one daunting obstacle.

"The issue you have on this one is some of the Soldiers have a little tougher time on the ropes. Climbing the ropes at the end that's going to be the determining factor of who wins. And then of course the team is only as fast as the slowest person because they move as a four-person team," said Safranski.

The Regulators were victorious in the end with a final time of 7 minutes, 8 seconds. They were embraced by their platoon and earned a banner for winning the challenge. Although only one platoon claimed the win, all the Soldiers left with grins on their faces.

"It was fun and it was tiring. I was more like a kid at the park or playground than anything," said Pvt. Tatiana Jackson.

Motivation and team spirit were the main themes of the course but executing it in pairs was meant to teach another lesson.

"They're trying to get us prepared for deployment. You never leave a battle buddy or you never leave a fallen comrade it's part of the warrior ethos," said Jackson. "If one of us is OK, all of us should be OK," added Pfc. Shaniece Henry.

Page last updated Fri March 26th, 2010 at 10:35