FORT BENNING, Ga. - It was a race against time and against the odds as NCOs and officers of the Mailed Foot Battalion sprinted across Sand Hill Wednesday to complete a series of challenges.

Modeled after the reality TV show The Amazing Race, the event included written clues, puzzles, skill tests and teamwork exercises. Teams had less than 90 minutes to earn as many points as possible and return to battalion headquarters.

Lt. Col. Lance Oskey, commander of 2nd Battalion, 54th Infantry Regiment, said his goal was to reinforce team-building.

"I know my team got to know each other better," said Oskey, who ran with one of the six teams during the race. "We had about 60 (Soldiers), so that's about half the battalion cadre. We're talking about people you normally don't see every day because they're people outside of your company. By that metric alone, I think it was a success."

Staff Sgt. Pedro Macias, a drill sergeant with B Company who was part of the winning team, said camaraderie, even as part of a larger unit, is important.

"It gets you out of your comfort zone, see how you work with each other, get you mixed in with your peers on a battalion level," he said. "I've been here for a year, so I've seen all the faces around, but actually getting to do an event with them ... outside of just passing in the halls, I think that helped."

1Lt Christopher Frost said his team only finished eight of the 22 clues, but it succeeded in the goal of growing closer.

"Any kind of physical event that you do together as a team bring people together," he said.

Oskey conducts a battalion-level challenge once per quarter. The race, which was the unit's third challenge, required more "out-of-the-box" thinking than past events because it was impossible to complete all the tasks within the time limit, Oskey said.

Some locations had an added complication with "brains" versus "brawn" tests - Soldiers had to decide whether they wanted to complete the physical or mental challenge to proceed to the next event. At Wetherby Field, the choice was between completing 500 push-ups, 500 sit-ups and a 500-meter run and assembling a complex shapes puzzle called a trangram. Both had a five-minute time limit.

Sgt. 1st Class Josh Perkins, who is new to the battalion, said the event was similar to the show.

"It's very rapid," he said. "You just react to the next place you have to go to. You don't really have a whole lot of time to plan; you just go."

Clue Tracker

Here are the clues Soldiers received to determine the location they should head to. Those with a (c) next to them are challenges with extra points. Can you solve the puzzles' Answers are located at the bottom of the page.

1. Where every U.S. Infantryman begins his journey, amongst 50, this one stands the tallest.
2. There's no need to "recon" your next location, so hurry, don't "walk" there.
3. Trainees wishing to escape better not take this underground mode of transportation.
4. How fitting would it be to celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary of this battalion.
5. While all Infantrymen are courageous, the Soldiers of this battalion are true Patriots.
6. If you lack aplomb, you could climb to find some here, don't fall off the tough one.
7. Every Infantryman passes through these gates, if he can pass the requirements.
8. This MOUT training area is named after the 28th POTUS and is adjacent to an area of legislation. (c)
9. Develop teamwork on the hill. (c)
10. NOTWCHSEA - Unscramble. (c)
11.This battalion just recently was at Fort Knox.
12. Control traffic at this location, search a vehicle while you are at it.
13. What makes the green grass grow' (c)
14. A great Civil War general from Virginia. (c)
15. Location of the Rock of Chickamauga.
16. LKALNE - Unscramble.
17. Turn around here to score a 300 on your APFT.
18. YEOPMRO - Unscramble.
19. Get down in a couple of bounds or go Aussie style. (c)
20. Where Soldiers can praise.
21. Get your fill here on pickup day, not the new one, but the breezeway.
22. Fourth of July and other concerts place of rest for the IET Soldiers, under close supervision of course. (c)

Answers: 1. 30th AG, the United States Colors; 2. China Wok; 3. Subway; 4. 1-50; 5. 2-58; 6. Confidence Course; 7. Honor Hill; 8. Wilson Village (Old); 9. Team Development Course; 10. Cashe Town; 1. 2-46 IN; 12. AO Static; 13. Bayonet Assault Course; 14. Lee PT Field; 15. 1-19; 16. Kanell Field; 17. Wildcat Road turn around point; 18. Pomeroy Field; 19. Eagle Tower; 20. Soldier's Chapel; 21. Old 30th AG; 22. Wetherby Field

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