Diamond Brigade tests Soldiers in 'endurathon'
June 21, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla.(June 21, 2012) -- Officers and senior noncommissioned officers with the 75th Fires Brigade hosted the brigade's first Red Dragon "Endurathon," June 1, at Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area at Fort Sill.
Lt. Col. Thomas Roe, 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery commander, came up with the idea for the Endurathon for one last team-building event before his change of command ceremony.
The commander gave the task to 1st Lt. Duke Lull, 1st Lt. William Wedley, 1st Lt. Mike Roberts and 1st Lt. Michael Green, from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, to put the event together. It included a six-mile run in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge then a swim across Lake Elmer Thomas towing a dummy.
The event started at 9:30 a.m. at staggered intervals, the teams ran six miles from the Meers Gate entrance to the wildlife refuge to a water point east of Mount Scott.
Afterward, they split into three-member groups and took turns swimming across Lake Elmer Thomas to the beach with a dummy weighing between 80-100 pounds.
"The dummy was much heavier in the water and it was a great task to keep it from sinking," said Lull.
Six lieutenants competing under the name Hit Squad for 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery, won the event. They breezed through the competition in 2 hours, 7 minutes. Team members were 1st Lt. Scott Ardis, 1st Lt. Adam Cable, 1st Lt. Patrick Maloney, 1st Lt. Burton McCarthy, 1st Lt. Lucas Sawtelle and 1st Lt. Nick Vince, the team captain.
Vince said he only learned of the event about 20 days ahead of time. To prepare his troops for competition he set up a three-workout-a-day regimen that consisted of strength and endurance training, Crossfit, log and tire physical training, swimming and runs on the refuge.
"All of the members of 2-18th Field Artillery Hit Squad put in a tremendous amount of work in preparation for the competition, and it showed as we seamlessly transitioned from event to event," he said.
It was a trial run for what Roe hopes to become an annual event. It was limited to the officers and senior enlisted personnel assigned to the brigade.
There were 66 participants split into two heats with six-member teams.
"The toughest event for me was the six-mile run through the wildlife refuge," said Wedley. "My team was there to win, because no one remembers the runners-up."
However, Wedley will have to hope for a second running of the event for people to recall his team's exploits.
Though briefed that the swim was 300 meters, Vince said it seemed a lot longer once the team started.
"We swam across one part of LETRA to shore then back across to the other side," he said.
Following the seven-mile trail run, he said the water refreshed his team ... at first. However, constant leg kicks to propel their dummy through the water led to fatigue.
Having conquered the first Endurathon, Vince said if deployments and PCS moves don't deplete his ranks the Hit Squad will strike again and defend their title in 2013.