FORT HOOD, TEXAS -- Southwestern University Georgetown, Texas has 12 sports teams that compete at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III level. Being a member of the 'Pirates' football team takes more than physical strength and conditioning, it takes team work. The SU football team navigated the Leadership Reaction Course with the 120th Infantry Brigade Observer Coach Trainers here Aug. 25, 2017. Approximately 50 players, sophomore through senior, scaled various obstacles.
"The reason we brought the crew here was for team building, leadership development, identifying leaders, and seeing how they work together as a group," said Joe Austin, the SU football team head coach. "All of the same reasons that Soldiers use the LRC, it's the perfect time to utilize these benefits."
The Pirates spent three hours on the LRC maneuvering through the course areas.
"We hosted the team at the LRC to increase the brigades' relationship with neighboring communities, by making Fort Hood training facilities available to non-government personnel," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Yamil Rivas, a tactical unmanned aerial system operations technician, LRC officer in charge, with the 2-291st Aviation Battalion, First Army Division West. "The course challenged them physically and mentally in an environment they are not familiar with while promoting camaraderie and team building."
OC/T's were able to coach the players while they used their critical thinking skills.
"The course was fun in itself but connecting with my teammates and building that brotherhood was the reason I came," said Sir Spencer Majors, a junior defensive end. "It was great experience, a lot of critical thinking, bonding and team building."
First Army has been working with the surrounding community for many years.
"We have been paired with First Army Division West for six years to give these guys this experience," said Austin a Des Moines, Iowa native. "Division West has athletes that are afraid of heights climbing and hanging upside down, it's great."
On the LRC safety is the number one priority.
"The OC/T gave instructions, they wanted us to work on it as a team," said Majors a Waco, Texas native. "If there were safety issues they stepped in without giving us the answer.
The players worked under time constraints to meet their objectives.
"The lanes were challenging and I wanted to keep the pressure on them by giving them only 20 minutes for each lane," said Rivas a Killeen, Texas native. "These conditions are exactly what they experience on the football field."
Whether on the field or the range team work was key.
The lanes on this range are designed to force the groups to work as a team and complete the task together," said Rivas. "There wasn't a single lane that can be accomplished by an individual."
120th OC/T's coach and train mobilizing units but can also serve as mentors.
"I like to have our players around the Soldiers," said Austin. They have admirable careers and are great role models and mentors as well. They help improve communication, our ability to handle adversity, to be diligent, and tackle challenges."