Across the Army, leader certification programs are an effort to enhance unit readiness by reinforcing communication and forging trust between the Soldiers and leaders. Normally these opportunities are reserved for officers and noncommissioned officers, but Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 83rd Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Battalion on Fort Stewart, Georgia, afforded the opportunity to their junior leaders on December 10.
The certification, coined as the Ghost Rider Challenge, was a miniature version of what all officers and noncommissioned officers assigned to the 83rd CBRN are required to experience.
“The challenge started with an Army Combat Fitness Test, then participants had to conduct map reading and plot the location of the stations,” said Cpt. Danielle Deshaies, commander of HHC. “From there, each team went to various stations, rucking to get to each one. The stations for this challenge were flipping a large tire 10 times, changing the tire on a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, treating a casualty and moving them to the linkup point, and weapons familiarization.”
Opportunities like the Ghost Rider Challenge help Soldiers stay sharp with their warrior tasks and drills.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve been able to do things like this,” said Cpl. Maria Trejo, an operations noncommissioned officer assigned to HHC. “It was nice to have a refresher of various military exercises as we moved from lane to lane.”
The Soldiers honed their abilities to work as a team along the way by reacting to enemy contact under stressful circumstances.
“My favorite part was the random attacks and challenges that hindered the ruck,” said Cpl. Kevin Thomas, a human resources specialist assigned to HHC. “It gave us a chance to see how we could operate as a team and how we grew each time.”
The Ghost Rider challenge was roughly six hours and eight miles of rucking. The larger leader’s certification for 83rd CBRN is usually double that.
“We wanted to provide the opportunity for junior Soldiers to put their skills to the test and work together as a team,” said Deshaies “Usually at the end of a leader’s certification, participants feel accomplished and bond as a unit and we wanted the same experience for our Soldiers with their peers.”
The 83rd CBRN’s leader certifications are operated at the battalion level, but HHC conducted the ghost rider challenge on their own.
“I’ve never participated in an event like this,” said Spc. Savante Herbet, a signal support systems specialist assigned to HHC. “Challenges like this may seem like a waste of time on paper, but once you get into it and let yourself become vulnerable to the exercise, you will learn a lot; you may even enjoy yourself.”