Commando Forward Observers Compete
June 18, 2012
FORT DRUM - Soldiers form the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (Commandos), 10th Mountain Division (LI) competed in the brigade's Best Fire Support Team Competition June 11-15 on Fort Drum.
The rules of the competition were simple. Finish each station as a team as quickly and accurately as possible. The tasks these fire support Soldiers had to complete however, were not so simple.
The purpose of the competition was to determine the Commando's best FiST team and to pin point any weaknesses found in the brigade's fire support sections.
Soldiers from 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment; 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment; 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment and 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment competed in the event. Teams were composed of Soldiers from each company's fire support team, or FiST, and the combat observation lasing team from 2-15 FA, or COLT. In total, 11 teams took the challenge.
Teams began early in the morning, road marching approximately 10 miles and stopping at 10 different stations designed to test their physical and mental capabilities. The stations ranged from carrying a simulated casualty on a litter to performing a fire mission. The day concluded when the team returned to the brigade headquarters and completed a written exam.
Although all of the teams gave it a 100 percent effort, only one team could claim to be the best FiST for this year and receive the prize; a trophy in honor of Spc. Dwayne J. McFarlane Jr., a fire support Soldier from 2-15 FA who was killed in 2005 while on a dismounted patrol in Baghdad, Iraq.
Bravo Company (Blackhawks), 4-31 IN will proudly display the trophy where they choose until the next competition.
Col. Dennis Sullivan, commander of 2nd BCT, and Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Jones, command sergeant major of 2nd BCT, were at the ceremony to present the trophy and tie the streamer on the Blackhawk guidon.
As Sullivan spoke to the Commando FiSTers, he reminded them of the importance on being technical experts in their field.
"It doesn't matter if you are a private first class or a lieutenant, your job is to provide that much needed fire support to the fight," said Sullivan.
"Sucess on the battle field does not happen because of one person or one leader," he said."It happens because of a combined team effort, you provide a valid role on that team and you must be successful."
The Soldiers ended the competition by celebrating together with a barbeque style lunch.