FORT HOOD, Texas - While the Fort Hood and III Corps combatives tournament dominated many units' schedules during the week of June 28 to July 1, many of those units, including the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and its team did their share of domination throughout the competition.

The Wrangler Brigade's combatives program is led by Command Sgt. Maj. Erik R.R. Frey and his head instructor, Staff Sgt. Benjamin Zucker. They featured 30 Soldiers for the six weight divisions and 14 to make up the team for the unit championship portion.

"We're supporting the Chief of Staff of the Army's initiative in hand-to-hand combat for Soldiers. Beyond that, we're building the warrior spirit and ethos," said Frey.

Frey said he and Zucker began their preparation for the tournament 45 days prior to its start, and every participant was a volunteer. The unit held battalion and brigade level competitions in order to find the best of the Wrangler Team.

"During those weeks leading up to now, every Wrangler was fighting for position in order to make our 14-man team," said Frey.

Going into the quarterfinals, the Wrangler Brigade had the lead in overall points and six of their team members had spotless records. By the end of the semis, they featured one competitor for the final round and had the overall lead in points out of the 19 competing units.

On the final night, with video cameras watching from overhead and a freshly crafted octagon-shaped fighting cage in the middle, Spc. Timothy Boyd of the 180th Transportation Battalion stood ready in the middle-weight division.

The crowds in the stands were dominated by Wrangler Family, including its commander, Col. Ron Kirklin, who had cheered his Soldiers on throughout the week.

The chanting of Boyd's name throughout the intense three-round bout was like thunder. Wrangler troops filled the gym and made their presence known with the help of a large banner showing off their unit name and pride.

"It was great to see the support of our unit there, and it showed everyone that we are not just support Soldiers - we're fighters too," said Zucker.

Although Boyd lost by a unanimous decision, his support never wavered and his unit, the 4th Sust. Bde. took second place overall.

"He did an amazing job. I'm so proud of him," said Pfc. Mike Rodriguez, a fellow 180th Trans. Bn. Soldier.

All winners and the overall top three for each weight division became members of the Fort Hood team which will make its way to Fort Benning, Georgia for the upcoming All-Army Combatives Championship.

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