Story and photos by Spc. Nathan Thome
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
More than 72 active-duty and retired servicemembers participated in the 18 Holes of Safety golf tournament at Cheyenne Shadows Golf Club, Sept. 6.
In addition to getting in a round of golf, the participants learned some tips about winter safety.
“I’m not a big fan of standing up and lecturing folks on a Friday afternoon for safety briefs, because we’re out there in the world and there are a lot of great things to do,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Rants, commander, Army Field Support Battalion, Fort Carson. “We don’t live by the don’ts; what we’ve got to do is manage the risks we deal with by acknowledging that risk, mitigating it and, most importantly, having fun.”
The golf tournament is held twice a year as part of safety and resiliency week.
“In the spring, we’ll focus on summer safety and events that are typically held during that season, such as fishing (and) boating,”
Rants said. “Then we do it in the fall in preparation for the winter.”
Each participant received a winter safety pamphlet, reminding them about the condition of their windshields, winter dehydration and even hunting.
“My predecessor is the one who actually started this event,” Rants said. “This is the fourth iteration for the battalion; the second one while I’ve been in charge.”
Over the last two iterations of the tournament, the number of participants has almost tripled in size and has transformed into a way to successfully raise safety awareness for Soldiers.
Rants said part of that success is just getting the message out there and letting folks from other units come and participate.
One Soldier decided to make the event a training day with his Soldiers.
“It was a massive email they sent out; I saw it and said, ‘we’re going to do this,’” said Sgt. 1st Class Travis Smith, infantryman, Company B, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. “It seemed like a fun event, with a great training aspect behind it.”
In addition to its safety message, Smith also saw the event as a way to build camaraderie among his Soldiers.
He said being able to golf with his Soldiers strengthened their bond and raised their morale.
“This is definitely something that other units should try,” said Sgt. Alex Sturm, infantryman, Company B, 1st Bn., 8th Inf. Reg. “This is the most fun I’ve had in Colorado since I got here, and actually doing something fun to train the Soldiers, rather than give a lecture, really makes the training stick with (them).”