HOHENFELS, Germany -- Soldiers from across Germany battled the rugged hills of Hohenfels in the U.S. Forces Europe Combat Cross Country Championships, Sept. 27.
Teams of between five and seven Soldiers each tramped through the five-kilometer course in full battle gear with the top five finishing times of each team being combined, the lowest total score being the winner.
This is the seventh consecutive year the competition has been held at Hohenfels, and Chris Cornelison, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sports and fitness chief, knows why.
"It's the rugged terrain," he said. "We've got the best course in Europe. There are a couple hills that will really test them, really put it on them, and that's what we're looking for."
For some, though, even that wasn't enough.
The Joint Multinational Readiness Center Vampires Observer Controller Team added the extra challenge of carrying a 15-pound 'dummy' RPG launcher along.
"It's all about the challenge," said Command Sgt. Maj. Andre S. Machado, one of the five Vampires who traded turns carrying the RPG. "We're all older, but it's all about the heart. The heart doesn't go away."
The 72nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion Bulldogs team from U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt took third place and agreed the course was tough.
"We don't have hills over in Schweinfurt," said Spc. Felipe Abraham. "Last year, Schweinfurt was down here and they won, so we came here to defend the title. It was tough, but it was great."
Second place went to the War Pigs of Charlie Co., 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, while the top spot was claimed by the Alpha Wolves, also from Charlie Co.
The fastest overall time belonged to Alpha Wolves member Pfc. Kristopher Gorbea who finished yards ahead of the second place runner.
"I wanted to push myself so I could double-back and go help out our team," said Gorbea. "We're very competitive here, so we always work hard to push the last guy and try to take the win."