By Sgt. Ryan HohmanDecember 3, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - While most soldiers across Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. were preparing for Thanksgiving, Legionnaires with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, were putting themselves to the test during the Iron Legion competition, Nov. 26.
The Iron Legion Competition was a grueling physical event that pitted each platoon in 2-1 Inf., 2-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division against each other as they raced against the clock to finish an array of obstacles.
"A lot of units around this time across the post do turkey bowls, which is cool, but we wanted to do something different that built more of a team, from the lowest private, to me, the battalion commander," said the 2-1 Inf. commander Lt. Col. Michael Trotter.
The competition began with each squad completing 150 burpees, followed by an M 792 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle push, and a 1.5-mile run.
Additionally, each platoon had to complete a rope climb, 400-meter SKED Medical Rescue System drag, 100-meter tire flip, stacking and un-stacking sandbags, and finally, a 1.5-mile litter carry of a 200-pound mannequin.
"Iron Legion was meant to build resiliency through fitness. It builds teamwork, it builds camaraderie, and it builds a sense of belonging to something special, because [each soldier] accomplished something hard," said Trotter.
The top platoon in the battalion was awarded the coveted Iron Legion guidon steamer and trophy, and soldiers came together as a team to win.
"The event made us all work together as a team," said Spc. Cody Wilkins, an intelligence analyst with 2-1 Inf. "Everybody was motivating each other and congratulating each other as a team."
Challenges like this help senior leaders forge and shape their units, and ultimately build a successful team that is globally aligned, and regionally ready to deploy, fight, and win.
"Competition allows leaders to gauge their platoons' and squads' physical ability. More importantly leaders are able to see what is at the heart of the formation," said Cpt. Marcus B. Smith, commander of company C, 2-1 Inf. "Competition tests raw leadership, physical and mental toughness, discipline, intensity and intestinal fortitude."
The focus of the Iron Legion competition was to build a winning team by bringing individual teams together as a collective to accomplish a goal.
"It is important [to have every rank participate] because from the lowest private to the battalion commander, we are a team of teams," said Trotter. "These types of events allow us to bring the teams together and recognize that the team is bigger than a squad, a platoon, a company and a battalion."
"You are a part of something bigger and better. You are a part of the winning team," added Trotter.
Building a strong sense of unity is key to Trotter's vision for shaping his battalion to be the best in 2-2 SBCT.
"We don't ask [our soldiers] to go out and fire their weapon with no training and progression," said Trotter. "We think the same thing holds true here. You have to build that strong foundation. [You have to] build that link and sense of belonging at the lowest level, and keep revisiting it."
At the end of the day, when the times were tallied, Company C stood apart the highest marks from across the battalion.
"I am pleased with the company's efforts and happy at the recognition for the hard work each Centurion contributed to the victory today," said Smith "Truly, the men made this win possible through the intensity with which they train every day."