FORT HOOD, Texas-Officers of the 41st Fires Brigade competed in the third Rail Gunner Army Physical Fitness Test Challenge, Oct. 19, to promote good physical fitness and esprit de corps.

The participants were graded individually and the scores for each battalion were averaged to determine a team winner. The results and awards were announced Oct.22, prior to a much deserved three-day weekend for the brigade.

During the previous challenge in April, only 118 of 164 assigned officers were able to compete. Though the assigned strength has decreased to 158, the number of officers competing rose to 140 for this competition.

"We must be doing something right for the number of eligible competitors to raise that much," said Col. John Thomson, brigade commander of the 41st Fires Bde.

"The average score also rose from 262 in April to 270," said Thomson. "These numbers speak volumes about the pride our officers take in themselves and their units."

Col. Gary Volesky, the deputy commanding general of maneuvers for the 1st Cavalry Division, accompanied the Rail Gunners officers during the challenge.

More than 30 participants scored a perfect 300, so the extended scale was used to determine the overall winner. With a total score of 383, Lt. Col. Steven Carpenter, executive officer of the 41st Fires Bde., won the competition and earned bragging rights for this year.

"It's an honor," said Carpenter. "There are a lot of great athletes out in the brigade. I think everyone in our profession strives for excellence."

In the team competition, only 14 points separated the average score between the first and last place teams.

"The effort was phenomenal by everyone. Just to see the averages as a whole go up. Every time we do this challenge, it becomes more encouraging," said Carpenter.

Carpenter also stated that competitions like this are good because it gives all the participants a level playing ground to orient themselves to.

With a team average of 282.1 points on the extended scale, Lt. Col Brian Hammer, battalion commander for the 2nd Bat., 20th FA Regt., and his team took home the trophy for the third consecutive time.

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