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Fort Campbell Soldiers begin Warrior Stakes Competitions despite cold weather

 

Written by Sgt. Jon Heinrich
1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs

BastogneFort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division

Fort Campbell, KY – Through below freezing temperatures and an even colder wind chill, the soldiers of 511 Sapper Engineer Company, 326th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, began their competition in the early morning hours with push-ups.

For them, the Warrior Stakes competition would be challenging in the cold weather, which started the day off doing a PT Test.

Soldiers with 511 Sapper Engineer Company, 326 Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, disassemble and reassemble a M249, M240 and M4 as part of their Warrior Stakes task January 23rd, 2014. (Photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich)

Soldiers with 511 Sapper Engineer Company, 326 Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, disassemble and reassemble a M249, M240 and M4 as part of their Warrior Stakes task January 23rd, 2014. (Photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich)

Warrior Stakes is a competition comprised of several Skill Level 1 tasks, according to Sgt. 1st Class Ronald S. Young, the platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon, 511 SEC.

“They’re being graded on different Skill Level 1 tasks, i.e.: disassembly and assembly of rifles, tying and untying knots, and basic [air assault] operations – Swiss rappel seats and proper hooking,” Young said.

“So far it’s pretty good,” said Sgt. Richard Smith, a team leader with 2nd Plt., 511 SEC. “It gives myself and some of the lower E4 and below guys a chance to actually get hands on and put their knowledge of their to test to see if they can actually remember the information they learned.”

The competition was also set to include helicopter operations, however changes were made due to weather.

“Helicopter training was supposed to be rappelling out of the helicopter,” said Young. “Certain aircraft regulations state when we can rappel and when we can’t rappel so we’re just going to be conducting aircraft orientation rides.”

Soldiers with 511 Sapper Engineer Company, 326 Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, stand ready as their Swiss seats are inspected during the battalion’s Warrior Stakes January 23rd here. Warrior Stakes is a competition comprised of several Skill Level 1 tasks that the unit conducts on a quarterly basis. (Photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich)

Soldiers with 511 Sapper Engineer Company, 326 Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, stand ready as their Swiss seats are inspected during the battalion’s Warrior Stakes January 23rd here. Warrior Stakes is a competition comprised of several Skill Level 1 tasks that the unit conducts on a quarterly basis. (Photo by Sgt. Jon Heinrich)

The rides consist of getting on, sitting down, completing a 10-15 minute flight, and landing, according to Young.

Despite this change in the competition, the weather still was not enough to dampen the morale of the soldiers.

“I just did the assembly/disassembly of the M249 and M4,” said Smith. “It’s a little challenging when it gets cold and your hands kind of get numb and you lose feeling and you’re fumbling around a little bit with the parts. But you just have to revert back to your training and slow down and take your time, realize what you’re doing.

“The hardest for me will probably be knot tying,” Smith added. “They’re brand new ropes, they’re still stiff, the cold weather’s not going to help and I’m not too good at tying knots but I’ll get through.”

“There’s always obstacles when you’re doing any type of training, so they got to keep their mind right and their hands are kind of cold so they just got to adapt and overcome,” Young said.

Young stated that soldiers were broken up into two categories: E3 and below; E4 and E5.

The top winner for each category will be awarded a Certificate of Achievement and the overall winner will be awarded an Army Achievement Medal.

“We do this type of training quarterly,” Young said. “It keeps our units trained, to a T. Our soldiers, they enjoy it. They’re out here having fun.

“Overall it’s good training,” Smith said. “It actually gets them [Soldiers] out and see what they’re supposed to be doing in any environment given to them whether it be hot, cold, wherever.”


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