January 26, 2007

Foot Fetish Friday No. 11: Training for survival

This week I had the chance to follow a unit in the field for a training competition. It was fun and a coworked suggested this picture for my Foot Fetish Friday tribute. Continue reading to get the story ...

-- Published in Fort Polk Guardian (Jan. 26, 2007) --
By: MICHELLE LINDSEY, Guardian staff writer

Stamina, determination, mental toughness, physical agility. Do you have what it takes? Soldiers of the 519th Military Police Battalion, 1st Combat Support Brigade, were put to the test this week as they competed in the rigorous three-day Warfighter Challenge Jan. 22-24.
The Warfighter Challenge is an annual competition where military police battalions throughout the Army send their best three-person team to compete in events that push the mental and physical limits of competitors.
“(The Fort Polk competition is) based on the military police mission and what the Soldier should know,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Green, command sergeant major, 519th MP Bn.
He added that the annual competition changes each year and teams will not know what tests they will have to put their minds and bodies through until the competition begins. The annual competition will be held in April.
Soldiers from the 204th Military Police Company, 209th Military Police Company, and 258th Military Police Company, were selected by their leaders to compete in the Fort Polk challenge. Through this three-day competition, a team of three competitors and one or two alternates are chosen, said Green.
“The purpose (of the Warfighter competition) is to allow our military police to compete against others across the world,” said Green. “It gives (Fort Polk Soldiers) the opportunity to measure themselves, as far as their training and expertise, against the other military police in the Army.
“The goal is to celebrate being a military police Soldier in the Army and to have that spirit of competition,” he added. “To be selected as the best at your installation is already a huge accomplishment. (The Fort Leonard Wood competition is) about being the best of the best and it says something about what kind of Soldiers they are.”
Staff Sgt. Todd Pichette, a coach for this year’s team, is no stranger to the competition. He competed at Fort Leonard Wood in 2002 with a team from Korea and in 2003 with a team from Germany. His team placed in top slots both years.
Pichette served as a coach for the Fort Polk team in 2005 when they came home in third place out of 38 competing teams.
“The competition distinguishes which Soldiers and NCOs are top in the MP Corps,” he said.
Previous competitors take an active part in helping Soldiers train for the competition.
“I have some insight, but each year they change the competition. You can’t go back and train on exactly what was done the year before, but it is a guide,” Pichette said.
The competition is more than just an event –– it helps Soldiers improve themselves.
“The Soldiers are constantly doing tasks (related to military police work) and it sticks with them. They improve,” Pichette said. “They compete to be named the best. The team members (chosen) are already the best in the battalion and it motivates them to continue to get better and better.”
For first-time competitor Pfc. Greg Davignon, 209th MP Co, this experience has given him the chance to test his limits.
“Some of these competitions push your physical and mental ability. I remember on the first day we had to carry a five-gallon water can through the woods and the march. Events like that push you to see what kind of person you are and what you are made of.”
The competition has helped him see what his strengths and weaknesses are and in the end can help make a better Soldier, he said.
“It shows me what my limitations are, how fast I can do things or how much I can handle. We had three companies compete (from the battalion) and I was put in a team with Soldiers I did not know. It helped me learn teamwork for activities such as the litter carry. It definitely builds battalion cohesion,” he added.
Davignon said he encourages other military police to participate in the challenge because it teaches lessons that “stay with you longer than the pain.” He added that no matter the outcome, once a team is chosen, the Soldiers of the 519th MP Bn will stand behind it when the time comes to compete.
“The (battalion) colonel and sergeant major have been behind us 100 percent, and the team that we send to Fort Leonard Wood will not have to ask or want for anything. We will be supporting them the whole way. Everyone is behind us,” Davignon said.

Click here to see other articles in this week's Fort Polk Guardian.

1 Tea Party Guest:

lime said...

good idea and goodf article. that's why i am a housewife, not an MP, lol