Story and photo by Spc. Andrew Ingram
1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
A battalion physical training challenge on Fort Carson Jan. 23 was dominated by four junior officers, who completed the six-event competition in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 35 seconds.
1st Lt. John Riggs, executive officer, and platoon leaders, 1st Lt. Andrew Woolen, 2nd Lt. Nathan Winnech and 2nd Lt. Chandler Rochelle, all from Battery B, 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, attributed their win to teamwork.
“We are all leaving for deployment in the next month, so the name of the game for this event is teambuilding,” said Riggs. “Whether we are doing PT or going out to fire rounds, we do everything in this battalion as a team. Most of these events would be almost impossible as an individual, and I think that is a good lesson for us, as well as our Soldiers.”
The PT challenge kicked off with a run, beginning at the battalion’s motor pool and snaking up Commo Hill, where teams regrouped, before heading back down to the company operating facilities. Each member of the four- or five-person teams had to cross the finish line before the team could begin the round-robin stage of the challenge.
“The run is where we really excelled,” said Riggs. “All four of us are pretty strong runners, so we were able to stick together. I think that set us apart, because some of the other teams had to wait until slower members caught up at the top of the hill or at the finish line.”
Following the run, the leaders tested their strength and endurance during a five-event, round-robin style gantlet. Competitors executed eight-count pushups, pullups, litter carries, tire flips and a Humvee drag, completing each event as a team; dividing repetitions and labor between team members to conserve strength.
“The Humvee pull was the toughest event for us,” Rochelle said. “We had to pull the thing 100 yards then pull it back to the starting location. The way back was brutal.”
The competition served a greater purpose than simple bragging rights for the winners or building cohesion within the battalion’s leadership, said Rochelle.
“As leaders we can’t slack off,” he said. “We can’t ask our Soldiers to do anything we ourselves wouldn’t do.
I believe by participating in this challenge we are leading by example, showing our Soldiers that being in top physical shape is an important part of being a professional.”
As teams began to flood back toward the starting point, challenges complete, friendly handshakes were given, but no one received a trophy or a blue ribbon.
“This is about esprit de corps,” said Capt. Edward Olson, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 4th Bn., 42nd FA Reg. “It’s about setting an example for the Soldiers of this battalion and bringing pride to the Straight Arrow (Battalion).”