FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — The 58th Transportation Battalion’s heavy equipment operators finished in first place at the sixth-annual Joint Service Truck Rodeo Sept. 17 at Training Area 228.
This was the first win for the Army since 2018. The team of Staff Sgts. Gilbert Briceno, Steven Burns, Ernest Haefner, Gabriel Ortiz and Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Kroon battled against their Sailor, Marine and Airmen vehicle operator counterparts for the title, “King of the Road,” as they competed in four events, each hosted by a different branch. Burns, an operations noncommissioned officer with Company C, also earned the Outstanding Individual Award.
“It felt great winning the Joint Service Truck Rodeo,” Burns said. “I felt a great sense of pride in my (Military Occupational Specialty) and my skills, knowing that I had contributed to bring the trophy back to the 58th Transportation Battalion.”
Burns added that it took teamwork to win.
“We worked together extremely well,” he said. “We would talk about each task and event as we went through it and would see what each of us were doing wrong or right and give pointers to each other. If an event was someone’s strong point we would have them go first to set the tempo for the rest of the team.”
According to 58th Trans. Bn. Command Sgt. Maj. Darron Wilson, the annual event serves as an opportunity for the services to come together, build morale and forge relationships – what he calls, “the three -ships: relationships, friendships and partnerships.”
“By testing the skills of the instructors through friendly competition, we’re motivating them to be the best motor transport operators they can be while also establishing those critical relationships that are so important to sharing best practices and maintaining the best training platforms possible,” he said. “We’re ensuring we have competent leaders training our next generation of transporters.”
The events this year included a 90-degree alley dock backing hosted by the Army; a question mark alley dock backing hosted by the Marines; and a forward and reverse serpentine hosted by the Air Force. The group event had service members loading a Humvee on a truck, securing it and unloading it.
“It gives them a chance to show what they’re made of,” said 1st Lt. Daniel Quackenbush, Charlie Company executive officer and one of the event organizers. “A lot of our instructors don’t get the chance to show the students how good they are.”
Each member of the winning team received an Army Achievement Medal. All the other competitors received certificates of achievement from the 58th Trans. Bn. command team.