A leadership certification program started several years ago is still running strong at 3rd Chemical Brigade.

Operation Phoenix Forge was held Friday at various training areas across Fort Leonard Wood, bringing together officer and noncommissioned officer leaders for a series of fun, demanding and rewarding tasks.

This semi-annual program was designed to reinforce selected skills while building camaraderie and esprit de corps within the organization.

"Leaders from all different battalions in the organization are put together to compete against each other in different events that are both mentally and physically challenging," said Sgt. 1st Class Ricardo Cruz, 3rd Chemical Brigade, S-3 operations noncommissioned officer. "We do this as somewhat of a culminating event. All leaders that are here competing are certified at a battalion level, so they get together at brigade level just to reinforce camaraderie as well as perform some of the tasks they're evaluated on at the battalion level."

The 95 leaders were split into 12 teams, ranging in rank from specialist to lieutenant colonel.

"They're building relationships and learning about people in other battalions, other organizations and networking," said Sgt. 1st Class Vanda Todd, 58th Transportation Battalion, 3rd Chemical Brigade, S-3 operations noncommissioned officer. "You have officers mixed with junior and senior enlisted, so you have a mesh of personalities and rank."

Teams spent their day completing the following activities before ending with a barbecue: a 12km road march, HMMWV push, team multiple-choice exam, tire flip, firing weapons at the engagement skills trainer, radio operation, team litter shuffle and the physical endurance course.

"They like the challenge. It is hard," Todd said. "They have to work as a team, and they realize that."

The next Operation Phoenix Forge is scheduled for this fall.