FORT LEE, VA (July 29, 2010)- Self-assessments sometimes come at a cost.

In this case, noncommissioned officers and officers of the 49th Quartermaster Group ran, climbed, crawled and sweated their way to physical exhaustion during run-throughs of the Fort Pickett obstacle course July 22.

The event wasn't deemed a competition, said the senior NCO present, but one in which all the merits of team-building were stressed.

"The purpose of this event was to build esprit de corps and team cohesiveness," said Sgt. Maj. Wayne Wright, the unit's S-3 sergeant major. "It was also an opportunity to get out of the office and do something fun."

It may have been fun, but it was also challenging. More than 100 of the unit's leaders subjected themselves to the rigorous course, which boasted 10 obstacles, one of them three stories high.

The heat was a factor as well. Temperatures reached 90 degrees before 10 p.m.

When the first group of Soldiers tackled the course, it was obvious that it wouldn't be an easy one. Some were spent after the first few obstacles. Others tired near the end. Only a few navigated their way through without much difficulty.

Staff Sgt. Melissa D. Meinzer, 54th QM Company, 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 49th QM Group, said she wasn't able to get through a few of the obstacles but she nonetheless enjoyed the experience.

"I loved it," she said. "It was good for everyone to come out and take on a challenge like this."

Master Sgt. James Doster, who teamed up with Master Sgt.Terry Shaw to claim the best time as a tandem, said being among his fellow NCOs was more important than winning.

"It's about the fellowship and working as a team," he said.

Col. M.C. Stephen Cherry IV, the 49th QM Group commander, in a brief talk following the obstacle course exercise, encouraged his troops and challenged them to assess themselves and to take care of their fellow Soldiers.

"We all need to be vigilant," he said, noting the recent off-duty death of a 49th Soldier. "We have to watch out for those to the left and right of us."

Cherry then led his unit on a two-mile run along the shadowy tank trails adjacent to the course.

The remainder of the training, a ruck march, was cancelled due to high temperatures.