|Sgt. James Cassidy, a native of Savannah, Ga., carries his “casualty,”
Spc. Joshua Preston, a native of Arcanum, Ohio, to the casualty collection point
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Soldiers with the 512th Quartermaster Company, 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), out of Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., celebrated the holidays with a unique competition that tested skills, inspired friendly competition, and built crew camaraderie.
There were no footballs or basketballs in sight for this “bowl.” Instead, there were 24 eager soldiers and six Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles standing by for a fierce competition that would challenge skills necessary for any successful personnel security detachment team. The competition sought to test integral skills that all members of the PSD team needed to accomplish every mission successfully. The platoon was broken down into six teams, consisting of three members each: the truck commander, the driver, and gunner.
“The competition was the epitome of technical and tactical operations, and conjured up strong competition,” said the truck commander of the winning team, Sgt. James Cassidy, a soldier with the 512th QM Company, and a Savannah, Ga., native. “The event was a nice alternative to sports.” He added that even though most of the tasks were fairly simple, the pressure of competition challenged each team mentally and physically.
The events included terrain feature identification on the Blue Force Tracker, a litter relay race, casualty evacuation, exiting the MRAP using the emergency escape hatch, donning full battle gear and entering the vehicle, attaching the weapons mount, and other tasks that challenged the platoon.
The other members of Cassidy’s winning team included his driver, Spc. Joshua Preston, an Arcanum, Ohio, native, and their gunner, Spc. Greg Jerkins, a Gilbert, Ariz., native. Preston said that the hardest event for him was parallel parking because he had the extended mine-rollers on his truck, while Jerkins’ favorite was the emergency escape hatch event because it showed how fast soldiers can get out of the truck under pressure.
The competition ended with a litter relay race, during which each team member acted as a casualty while the other two carried him or her to the finish line. “The litter carry was the hardest because you realize the true weight of your battle buddies and the amount of physical exertion it takes to move them,” said Jerkins.
At the end of the day, three teams placed, but all walked away with strengthened skills.
[Article is public record, re-printed from www.dvidshub.net]