FORT HOOD, TEXAS - Four Soldiers of First Army's Division West await range control's command as they would a starter pistol. The Texas wind cut across the range adding an additional obstacle to the days' events.
Sgt. 1st Class Carl Pulver, Staff Sgt. Jason Johnson, Staff Sgt. John Ingoglia and Staff Sgt. Albert Mezguita, all observer coach/trainers with Division West's 120th Infantry Brigade, arrived at Blackwell Range here. By Friday, one warrior would earn the title of Division West OC/T of the quarter.
Events like these push Soldiers to be better, and if they are better, then they will strive to make the people around them better, said Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Dillingham, Senior Enlisted Advisor, Division West.
The first event in a three-day round of challenges was qualifying with the M4 carbine rifle and the Soldiers needed to dig deep to propel them through each event and on to the next.
Nearly every minute of the competitors' three days was scheduled with a task. From the rifle range, to a grueling nine-stage obstacle course, each Soldier pushed and pulled to forge a path to the end.
Day two saw the Soldiers tackling stations that tested their abilities in warrior tasks and drills. This was especially demanding since they had just completed a 12-mile road march on Fort Hood's range roads.
"These are tasks that Soldiers are expected to know how to perform," said Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Cotto, also with the 120th and a native of El Paso, who served as a grader and judge. "This a chance for these Soldiers to show a mastery of these skills."
On day three, in a pit filled with shredded rubber, the competitors used their Army training in hand-to-hand combat to fight for superior positions and score points from the graders. Bouts lasted three minutes and each competitor had to fight twice.
In the end, Pulver, a Springfield, Ohio native, took home the win along with an Army Achievement Medal and Division West challenge coin.
"I had to read up on manuals and regulations because there have been a lot of changes in the Army," Pulver said. "It was very challenging, physically and mentally. I had to do a lot of research to get ready for this but it was all worth it."