By Mr. Brian Hill (Leonard Wood)October 23, 2019
The 3rd Chemical Brigade held its bi-annual Phoenix Forge event at Fort Leonard Wood Oct. 18.
The six-hour competition began at 6:15 a.m. at Shea Gym, with 68 Soldiers divided randomly into seven teams to master six events spread out across the post.
"We put this together to provide an opportunity for leadership training while also giving Soldiers across our brigade an opportunity to get to know one another," said Capt. Edgar Upchurch, 3rd Chemical Brigade assistant operations officer.
Competitors hauled a 35-pound rucksack to each event, completing about 15 miles of ruck marching by the end of the competition.
Events included a 400-yard crawl and simulated casualty drag under barbed wire at the Night Infiltration Course, an M4 rifle marksmanship test at the Engagement Skills Trainer, a 12-obstacle physical endurance course, a 100-yard Humvee pull and elements of the new Army Combat Fitness Test.
After completing the six events, each competitor's rucksack was then inventoried, with points deducted for any missing items. Each Soldier then took a 25-question exam on general Army knowledge.
When the scores were tallied, this year's winners were Team One: 1st Lt. Nathan Blaine, Pfc. Patrick Burmaster, Command Sgt. Maj. Greggory Daily, Spc. John Dimaculangan, Staff Sgt. Benno Joneleit, 1st Lt. Christian Ollen, Staff Sgt. Edward O'Rock, 1st Lt. Jacqueleen Taylor, Staff Sgt. Mark Trejo, and 2nd Lt. Eric Wickersham.
Blaine, Company E, 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment exectutive officer, said the key to winning the competition was teamwork.
"Phoenix Forge was a great test of our physical, mental and leadership abilities," Blaine said. "But most of all, it tested our ability to come together as a team and support each other through each challenge. At the end of the event, it was evident that our work as a team is what led to our ultimate success."
"This is a great opportunity to certify our leaders on fundamental tasks while forging new relationships through the spirit of competition," said 3rd Chemical Brigade Command Sergeant Major Jorge Arzabala. "The commander and I are proud of their effort -- winning matters."