By Mr. Matt Decker (Leonard Wood)November 10, 2016
A year's worth of effort and participation by dozens of athletes competing in 18 separate sports paid off for the 554th Engineer Battalion, which claimed Fort Leonard Wood's highest sports honor -- the Commander's Cup.
Maj. Gen. Kent Savre, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, presented the award for the 2016 fiscal year to the 554th Engr. Bn., accompanied by Command Sgt. Maj. Roy Ward, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood command sergeant major, Friday at Pershing Community Center.
"I'm a big believer in the 'Team of Teams' concept, and really, that's what the Commander's Cup does for us," Savre told those in attendance. "Think about all the teams that you had to put together, train and compete -- and not only compete, but also do well -- to earn this trophy. No one team could win every event; you had to do well cumulatively."
Lt. Col. Kevin Golinghorst, 554th Engr. Bn. commander, received the trophy alongside Command Sgt. Maj. William Lewis, 554th Engr. Bn. command sergeant major; the battalion's sports representative, Sgt. 1st Class Clifford Ross, and several of the unit's Soldiers who had participated on various teams.
"It's a great day to finally get the cup," Golinghorst said. "We're really proud of each of our teams who helped bring home the trophy. It really just helped the camaraderie and esprit de corps of our unit, coming together across all the companies to field each team."
The 554th Engr. Bn. was the only unit to complete all 18 events that made up the FY16 Commander's Cup schedule. They were also highly successful, with six first-place championships, including wins in swimming, volleyball, soccer, paintball, speed golf and both the annual 10k run and 5k cross-country run. They ended the series in first place with with 1,540 points.
Ross, who, as the sports representative, was responsible for assembling teams for each event, praised the battalion's leadership for supporting participation in the Commander's Cup program.
"The biggest thing was teamwork," Ross said. "It took the companies -- the company commanders and the first sergeants supporting the program -- and particularly the battalion commander, who was a real big supporter. That made it a lot easier for me to get people to participate. Participation is one of the biggest things -- without participation, you can't win and you can't succeed. Another big thing was the battalion leadership taking pride in our teams and wanting to win."
In addition to earning the trophy, the Commander's Cup program also yielded other benefits for the battalion, according to Golinghorst.
"I think we want our Soldiers to be physically fit, and most of the competitions provide an extra opportunity for that. But really, it's the example of our leaders working together, engaging in teamwork and encouraging that among our Soldiers. It's just another way we can show our unit coming together," Golinghorst said.
"I'm definitely proud of our team and our battalion, but I also definitely want to encourage other leaders out there to look at the benefits not just of achieving victory on the field, but the teamwork and camaraderie it brings within the unit," he added.