By Sgt. Ricardo Branch, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public AffairsDecember 3, 2009
HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (Nov. 10, 2009) - Diving in the coastal waters around Hawaii may not seem like a difficult task, but for one group of Army divers, the challenges of life in the water requires strong physical and mental conditioning, as well as knowledge of military diving equipment.
The Soldiers of the 7th Engineer Dive Team (EDT) recently had an opportunity to challenge their bodies and diver capabilities during the Commander's Cup Challenge Nov. 10 at Hickam Air Force Base.
"Today we did a series of events to test our ability and physical endurance for a competition among all the squads that make up the dive team," said Spc. Steven Martinez, a medic with the 7th EDT.
Martinez, 28, from Longview, Wash., was one of seven teams that that competed in a squad-level physical training test, ruck march, Zodiac (sea craft) carry and swim test, and humvee push competition. The multi-event competition was designed to eliminate squads to see who among them was the top squad.
"This challenge was tough but fun and really allowed us to see what we're made of," Martinez said. "I had to really dig in deep to see how far I could really push myself because this competition was not easy."
Although, Martinez team ended in second place with a time of 3 hours, 44 minutes, and 40 seconds, his team didn't waive and they rallied together through some of the more difficult portions of the competition.
"Carrying the Zodiac was really difficult," Martinez said. "I'm probably the biggest guy on our team so I had to hunch a bit lower and carry a lot of the weight on my back, but we had the weight spread out to get through it."
Capt. Thomas Darrow, commander, 7th EDT, and fellow competitor in the challenge said that despite the difficulty, he was amazed of the perseverance from the Soldiers and proud of everyone in the competition.
"This was an extremely tough and arduous competition," said Darrow, a 28-year-old, Cranston, R.I., native. "The main intent was to challenge the Soldiers and have them come together as a squad, and find out a little about themselves."
He added, "They all knew this was going to be tough, but they all completed it. No commander can ask any more of his troops - I'm proud of them all."
The first place team consisted of Capt. Thomas Darrow, Staff Sgt. Brian Haldman, 1st Sgt. William Baumgartner, 1st Lt. John-Paul Navarro, 1st Lt. Dusty Turner, 1st Lt. Mike Johnson, and Capt. John Koviac with a time of 3 hours, 44 minutes, and 28 seconds.