By Heather Clark, The Fort Campbell CourierJanuary 20, 2012
(FORT CAMPBELL, KY, January 20, 2012)--When an online reality challenge program began looking for active duty special ops Soldiers, two Fort Campbell representatives answered the call: Sgt. 1st Class Drew Penny of the 5th Special Forces Group and Staff Sgt. Cody Sieber of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The object was to compete in a variety of challenges, including marksmanship and rescue missions, to see who would emerge as 2011's Maximum Warrior.
The competition was broken into two sets of challenges. During the first 10 weeks, the Soldiers competed against one another for the chance to win a new Jeep in the Warrior Challenges. By the 10th week, the only two warriors standing were Penny and Luke P. of the U.S. Air Force 48th Rescue Squadron.
After the final challenge, which consisted of target engagement and driving through a wadi sand pit course, the Soldiers were scored on time and accuracy. When the gate to gate course was completed, Luke emerged with the best time to become Maximum Warrior for 2011.
"It's like quicksand," said Penny, while having difficulty in the weapons assembly portion of the challenge video. "Once you get in there and it starts going bad, it just continues to get worse."
Sieber placed fifth overall for the warrior challenges.
The second part of the competition, which covered weeks 11 through 15, paired the 10 Soldiers with 10 civilian challengers with no formal military experience. Once the civilians were given a crash course in training with weapons, they joined the Soldiers for five military-style exercises.
Penny's civilian partner was Paul C., a three-time competitor in the Ironman competition, and a board member for the New York Fire Police Widows Fund.
"I think it's a great event," said Paul in a preliminary interview for the program. "It's one of the few times where you can actually interact with the guys that are defending our country."
Sieber was paired with James R., a 28-year-old attorney who had the distinct honor of being named Mr. Louisiana by Cosmopolitan Magazine in 2007.
"The guys we have on the military side are true American heroes," said James. "Whoever can do their best to meet that high standard is probably going to be the winner."
As it turned out, James was the civilian who proved he could perform the best in order to meet those high standards. While only making second place in the final challenge, consisting of weapons assembly and sand pit driving, he and Sieber's overall score earned them the top spot for the civilian/warrior portion of the Maximum Warrior challenge. James donated a portion of his $5,000 prize to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Penny and his civilian counterpart finished third overall for the challenges.
"Very few of the guys I met had an idea of what we do and what caliber of Soldier we have," said Sieber in an October Courier interview. "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."
To watch the full 15 weeks of challenges, read up on warrior/civilian bios or find out information on how to participate in Maximum Warrior 2012, log on to www.maximumwarrior.com.