Sgt. Agustín Montañez, 113th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
PABRADE, Lithuania ― It was a Thursday afternoon during his battalion training meeting in Camp Herkus, Lithuania, when U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Bennett J. McKinnon received the task of getting Soldiers ready to participate in the Multinational Military Self-Defense Competition.
"Sure thing," thought McKinnon, the platoon sergeant for 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.
However, there was a catch; the competition was next Thursday, and he had less than a week to assemble and prepare his band of fighters.
McKinnon admits he was initially worried because of the shortness of time.
"We didn't have time to prepare, and I didn't want us to go there and get embarrassed," McKinnon said. "The Lithuanian guys have been training for this event for more than a year, so I was concerned that we might go there, and it was going to be a complete shutdown."
But it wasn't a shutdown.
The results of the tournament are proof of this. Against all odds, the U.S. Army team came third in the overall competition, with Soldiers placing amongst different weight classes. Their top three competitors were Sgt. Justin Lane, Staff Sgt. Marcus Parks and Sgt. Michael Smelser, all with the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
The overall performance of the service members was evidence of their competence and proficiencies. According to the Army Doctrine Publication No.1, it's the organization's responsibility to have "ready, trained and equipped forces to meet the demands placed upon it. Our Nation expects the Army to be lethal, agile, and adaptive."
For this reason, readiness and adaptability are the Army's secret weapons.
"I was impressed how, with such short notice and almost no time to practice or train as a group, we still won some matches," McKinnon said. "even the ones we didn't win were not bad losses."
By maintaining adaptability and readiness, the Soldiers demonstrated that they are disciplined, skilled, and ready to deploy at a moment's notice.
Hence, the Army's readiness is what reassures its allies and deters its potential adversaries.
In the words of Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, commanding general of the United States Army Europe and Africa, "readiness will be our watchword, it will be our mission, it will be our life. For it is in readiness that we find strength, and therefore in readiness that we find peace."