Competition tests troopers' skills
December 21, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas- Competitions in the Army are distinct because Soldiers often perform tasks and navigate courses that don't resemble traditional games.
Soldiers from A Company, 15th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, had an opportunity to experience such a competition during the battalion's Truck Rodeo, here, Dec. 16.
There were 17 teams of two competing in the rodeo, which included nine events, a BBQ lunch, and an awards presentation, said Sgt. 1st Class Carl Woodley, a Modesto, Calif. native.
The events covered skills that every Soldier within the company should be familiar with or conducts as part of their daily work, said Woodley. Some of the events included; coupling and uncoupling a vehicle and trailer, forklift operations, communications, tire changing and vehicle maneuverability.
Points were given for each event with a possible total of 50 per event, he said. Five point deductions could also be taken for errors.
Prizes were awarded to the three teams with the highest point total, he said.
Most importantly, the Soldiers took away valuable experience, said Staff Sgt. Johnny Bryan, an Atlanta, Ga. native.
"The Soldiers are learning, and learning builds more confidence," he said.
That confidence was compounded as team members drew off of each other's experience.
"What we did try to do is incorporate Soldiers from different platoons together," said Woodley.
Working with Soldiers they normally wouldn't work with added to the overall morale of the company and unit cohesion, said Woodley. This cohesion ensures that each Soldier is ready for any task, whether it is stateside or overseas.
"Soldiers ... whenever they're faced with a different challenge, they won't initially want to back down from it," said Woodley. "They will want to step up to it and say, 'Yeah, I have done that before'."
Pvt. Kenneth Cyrus, a Virginia Beach, Va. native and water treatment specialist for A Co., 15th BSB, said this was his first truck rodeo and hopes the battalion conducts one for his company every quarter.
"It's a blast ... it was the best day I have had in a long time," said Cyrus.
He said he learned new ideas and techniques that he could use in future deployments.
Seeing their Soldiers take away new experiences from the competition was a benefit to their leaders as well.
"As leaders, seeing these Soldiers [learn], we have more confidence in our Soldiers," said Bryan.
He said seeing how the Soldiers perform in each event could give leaders an indication of their Soldiers' strong and weak points.
In the end, the fun-filled day of morale building competition gave Soldiers the opportunity to learn and build upon their knowledge and skills.
The winners of the rodeo are the following: First place - Spc. Fernando Parra and Spc. Clayton Vroon; Second place - Spc. Justin Richardson and Spc. Mario Sobers; Third place - Spc. Preston Purnell and Pvt. Kenneth Cyrus.