Command Sergeant Major's Challenge tests Soldiers
May 13, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - A challenge for a Soldier tests not only his or her physical stamina, but also his or her basic combat knowledge. These are the skills a Soldier must possess to be a warrior on the battlefield.
The Soldiers who participated in this year's Command Sergeant Major's Challenge overcame a grueling set of obstacles to prove they could be just that - a warrior.
"The Sergeant Major Challenge is the sergeant major's opportunity to lay out our annual warrior common tasks and put them in an endurance type environment to test and evaluate our personnel to see how well they can perform," said Lt. Col. John T. Corley, the Support Battalion commander for 1st Special Warfare Training Group, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.
Soldiers from their respective companies stepped forward to represent and compete in the support battalion's annual Command Sergeant Major's Challenge April 28 and 29, at Fort Bragg.
Throughout the competition, six teams battled against each other in the 10-mile multi-exercise special operations environment.
"The Sergeant Major Challenge gives the Soldiers the opportunity to do something different and challenging," said Corley. "This training is relevant, especially for the support battalion, because it puts the troops out in conditions and situations they don't normally operate in."
The challenge started in the early morning with a maritime infiltration exercise where the teams loaded into boats. After traveling to the middle of Mott Lake, the teams performed a backward roll scuba entry into the water and swam to the opposite shore.
From the beginning, Command Sgt. Maj. Tommy L. Harveston Jr. was not only there to observe the competitors, but also to offer the Soldiers words of encouragement.
"Last week we held the change of responsibility for Command Sgt. Maj. Harveston, so seeing him at the Sergeant Major Challenge was really impressive," said Sgt. Edward G. Segovia, a rigger with Company C. "He wasn't just there to run the challenge; he was there to be involved and be with his Soldiers. He even rucked with my team."
Prior to the challenge, the teams were formed by each company selecting their overall top Soldiers, Corley explained.
"My unit knows that I like to ruck and when they put me in something where we're competing, I will try my best at it," said Segovia, a native of San Clemente, Calif. "Today, there was more rucking and definitely more pain going on for this challenge."
Besides the swim, the obstacles also included tasks like land navigation, weapons knowledge, transporting a casualty and relaying a truck tire among other events.
As the sun set on the first day of competition, victory was still within each team's grasp.
The challenge came down to the final event - airborne operations. The teams gathered at St. Mere Eglise Drop Zone, where they donned their parachutes presenting to enter a Casa airplane. Once over the drop zone, the teams exited the aircraft and maneuvered themselves to land within their target circle.
After the final event, the score cards were tallied up as each team anxiously awaited the results.
During the award ceremony, the winners were announced and battalion commander Corley's team was victorious. All the Soldiers were praised for their outstanding job and great effort, Harveston said.
"I saw a lot of camaraderie out there; everybody was pushing each other and was trying to get ahead of everyone else," Segovia said. "It was amazing to see all the teams try to pull together. It wasn't all about getting smoked, but it was all about having fun!"