FORT HOOD, Texas (Aug. 26, 2014) -- Leaders with the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment "Headhunters," 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, came together in competitive spirit for a leadership challenge here, Aug. 15.

The leadership challenge was the first two-man team competition composed of each Headhunter company's platoon leader and platoon sergeant, said Lt. Col. Jason Tussey, Headhunter commander and originator of the competition.

The day-long competition was comprised of several events, including a two-mile road march, weapons familiarization, advanced vehicle identification, call-for-fire and mission planning, said 1st Lt. Robert Koorn, Headhunter chemical officer and officer-in-charge of the challenge. Each team received points at each event based on correct answers or performance time.

Tussey said the challenge and specific events were designed for two reasons -- to build relationships and to engage in healthy competition.

"The platoon sergeant-platoon leader relationship is the most critical when building platoon success," said Tussey. "Mission success is based on a platoon's performance, and that performance is mirrored off the platoon sergeant-platoon leader relationship."

The challenge helped each teammate further identify each other's key characteristics and how they can help each other use them, added Tussey, who hails from Danville, Kentucky.

"Each leader is different. Each will have their own strengths and weaknesses," said Tussey. "The challenge will help them identify those traits, which allows both leaders to help each other's future development."

For platoon leader 2nd Lt. Christopher Colletta and platoon sergeant Sgt. 1st Class Greggory Hilliard, both with Company D, Headhunters, the challenge brought them both through a learning curve, and prepared them to be better leaders.

"We are working together for the first time," said Colletta, who hails from Delray Beach, Florida. "The challenge has shown us our strengths and weaknesses, areas we need to work on to better our Soldiers, and it has prepared us for future training."

Hilliard said by understanding each other's leadership styles, platoons will grow more cohesive, and communications will improve.

"The lieutenant and I will have a lot of discussions about what we have learned, then discuss our lessons learned with the platoon, keeping everyone informed," added Hilliard, who hails from Hartford, Alabama.

Tussey said with such a successful challenge, he will make this an annual event and rename it the Lt. Robert Poxon Leadership Challenge, after the former Headhunter and Medal of Honor recipient.