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Fort Campbell’s 101st Sustainment Brigade conducts 2nd annual Peacekeeper Challenge

Posted By Clarksville Online News Staff On Saturday, September 6, 2014 @ 12:00 pm In News | No Comments

Written by Sgt. Sinthia Rosario
101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs

101st Sustainment Brigade - LifelinersFort Campbell KY - 101st Airborne Division

Fort Campbell, KY – The Peacekeeper Challenge is a set of nine events that encourages friendly rivalry amongst the units in the battalion, while giving the opportunity to challenge the battalion as one team.

The competition pushed the Soldiers to their limits, tested their skills, and gave them the chance to distinguish themselves among their peers. The competition honored the battalion’s long tradition of excellence. At the conclusion of the Peacekeeper Challenge, the Soldiers of 551st Military Police Company emerged victorious, winning the coveted Peacekeeper Cup.

Command Sgt. Maj. David J. Tookmanian, a native of Hillsdale, N. J., and command sergeant major of the 716th Military Police Battalion “Peacekeepers,” 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), climbs a cargo rope at the Special Forces obstacle course during the Peacekeeper Challenge competition, Aug. 21, 2014, at Fort Campbell, Ky.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Sinthia Rosario)

Command Sgt. Maj. David J. Tookmanian, a native of Hillsdale, N. J., and command sergeant major of the 716th Military Police Battalion “Peacekeepers,” 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), climbs a cargo rope at the Special Forces obstacle course during the Peacekeeper Challenge competition, Aug. 21, 2014, at Fort Campbell, Ky. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Sinthia Rosario)

Physically fit, ready and resilient are just a few words that begin to describe the Soldiers from the 716th Military Police Battalion and this starts with their leadership. The battalion’s command team kicked off the competition as the first team to navigate through the Special Forces obstacle course.

“Everything we do in the Army, leaders go first, we lead the way … so having the command team start off the SF obstacle course first set the tone for the Peacekeeper Challenge,” said Capt. Stephen Donaldson, commander of the 551st Military Police Company “Hooligans,” 716th MP Bn.

As the Soldiers observed their leadership successfully negotiate the obstacle course, they began to whistle and shout with excitement. Once the leaders finished, the Soldiers followed their lead with a sense of, “if they can do it, so can I.”

“I thought it was excellent for our command team to go out there and execute,” said Spc. Kira S. Selby, an MP with the Hooligans. “Just watching them gave me motivation to go through and do all 33 obstacles. At first I didn’t think I could do it because there were so many. They were there with me throughout all the obstacles. They gave me a lot of motivation and support to do the whole thing; it was great!”

Donaldson, a native of McKinney, Texas, explained the importance of the leadership participating in the competition alongside their troops.

“The command teams are [spread out] at different events throughout this whole challenge; that’s what it’s about, setting the tone for your Soldiers. [We] build that esprit de corps and really foster the competition,” he said. “I think when the command teams gets behind it, it adds value.”

After the SF obstacle course, the next event was a land navigation course that tested fundamental Soldier skills. After that came the Murph Challenge, named after fallen Navy Seal and Medal of Honor recipient, Lt. Michael P. Murphy.

For most of the participants, the Murph Challenge was the most difficult event. The Murph Challenge incorporates many popular high-intensity interval training exercises, which started with a mile run, then transitioned to 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and finished with another mile run.

The extreme heat of the day made the challenge far tougher than expected. Though mentally and physically exhausted, the Peacekeepers continued to push themselves to their limits as they represented their team and unit.

“The hardest part for me was the Murph Challenge with the IBA (interceptor body armor) being so heavy … doing 100 pull-ups and 200 push-ups that was my most challenging part,” said Selby, a native of Seaford, Del. “I was so hot and tired, but I pushed myself, didn’t want to let my unit down.”

Spc. Kristie B. Koehn, a native of Redding, Calif., and a military police with the 716th Military Police Battalion “Peacekeepers,” 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), participates in the triathlon during the Peacekeeper Challenge competition, Aug. 27, 2014, at Fort Campbell, Ky. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Sinthia Rosario)

Spc. Kristie B. Koehn, a native of Redding, Calif., and a military police with the 716th Military Police Battalion “Peacekeepers,” 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), participates in the triathlon during the Peacekeeper Challenge competition, Aug. 27, 2014, at Fort Campbell, Ky. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Sinthia Rosario)

Immediately following the Murph Challenge, the units came together for a battalion picnic. They took the time to socialize and rest up for the next set of challenges – a 10k run, a Humvee push and a triathlon. As a Soldier, it is important to be physically fit, trained and combat ready in order to ensure mission readiness. These events helped highlight the skills military units teach and train each day.

Donaldson said that physical fitness, like the 10k run, triathlon, Humvee push and obstacle-course, strengthen the resiliency of a Soldier both physically and mentally, enabling them to execute their mission when called.

On the final day of the competition, the Peacekeeper Challenge tested the Soldiers on their law enforcement and marksmanship skill.

During this final day the Soldiers conducted law enforcement lanes. One of the lanes was a felony traffic stop.

“This is something our Soldiers do every single day out on the roads, out on the gates; they do it all the time,” said Donaldson.

At the conclusion of the competition, the participants had demonstrated their mettle, emotional toughness and endurance in the challenging events. The commitment of the individuals, teams and units brought the battalion closer and enhanced esprit de corps amongst the MPs.

“We come from the most decorated MP battalion in the world. This is our opportunity to brag about that – really show that last piece that ties it all together is esprit de corps,” said Donaldson. “We are special because of our knowledge, because of our resiliency, because of our physical fitness. That’s what makes us special. The Peacekeeper Challenge is really one week out of the whole year where we really get to come together and celebrate that.”

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