CAMP RED CLOUD -- On one spring morning when the late winter breeze still cooled the air, Soldiers wearing their full battle gear gathered on the soccer field for the Warrior Stakes competition.

Warrior Stakes, which took place March 21-23, was a three-day Division Special Troops Battalion event in which 76 Soldiers from varying companies competed. The Soldiers were divided into 19 teams of four, four teams from Headquarters and Headquarters Co., five from Co. A, eight from Headquarters and Headquarters Support Co. and two from the 2ID Band.

"In accordance to the commanding general's guidance, the DSTB command group held this competition to let the Soldiers in the battalion be proficient on the Warrior tasks and drills," said Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rawls, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the event.

The Warrior Stakes competition was formerly known as the Order of Tomahawk.

"The DSTB command group changed the name because they wanted this event to sound more related to the Warrior tasks and drills," Rawls explained.

The competition kicked off with the rucksack challenge, which tested the participants' endurance and teamwork. To earn the maximum points, which were 50 points per person, the Soldiers had to move with their teammates and finish the race as a team in the shortest time. The average time was 2 hours, 15 minutes.

"I don't know how others think, but, for me, the rucksack march was the hardest part," said Pfc. Lee, Jung Hoon, Co. A, DSTB.

For the second and third day, the Soldiers were tested on common tasks and drills. The test sections were divided into 10 posts to evaluate how well the Soldiers understood battlefield tasks, such as correcting weapon malfunctions, employing an M18A1 claymore mine, map reading, intelligence report, first aid and reacting to chemical or biological attack.

Many Soldiers seemed to initially struggle with correcting malfunctions on an M2 .50-caliber machine gun. Prior to the actual evaluation, instructors taught them how to clear, assemble and disassemble the weapon. After the orientation, the Soldiers learned to correct malfunctions.

"This post is pretty hard for the Soldiers since their MOS is not related to handling such weapons," said Sgt. 1st Class Isidro Villegas, G-1 platoon sergeant and the instructor at the M2 post.

However, some Soldiers took advantage of their military occupational specialty. Pfc. Brad Heine, an intelligence analyst from G-2 Operations, 2ID, did not have any trouble with map reading.

"Since my MOS is 96B, map reading is a part of my job," Heine said. "I did not have any difficulty, but it still was good practice. Such competition motivates me to learn more."

As the Soldiers attempted to receive the best score they could get on each post, Maj. Gen. James A. Coggin, 2ID commanding general, took time to visit the posts and to see how the Soldiers were doing. He praised them for their motivation and efforts.

"This is excellent individual training being conducted to the standard," Coggin said.
He said maintaining proficiency on battle drills is essential and is not easy.

As the competition ended, the points were added up to determine the winners. Sgt. Christopher Nicolas' team from the 2ID Band took first place.

Staff Sgt. Deanna Carson's team of HHSC and Sgt. Christopher Luna's team of Co. A placed second and third.

Awards were presented during the DSTB formation April 9.