INJE, Republic of Korea -- Warriors covered in mud, sweat and determination conquered the escalating challenges of a grueling obstacle course designed to test their physical strength and inner resolve.
Sergeants Major from units throughout the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division participated in the 2018 Spartan Race Sprint as a team-building exercise Aug. 25.
The formation of this year's CSM/SGM Warrior Team stemmed from a recent leadership development session with Command Sgt. Maj. Phil K. Barretto, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, where he emphasized the importance of staff cohesion.
"I'm really glad that the division sergeant major took the time and energy to get all the sergeants major together to meet each other since our assignments are spread out across the peninsula," said Sgt. Maj. Norman W. Tatro III, Las Vegas native and C-5 plans sergeant major. "It builds better relationships across the division and provides a positive example for junior enlisted Soldiers."
The five-kilometer course boasts more than 20 obstacles between competitors and the finish line. The athletes pushed deep into their discomfort zone as they raced through unpredictable terrain. The team traversed a river, rocks, climbing walls, ropes, underwater barriers, pulled cement blocks on chains, carried weights, and mastered widely-spaced monkey bars.
"The Spartan Race not only promoted teamwork, but also promoted resiliency," said Sgt. Maj. Anthony C. Gregerson, a San Diego, California native, and division fires operations sergeant major.
Gregerson is new to the division and remained motivated by his teammates throughout the race. He found the weighted rope pull as the most challenging event.
"Lifting weights with only a rope was physically exhausting, but being resilient and having teammates counting on me allowed me to power through and succeed," said Gregerson.
Competitors not only received inspiration from teammates, but words of encouragement from spectators along the course.
"The teamwork between civilian local nationals and military members not letting anyone fall behind during the race emits an inspirational human dynamic," said Sgt. Maj. Tyrone Murphy Jr., a Maysville, North Carolina native, and 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade operations sergeant major. "Being new to this division, it was a positive, eye-opening experience to put a face to the name and race side-by-side with my peers and the civilian population," said Murphy.
The Warriors gleamed with unbridled elation in their accomplishments as they took their final step across the finish line as a team, signaling the end of their Spartan journey and beginning a new-found camaraderie.