FORT CARSON, Colo. (Oct. 28, 2014) -- Thirty-seven company, troop and battery commanders of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, completed the first three-day "Raider" Mungadai, Oct. 15-17, here.Based on Genghis Khan's legendary Mongolian cavalry selection process, Mungadai tests Soldiers' endurance and warrior skills as a team.The commanders endured sleep and food deprivation and faced uncertainty throughout the event. They also worked together as a platoon and leadership positions changed regularly."It's an opportunity for all of the company commanders throughout the brigade to work together and get to know each other," said Capt. Kevin Bernhardt, commander, Company A, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. "It's giving us the opportunity to go back to fundamentals and understand what our Soldiers are going through."On the first day, the platoon convoyed to Butts Army Airfield in Stryker vehicles, and received static load classes on the UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, from Soldiers of 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.After leaving the airfield, commanders dismounted from their Strykers and conducted a 10-mile ruck march with infantry platoon equipment.During movement to the first night's destination, the platoon received classes and executed practical exercises on Stryker vehicle recovery and ambulance exchange point.Commanders awoke in their patrol base after about an hour of sleep the next day, to a resupply of water and breakfast of cold white rice served in a black plastic bag, before moving out to an air assault class.The platoon then crammed into four UH-60 Black Hawks with their gear and air assaulted to the next event. The pilots introduced the commanders to the capabilities of the helicopters with advanced aerial maneuvers.Eventually the UH-60 Black Hawks landed in a remote Fort Carson training area. Laden with heavy gear, the platoon marched several miles up a steep incline to an objective rally point. Once the ORP was established, they conducted an area recon for a raid the next morning."The time and amount of events tied back-to-back is the hardest part," said Capt. Matthew Scott, Company A, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. "It tests your endurance mentally and physically."The third day kicked off with a successful raid on an "enemy cached site" with support from two AH-64 Apaches from 1st Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.The platoon consolidated after the raid and marched down the mountain to await pick-up from two CH-47 Chinooks.The commanders thought they were finished with the Mungadai after turning in their machine guns and ammunition, but were surprised with a trip to the Almagre Mountain peak, the second highest in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for a group photo. The flight served as a high altitude aerial training event for the CH-47 Chinook crews.The helicopters returned to Fort Carson and the commanders faced their final challenge of the Mungadai -- the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) obstacle course. Fighting through exhaustion, they assisted each other through the trials of the course.
Guidon bearers from each company escorted their commander back to the brigade headquarters where a crowd of Soldiers from the battalions welcomed their triumphant return."A critical aspect often talked about for leader development is developing comfort with uncertainty," said Col. David Hodne, commander, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. "Mungadai creates these conditions often encountered during Combat Training Center rotations. Pure leadership is the focus of the event. The ability to influence one's peers is a field grade officer trait that we want to develop in our commanders."