FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- (Oct. 28, 2010) Fifty-six four-man teams, representing various Army, Marine and Navy units from across the installation, competed in the fourth annual Inter-Service Fitness Challenge, Friday, at Gerlach Field. The challenge required each team to perform tag-teamed pull-ups, sit-ups and push-ups, concluding with a 4-mile team run.

"The first three events were timed for three minutes each. It was a cumulative total for each, as in, if the entire team does a total of 200 pushups, they score 200 points. For the run, all four ran, but the last Soldier who crossed the finish line was the one that scored points on the run," said 1st Sgt. James Clayton, noncommissioned officer-in-charge, explaining how the competition was scored and how it encouraged a joint, team effort.

Team 156, made up of Spc. Ronney Ross, Spc. Manuel Bethancourth, Pfc. Dustin Hanson and Pfc. Colman Woehrle, from the 94th Engineer Battalion, brought home the winning trophy, while team 148, from Company A, 795th Military Police Battalion, claimed second place. Third place was awarded to Team 150, from Headquarters Headquarters Company, 554th Engineer Battalion.

"Motivation was the key ... Army strong," Woehrle said. According Woehrle and his three teammates, the decision to participate in the competition wasn't made until just one day prior to the event.

"We had a battalion competition, and we were in the top four. So our battalion commander came up and said we needed to do this. He told us to come out and win," Bethancourth said.

And without specialized prep training, they did just that.

"What a great example of keeping yourself physically fit at all times," said Marine Sgt. Maj. Michael Gray, as he handed them the winning trophy. "Although there is only one winner, you are all winners," Gray added, looking at the crowd of Soldiers, Sailors and Marines.

According to Clayton, the competition was geared toward promoting camaraderie and teamwork at the unit level and a friendly inter-service rivalry.

"Fort Leonard Wood is a unique post. I don't know of many, if any, who incorporate all branches of services on a single installation for training. As much as each of us will rant and bluster about which one of us is better, the truth is that all of us are needed. ... Each with its own unique traditions, capabilities and skills," Clayton said. "The rivalry between us is what pushes us to do the best we can, and to be the best we can. Rivalry breeds camaraderie. ... It's also important that we incorporate our brother services to foster good relations and a spirit of working together to build a quality product to go out and fight our wars."

For Capt. Kelandis Evans, from Team 148, the competition, in the end, bred a heightened esprit de corps among the ranks and promoted the importance of teamwork.

"The 795th Alpha Company Avengers came out there with the mindset to win ... our weakness troop, we made the strongest. We pushed each other to the highest limit, but we made it fun. This challenge built teamwork by making us become one and have fun doing it."

The 56 teams overall served as a representation of the diverse talent and unified strength of today's military forces.

"At the end of the day, there is no better weapons system in the world than our warriors here who represent this country," Gray said.

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