JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA - Months of hard work paid off for the 201st Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade Junior Enlisted Council when it hosted the annual Brigade Organization Day on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
Soldiers from the 201st EMIB and its subordinate units, their families, and leaders gathered Thursday, May 24, 2018, at Cowen Stadium to take part in the Brigade Organization Day which allows "Gryphon" Soldiers, their families, and leaders across the brigade to compete against each other in a relaxed environment while improving morale and strengthening unit cohesion.
While many units across the Army hold organizational days, what made this "Org Day" so special was that it put together entirely by the brigade's Junior Enlisted Council, from the planning stages to the execution. The JEC handled every aspect of the 201st EMIB's org day.
"They literally came up with the idea themselves, pitched it to the brigade commander - Col. Todd Berry - and then, almost entirely on their own, planned, resourced, and executed a phenomenal event," said Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Melendez, 201st EMIB Command Sergeant Major.
Soldiers from the brigade were appreciative of what the JEC accomplished and it showed on the field as Soldiers from the brigade's two battalions - the 109th and 502nd Military Intelligence Battalions - enthusiastically competed against one another in numerous events throughout the day, organized, coordinated, and overseen by the JEC, including flag football, soccer, ultimate frisbee, tug-of-war, and, finally, a relay race. These events promoted Berry's vision of spirited competition and bringing Soldiers closer together as a team, while also presenting leadership opportunities to the junior Soldiers who put together the day's event.
"It was definitely a challenge," said Spc. Shelby Weaver, JEC President. "Nothing's going to be perfect the first time it comes out; or the second or the third or the fourth time. [laughs] But to have a brigade that works so well with so many young Soldiers made it much easier to get this day to be successful."
Weaver stated that out of everything involved in the months-long process of planning for the brigade's org day, she found the resourcing to be the most difficult aspect of the whole process.
"Being able to find someone [like the USO] who would support such a huge event was such a challenge," Shelby said. "The USO Northwest [on JBLM] was so generous in supporting 500+ people and serving them today completely out of donations. Having an organization like that is the biggest support we could have asked for when planning for an event like this."
After lunch, the competition continued with a raucous tug-of-war between the two battalions and concluded with a marathon sprint that pitted the fastest runners in the 201st EMIB against one another in a 400-meter relay race. The 109th MI Battalion won the race, but the 502nd triumphed overall, taking the commander's cup for this year's brigade org day.
The 201st EMIB JEC meets at 10:30 a.m. the first and third Wednesdays of every month in classroom 3 of the brigade headquarters - Bldg. 3360 - on Evergreen Avenue, JBLM. It is an E4-and-below run meeting that enables Junior Soldiers to meet and discuss resolutions to issues that affect them at the company, battalion, and brigade levels.