By Heather Clark, The Fort Campbell CourierNovember 4, 2011
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., Nov. 3, 2011 -- In each branch of the military, Soldiers in special ops are set apart from the rest. As such, many of these Soldiers enjoy the opportunity to accept a good challenge and show they have what it takes to go above and beyond. When these challenges offer the opportunity to win a brand new Jeep, that's just icing on the cake.
This was the idea behind military training company T1G's vision of a challenge competition which would combine activities such as marksmanship and off-road vehicle navigation. The end result was a 15-week online challenge series called Maximum Warrior.
For the current season, viewable at www.maximumwarrior.com, Fort Campbell has representatives from both the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, or SOAR, and the 5th Special Forces Group, or SFG, show their skills in the competition.
Aside from the obvious perk of winning a new vehicle, the participants had another similar motivator for participating.
"All of the military competitors are active duty," said Sgt. 1st Class Drew Penny of the 5th SFG. "The best part of the whole thing is all of the guys I got to meet and compete alongside and share war stories with."
"Knowing the caliber of guys that are associated with special operations community really piqued my interest," said Staff Sgt. Cody Sieber of 160th SOAR. "I wanted to pit my own training and personal skills against the other guys."
Penny and Sieber got the opportunity to do just that, showing their abilities in weekly challenges such as Soldier rescue, wadi patrol and improvised explosive device, or IED, ambush. Penny emerged as the winner in both the first and second week's challenges, while Sieber nabbed a victory in the latest challenge, off-road maneuvering.
Both men agree that, of all the challenges, the most daunting was the obstacle course.
"The obstacle course in the competition sucked," laughs Penny. "I'm only about 5'7", so I'm at a huge disadvantage for height. Where some guys could easily grab hold of things and pull themselves along, I was jumping or trying to play catch up due to genetics."
"I was the third slowest guy, but I was still proud because I was one of only three guys who completed every obstacle," said Sieber. "I refused to bypass an obstacle, even though that was an option."
Through the pushing and the competing, each of the Soldiers' units have watched the progression online each week. The reception has been typical of such tight-knit military groups.
"It doesn't matter how good you do, there's always going to be a little jabbing," says Penny. "I won the first two competitions, but then I didn't do as well on the next two, so I got jabbed."
"They have a good time busting me up about it," said Sieber. "They'll say things like 'Oh, Mr. Hollywood,' or 'So much for being a quiet professional.' On the other hand, they are also proud of me for giving a good face to the regiment."
Overall, Penny and Sieber have enjoyed the opportunity to compete with special ops Soldiers from all branches of defense.
"Very few of the guys I met had an idea of what we do and what caliber of Soldier we have," said Sieber. "They told me I impressed them, and I was happy about that. You never want to give your unit or the Army a bad name."
"I just wanted to make sure I didn't bring any disgrace on my unit or Fort Campbell," said Penny. "It was a lot of fun, and there are still a lot of cool events coming up, so keep watching."
The challenge, including the first four weeks and the upcoming 11, can be viewed at www.maximumwarrior.com.