Tagged: medic

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Darien Center solider honored during Ukrainian deployment

ARTICLE OPTIONS

YAVORIV, UKRAINE — A local New York National Guard soldier currently deployed in a mission assisting Ukrainian Army units in achieving NATO interoperability will head home with the thanks of the NYNG’s commander.

Sgt. Foster Quakenbush of Darien Center was photographed receiving a challenge coin from Maj. Gen. Anthony German during the Adjutant General’s visit last week to the 220 members of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, currently stationed at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center.

According to the New York National Guard, German presented the challenge coins to “outstanding soldiers in recognition of their hard work.”

Quakenbusch, a 2014 Alexander High School graduate, was recently promoted from specialist, and is slated to return home late this summer after the Syracuse-based 27th completes a year-long deployment as part of Joint Multinational Training Group — Ukraine.

Since arriving in November, the soldiers assigned to the JMTG-U have been mentoring Ukrainian Army units. They are the most easterly deployed U.S. Army units, the NYNG reports.

German toured the training center and met with New York soldiers as well military leaders from allied and partner nations whose troops also serve at the center. He was accompanied on his visit by Maj. Gen. Steven Ferrari, the 42nd Infantry Division commander, Col. Christopher Cronin, the 27th Brigade commander; Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, the New York National Guard’s senior enlisted service member, and Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony McLean, the 27th Brigade’s senior enlisted leader.

In addition to recognizing soldiers for their hard work, the leadership team conducted a re-enlistment ceremony for Staff Sgt. Gaspar Teri, a combat medic; and the promotion ceremony for Sgt. 1st. Class Steven M. Swanson of Stow, N.Y.

The generals were also able to observe Ukrainian Army units training in the field and tour the newly constructed simulation center.

Finished last fall, the simulation center allows Soldiers to conduct computer-based tactical training from the individual Soldier level up to and including the brigade-staff level. Currently a stand alone facility, there are plans to link it with similar centers across Europe to expand the scale and scope of the training conducted.

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Darien Center solider honored during Ukrainian deployment

ARTICLE OPTIONS

YAVORIV, UKRAINE — A local New York National Guard soldier currently deployed in a mission assisting Ukrainian Army units in achieving NATO interoperability will head home with the thanks of the NYNG’s commander.

Sgt. Foster Quakenbush of Darien Center was photographed receiving a challenge coin from Maj. Gen. Anthony German during the Adjutant General’s visit last week to the 220 members of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, currently stationed at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center.

According to the New York National Guard, German presented the challenge coins to “outstanding soldiers in recognition of their hard work.”

Quakenbusch, a 2014 Alexander High School graduate, was recently promoted from specialist, and is slated to return home late this summer after the Syracuse-based 27th completes a year-long deployment as part of Joint Multinational Training Group — Ukraine.

Since arriving in November, the soldiers assigned to the JMTG-U have been mentoring Ukrainian Army units. They are the most easterly deployed U.S. Army units, the NYNG reports.

German toured the training center and met with New York soldiers as well military leaders from allied and partner nations whose troops also serve at the center. He was accompanied on his visit by Maj. Gen. Steven Ferrari, the 42nd Infantry Division commander, Col. Christopher Cronin, the 27th Brigade commander; Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, the New York National Guard’s senior enlisted service member, and Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony McLean, the 27th Brigade’s senior enlisted leader.

In addition to recognizing soldiers for their hard work, the leadership team conducted a re-enlistment ceremony for Staff Sgt. Gaspar Teri, a combat medic; and the promotion ceremony for Sgt. 1st. Class Steven M. Swanson of Stow, N.Y.

The generals were also able to observe Ukrainian Army units training in the field and tour the newly constructed simulation center.

Finished last fall, the simulation center allows Soldiers to conduct computer-based tactical training from the individual Soldier level up to and including the brigade-staff level. Currently a stand alone facility, there are plans to link it with similar centers across Europe to expand the scale and scope of the training conducted.

0

Darien Center solider honored during Ukrainian deployment

ARTICLE OPTIONS

YAVORIV, UKRAINE — A local New York National Guard soldier currently deployed in a mission assisting Ukrainian Army units in achieving NATO interoperability will head home with the thanks of the NYNG’s commander.

Sgt. Foster Quakenbush of Darien Center was photographed receiving a challenge coin from Maj. Gen. Anthony German during the Adjutant General’s visit last week to the 220 members of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, currently stationed at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center.

According to the New York National Guard, German presented the challenge coins to “outstanding soldiers in recognition of their hard work.”

Quakenbusch, a 2014 Alexander High School graduate, was recently promoted from specialist, and is slated to return home late this summer after the Syracuse-based 27th completes a year-long deployment as part of Joint Multinational Training Group — Ukraine.

Since arriving in November, the soldiers assigned to the JMTG-U have been mentoring Ukrainian Army units. They are the most easterly deployed U.S. Army units, the NYNG reports.

German toured the training center and met with New York soldiers as well military leaders from allied and partner nations whose troops also serve at the center. He was accompanied on his visit by Maj. Gen. Steven Ferrari, the 42nd Infantry Division commander, Col. Christopher Cronin, the 27th Brigade commander; Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, the New York National Guard’s senior enlisted service member, and Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony McLean, the 27th Brigade’s senior enlisted leader.

In addition to recognizing soldiers for their hard work, the leadership team conducted a re-enlistment ceremony for Staff Sgt. Gaspar Teri, a combat medic; and the promotion ceremony for Sgt. 1st. Class Steven M. Swanson of Stow, N.Y.

The generals were also able to observe Ukrainian Army units training in the field and tour the newly constructed simulation center.

Finished last fall, the simulation center allows Soldiers to conduct computer-based tactical training from the individual Soldier level up to and including the brigade-staff level. Currently a stand alone facility, there are plans to link it with similar centers across Europe to expand the scale and scope of the training conducted.

0

Darien Center solider honored during Ukrainian deployment

ARTICLE OPTIONS

YAVORIV, UKRAINE — A local New York National Guard soldier currently deployed in a mission assisting Ukrainian Army units in achieving NATO interoperability will head home with the thanks of the NYNG’s commander.

Sgt. Foster Quakenbush of Darien Center was photographed receiving a challenge coin from Maj. Gen. Anthony German during the Adjutant General’s visit last week to the 220 members of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, currently stationed at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center.

According to the New York National Guard, German presented the challenge coins to “outstanding soldiers in recognition of their hard work.”

Quakenbusch, a 2014 Alexander High School graduate, was recently promoted from specialist, and is slated to return home late this summer after the Syracuse-based 27th completes a year-long deployment as part of Joint Multinational Training Group — Ukraine.

Since arriving in November, the soldiers assigned to the JMTG-U have been mentoring Ukrainian Army units. They are the most easterly deployed U.S. Army units, the NYNG reports.

German toured the training center and met with New York soldiers as well military leaders from allied and partner nations whose troops also serve at the center. He was accompanied on his visit by Maj. Gen. Steven Ferrari, the 42nd Infantry Division commander, Col. Christopher Cronin, the 27th Brigade commander; Command Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, the New York National Guard’s senior enlisted service member, and Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony McLean, the 27th Brigade’s senior enlisted leader.

In addition to recognizing soldiers for their hard work, the leadership team conducted a re-enlistment ceremony for Staff Sgt. Gaspar Teri, a combat medic; and the promotion ceremony for Sgt. 1st. Class Steven M. Swanson of Stow, N.Y.

The generals were also able to observe Ukrainian Army units training in the field and tour the newly constructed simulation center.

Finished last fall, the simulation center allows Soldiers to conduct computer-based tactical training from the individual Soldier level up to and including the brigade-staff level. Currently a stand alone facility, there are plans to link it with similar centers across Europe to expand the scale and scope of the training conducted.

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Troopers attend 1st Past and Present Garryowen Reunion

KEMPNER — More than 400 past and present troopers of the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment “Garryowen,” gathered Saturday night for a first-of-a-kind Past and Present Garryowen Reunion at the Kempner Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

The unit, which was established July 28, 1866, is part of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and is most well-known for its participation in the Battle of Little Big Horn under the command of Lt. Col. George A. Custer and for its victory against a vastly superior force during the Vietnam War at the IA Drang Valley under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore — a victory later portrayed in the Mel Gibson movie “We Were Soldiers.”

The unit’s history, stretching from the troopers’ bravery during the Indian Wars through countless victories in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and into actions in Iraq during the War on Terror, prompted current and former members of the unit to bring everyone together to help foster the deep pride shared by the unit’s alumni in the newest generation of “Garryowen” troopers.

“I love this. I think this is great,” said Sgt. Janna M. Trevino, a combat medic with the squadron’s Headquarters and Headquarters Troop. “It’s inspiring. A lot of us are new to a (cavalry) unit and have no idea how the cavalry is run. To see all of these veterans and see everyone get together is great — it makes us want to stay motivated and positive while we do our work.”

Trevino, who sang the national anthem at the start of the ceremonies, said watching the interaction between young soldiers and the alumni troopers who served as far back as the Korean War was amazing.

“This is a very fast-paced unit. … The camaraderie is different. This is the type of stuff we need,” she said, adding that she would love to do something similar and more often in order to help foster a sense of pride for the unit within the newest troops who had never served with “Garryowen” before.

“The new privates who have just gotten here have got to experience this,” Trevino said. “Being able to see people who have so much experience in the military. … This is just so great.”

Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, III Corps and Fort Hood commander and a former “Garryowen” commander, even sent a video to the troopers from the Middle East, where he currently command Operation Inherent Resolve — the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State.

“I am even more proud I can hold my head high and say that I am a Garryowen trooper, just like you,” Funk said in the video. “All Garryowen troopers have one thing in common — tenacity, the single most important trait of a trooper. That fixed resolve not to quit when things get tough.”

Retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, a former command sergeant major for the squadron and the 14th sergeant major of the Army, also offered some words of encouragement for all the troopers at the event, both past and present.

“My time in 1/7 Cav for me was the most pivotal and most memorable part of my military career,” he said. “A lot of people ask me, ‘do you miss the Army?’ Hell no, I do not. What I do miss is you. It’s that blood we shared over in Iraq and unfortunately the lives we lost and those who suffer from the visible wounds of war and those who suffer from invisible wounds.

“I just want to tell each and every one of you, thank you for helping to shape my life and for teaching me one of the most important things — that honor is the most important value,” Chandler added. “It’s what makes Garryowen, the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, the pride of not only the 1st Cavalry Division, but as far as I’m concerned, the rest of the United States Army.”

Plans have already begun for the 2019 reunion, which will occur once the unit returns from an upcoming deployment to Europe with the 1st Brigade.

0

Troopers attend 1st Past and Present Garryowen Reunion

KEMPNER — More than 400 past and present troopers of the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment “Garryowen,” gathered Saturday night for a first-of-a-kind Past and Present Garryowen Reunion at the Kempner Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

The unit, which was established July 28, 1866, is part of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and is most well-known for its participation in the Battle of Little Big Horn under the command of Lt. Col. George A. Custer and for its victory against a vastly superior force during the Vietnam War at the IA Drang Valley under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore — a victory later portrayed in the Mel Gibson movie “We Were Soldiers.”

The unit’s history, stretching from the troopers’ bravery during the Indian Wars through countless victories in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and into actions in Iraq during the War on Terror, prompted current and former members of the unit to bring everyone together to help foster the deep pride shared by the unit’s alumni in the newest generation of “Garryowen” troopers.

“I love this. I think this is great,” said Sgt. Janna M. Trevino, a combat medic with the squadron’s Headquarters and Headquarters Troop. “It’s inspiring. A lot of us are new to a (cavalry) unit and have no idea how the cavalry is run. To see all of these veterans and see everyone get together is great — it makes us want to stay motivated and positive while we do our work.”

Trevino, who sang the national anthem at the start of the ceremonies, said watching the interaction between young soldiers and the alumni troopers who served as far back as the Korean War was amazing.

“This is a very fast-paced unit. … The camaraderie is different. This is the type of stuff we need,” she said, adding that she would love to do something similar and more often in order to help foster a sense of pride for the unit within the newest troops who had never served with “Garryowen” before.

“The new privates who have just gotten here have got to experience this,” Trevino said. “Being able to see people who have so much experience in the military. … This is just so great.”

Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, III Corps and Fort Hood commander and a former “Garryowen” commander, even sent a video to the troopers from the Middle East, where he currently command Operation Inherent Resolve — the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State.

“I am even more proud I can hold my head high and say that I am a Garryowen trooper, just like you,” Funk said in the video. “All Garryowen troopers have one thing in common — tenacity, the single most important trait of a trooper. That fixed resolve not to quit when things get tough.”

Retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, a former command sergeant major for the squadron and the 14th sergeant major of the Army, also offered some words of encouragement for all the troopers at the event, both past and present.

“My time in 1/7 Cav for me was the most pivotal and most memorable part of my military career,” he said. “A lot of people ask me, ‘do you miss the Army?’ Hell no, I do not. What I do miss is you. It’s that blood we shared over in Iraq and unfortunately the lives we lost and those who suffer from the visible wounds of war and those who suffer from invisible wounds.

“I just want to tell each and every one of you, thank you for helping to shape my life and for teaching me one of the most important things — that honor is the most important value,” Chandler added. “It’s what makes Garryowen, the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, the pride of not only the 1st Cavalry Division, but as far as I’m concerned, the rest of the United States Army.”

Plans have already begun for the 2019 reunion, which will occur once the unit returns from an upcoming deployment to Europe with the 1st Brigade.

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1ST BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM: Best of Bastogne

Soldiers from across 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, competed for the right to be called “Best Battalion” during Bastogne Week. A total of 15 physical and mental events would determine who would hold bragging rights for the year.

The week began Feb. 20 with Soldiers forming up for what they thought would be another long brigade run, but to their surprise the route changed and they ended up on the division parade field. There, the Soldiers would get to see what their command teams were capable of.

“The commanders’ competition was intended to be a surprise,” said Capt. Keith Helminen, 1st BCT brigade engineer planner. “That was supposed to be the surprise kick-off event to get everyone excited for Bastogne Week by giving them the opportunity to go out and watch their command teams compete against each other in a high intensity competition.”

The commanders’ competition started the week’s events with everyone in different positions, Helminen said. Some battalions had to make up points while others had a nice buffer to start off. Overall, everyone gave their best effort in their individual competitions, but for some battalions the competition created a sense of urgency.

For others, that sense of urgency began a few hours later as the best mechanic and functional fitness competitions began. Soldiers also participated in heavy weapons and sniper competitions that same day. While all of these competitions had some sort of physical aspect to them, the main focus was to show skill proficiency and step away from the traditional organizational day events.

“I think showing off how good you are at your job better promotes morale versus going out and playing sports,” Helminen said.

Bastogne Week, that ended Friday, was intended to be a competition with a tactical focus to challenge each battalion to compete and assess the best battalion within the brigade. The intent was to strengthen the camaraderie of the brigade and to build pride within the organization.  “I think these events promote esprit de corps by letting them show their professionalism, but it was also carefully designed so that there was max participation across the different specialties,” Helminen said. “A major portion of the events were [military occupational skill]-specific, so different occupations had their chance to be in the competition.”

On the second day, rain became one of the biggest obstacles competitors would face, but it did not hinder the Soldiers of the brigade to continue the fight to be the best while spectators cheered them on in the 10K run, best squad, machine gun and M4 rifle competitions. The only competitors that were safe from the elements were those competing in the strongman competition, but they would have their own battles to win within the confines of Fratellenico Physical Fitness Center.

“I was pretty sure I was going to do well on the big three events, the bench squat and deadlift, but there are always freaks that are in units as well,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Walls, a section leader for D Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT, and the overall winner of the strongman competition. “Some guys will come out and surprise you and some of these guys did surprise me, but I haven’t seen people lift too much here so I figured I was pretty good coming into it.”

Although Walls was looking forward to the competition, he also wanted to test his own abilities.

“I expected to win because it is what I have trained for, but I just wanted to have a good time and enjoy some competition,” Walls said. “In all reality, I was competing against everyone else, but I was also competing against myself.”

Walls emerged as the victor in four of the five events lifting a total of 1,605 pounds in the squat, bench press and deadlift, but for him the highlight of the event was not the win.

“I think it is always a good idea to do these kinds of things because my subordinates were here to support me. Anytime your guys like you enough to come out and support you, you know you are doing something right,” he said. “We had some of our guys competing in this that weren’t in leadership positions. They had their peers supporting them as well as their leadership, I think that really boosted their confidence in their leadership and their peers as well.”

The final day consisted of the top chef, human resources, intelligence analyst and best medic competitions. These allowed professionals from each career field to show off their job skills. The planners for the best medic event had a unique obstacle to overcome.

“We wanted the events to be not only physical, but fair because some of the medics we have in different battalions are line medics or they work in a Role II facility,” said 2nd Lt. Steven Herald, the ground ambulance platoon leader for C Co., 426 Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd BCT. “We all need to be physically fit, but we all need to have the same skills. It had to be where a medic that worked in a Role II facility could do the same thing as someone who has only been in a line unit.”

The Friday awards ceremony honored the winners of each event and finally named 2-327th Inf. Regt. the overall winning battalion. Overall the competition determined a “best battalion” but it also meant more to the competitors.

“There were some extraordinary performances at some of these competitions. I think everyone appreciates seeing someone really excelling at a particular event,” Helminen said. “For instance, at the 10K run there are people that are running at very competitive paces. That makes you proud of your unit and you can say that guy is a part of my brigade and he could compete at almost an Olympic-level.”

As the week came to a close, both competitors and onlookers received an opportunity to attend the 1st BCT gala, a social gathering that offered a chance to unwind after a long week of competitive fun.

0

1ST BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM: Best of Bastogne

Soldiers from across 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, competed for the right to be called “Best Battalion” during Bastogne Week. A total of 15 physical and mental events would determine who would hold bragging rights for the year.

The week began Feb. 20 with Soldiers forming up for what they thought would be another long brigade run, but to their surprise the route changed and they ended up on the division parade field. There, the Soldiers would get to see what their command teams were capable of.

“The commanders’ competition was intended to be a surprise,” said Capt. Keith Helminen, 1st BCT brigade engineer planner. “That was supposed to be the surprise kick-off event to get everyone excited for Bastogne Week by giving them the opportunity to go out and watch their command teams compete against each other in a high intensity competition.”

The commanders’ competition started the week’s events with everyone in different positions, Helminen said. Some battalions had to make up points while others had a nice buffer to start off. Overall, everyone gave their best effort in their individual competitions, but for some battalions the competition created a sense of urgency.

For others, that sense of urgency began a few hours later as the best mechanic and functional fitness competitions began. Soldiers also participated in heavy weapons and sniper competitions that same day. While all of these competitions had some sort of physical aspect to them, the main focus was to show skill proficiency and step away from the traditional organizational day events.

“I think showing off how good you are at your job better promotes morale versus going out and playing sports,” Helminen said.

Bastogne Week, that ended Friday, was intended to be a competition with a tactical focus to challenge each battalion to compete and assess the best battalion within the brigade. The intent was to strengthen the camaraderie of the brigade and to build pride within the organization.  “I think these events promote esprit de corps by letting them show their professionalism, but it was also carefully designed so that there was max participation across the different specialties,” Helminen said. “A major portion of the events were [military occupational skill]-specific, so different occupations had their chance to be in the competition.”

On the second day, rain became one of the biggest obstacles competitors would face, but it did not hinder the Soldiers of the brigade to continue the fight to be the best while spectators cheered them on in the 10K run, best squad, machine gun and M4 rifle competitions. The only competitors that were safe from the elements were those competing in the strongman competition, but they would have their own battles to win within the confines of Fratellenico Physical Fitness Center.

“I was pretty sure I was going to do well on the big three events, the bench squat and deadlift, but there are always freaks that are in units as well,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Walls, a section leader for D Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT, and the overall winner of the strongman competition. “Some guys will come out and surprise you and some of these guys did surprise me, but I haven’t seen people lift too much here so I figured I was pretty good coming into it.”

Although Walls was looking forward to the competition, he also wanted to test his own abilities.

“I expected to win because it is what I have trained for, but I just wanted to have a good time and enjoy some competition,” Walls said. “In all reality, I was competing against everyone else, but I was also competing against myself.”

Walls emerged as the victor in four of the five events lifting a total of 1,605 pounds in the squat, bench press and deadlift, but for him the highlight of the event was not the win.

“I think it is always a good idea to do these kinds of things because my subordinates were here to support me. Anytime your guys like you enough to come out and support you, you know you are doing something right,” he said. “We had some of our guys competing in this that weren’t in leadership positions. They had their peers supporting them as well as their leadership, I think that really boosted their confidence in their leadership and their peers as well.”

The final day consisted of the top chef, human resources, intelligence analyst and best medic competitions. These allowed professionals from each career field to show off their job skills. The planners for the best medic event had a unique obstacle to overcome.

“We wanted the events to be not only physical, but fair because some of the medics we have in different battalions are line medics or they work in a Role II facility,” said 2nd Lt. Steven Herald, the ground ambulance platoon leader for C Co., 426 Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd BCT. “We all need to be physically fit, but we all need to have the same skills. It had to be where a medic that worked in a Role II facility could do the same thing as someone who has only been in a line unit.”

The Friday awards ceremony honored the winners of each event and finally named 2-327th Inf. Regt. the overall winning battalion. Overall the competition determined a “best battalion” but it also meant more to the competitors.

“There were some extraordinary performances at some of these competitions. I think everyone appreciates seeing someone really excelling at a particular event,” Helminen said. “For instance, at the 10K run there are people that are running at very competitive paces. That makes you proud of your unit and you can say that guy is a part of my brigade and he could compete at almost an Olympic-level.”

As the week came to a close, both competitors and onlookers received an opportunity to attend the 1st BCT gala, a social gathering that offered a chance to unwind after a long week of competitive fun.

0

1ST BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM: Best of Bastogne

Soldiers from across 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, competed for the right to be called “Best Battalion” during Bastogne Week. A total of 15 physical and mental events would determine who would hold bragging rights for the year.

The week began Feb. 20 with Soldiers forming up for what they thought would be another long brigade run, but to their surprise the route changed and they ended up on the division parade field. There, the Soldiers would get to see what their command teams were capable of.

“The commanders’ competition was intended to be a surprise,” said Capt. Keith Helminen, 1st BCT brigade engineer planner. “That was supposed to be the surprise kick-off event to get everyone excited for Bastogne Week by giving them the opportunity to go out and watch their command teams compete against each other in a high intensity competition.”

The commanders’ competition started the week’s events with everyone in different positions, Helminen said. Some battalions had to make up points while others had a nice buffer to start off. Overall, everyone gave their best effort in their individual competitions, but for some battalions the competition created a sense of urgency.

For others, that sense of urgency began a few hours later as the best mechanic and functional fitness competitions began. Soldiers also participated in heavy weapons and sniper competitions that same day. While all of these competitions had some sort of physical aspect to them, the main focus was to show skill proficiency and step away from the traditional organizational day events.

“I think showing off how good you are at your job better promotes morale versus going out and playing sports,” Helminen said.

Bastogne Week, that ended Friday, was intended to be a competition with a tactical focus to challenge each battalion to compete and assess the best battalion within the brigade. The intent was to strengthen the camaraderie of the brigade and to build pride within the organization.  “I think these events promote esprit de corps by letting them show their professionalism, but it was also carefully designed so that there was max participation across the different specialties,” Helminen said. “A major portion of the events were [military occupational skill]-specific, so different occupations had their chance to be in the competition.”

On the second day, rain became one of the biggest obstacles competitors would face, but it did not hinder the Soldiers of the brigade to continue the fight to be the best while spectators cheered them on in the 10K run, best squad, machine gun and M4 rifle competitions. The only competitors that were safe from the elements were those competing in the strongman competition, but they would have their own battles to win within the confines of Fratellenico Physical Fitness Center.

“I was pretty sure I was going to do well on the big three events, the bench squat and deadlift, but there are always freaks that are in units as well,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Walls, a section leader for D Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT, and the overall winner of the strongman competition. “Some guys will come out and surprise you and some of these guys did surprise me, but I haven’t seen people lift too much here so I figured I was pretty good coming into it.”

Although Walls was looking forward to the competition, he also wanted to test his own abilities.

“I expected to win because it is what I have trained for, but I just wanted to have a good time and enjoy some competition,” Walls said. “In all reality, I was competing against everyone else, but I was also competing against myself.”

Walls emerged as the victor in four of the five events lifting a total of 1,605 pounds in the squat, bench press and deadlift, but for him the highlight of the event was not the win.

“I think it is always a good idea to do these kinds of things because my subordinates were here to support me. Anytime your guys like you enough to come out and support you, you know you are doing something right,” he said. “We had some of our guys competing in this that weren’t in leadership positions. They had their peers supporting them as well as their leadership, I think that really boosted their confidence in their leadership and their peers as well.”

The final day consisted of the top chef, human resources, intelligence analyst and best medic competitions. These allowed professionals from each career field to show off their job skills. The planners for the best medic event had a unique obstacle to overcome.

“We wanted the events to be not only physical, but fair because some of the medics we have in different battalions are line medics or they work in a Role II facility,” said 2nd Lt. Steven Herald, the ground ambulance platoon leader for C Co., 426 Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd BCT. “We all need to be physically fit, but we all need to have the same skills. It had to be where a medic that worked in a Role II facility could do the same thing as someone who has only been in a line unit.”

The Friday awards ceremony honored the winners of each event and finally named 2-327th Inf. Regt. the overall winning battalion. Overall the competition determined a “best battalion” but it also meant more to the competitors.

“There were some extraordinary performances at some of these competitions. I think everyone appreciates seeing someone really excelling at a particular event,” Helminen said. “For instance, at the 10K run there are people that are running at very competitive paces. That makes you proud of your unit and you can say that guy is a part of my brigade and he could compete at almost an Olympic-level.”

As the week came to a close, both competitors and onlookers received an opportunity to attend the 1st BCT gala, a social gathering that offered a chance to unwind after a long week of competitive fun.

0

3RD BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM: Rakkasan takes action in aftermath …

Going through piles of laundry Tuesday night, 2nd Lt. Will Langston, 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, paused as he pulled out a pair of his dress pants, which were covered with someone else’s blood.

“I was wearing new clothes that night and I never once thought about that,” Langston said. “In the moment I didn’t think about the things I would bring home with me that night.”

After attending a poetry slam Saturday in downtown Nashville and celebrating a friend’s birthday into the early hours of Sunday morning, Langston took an Uber from his friend’s house in south Nashville to pick up his car downtown. During the short drive, his driver, Christopher, noticed a 1999 Mercury Mountaineer SUV wrecked off of Murfreesboro Pike.

“Probably the biggest hero of this story is the Uber driver [Christopher], honestly,” Langston said. “I was sitting in the passenger seat texting on my phone, not paying too much attention to the environment. Christopher was the one who saw the accident and asked if we should pull over.”

The driver of the wrecked vehicle, Kelvin Montifur, 22, lost control of the southbound vehicle at 4:15 a.m. Sunday. The Mountaineer crossed the northbound lanes of travel into a parking lot. The vehicle struck a dumpster, overturned and then collided with a building before coming to halt, according to a press release by Metro Nashville Police.  Langston and Christopher were the first on the scene.

“I immediately called 911,” Langston said. “I could kind of see what was going on. I wanted to focus on the vehicle and who was in the vehicle, but the 911 operator directed me to identify the street name and to find out how many patients were involved in the wreck.”

Next, Langston approached the vehicle. Inside, a man was pinned down and screaming loudly.

“I knew if I tried to pull him out by myself without the right equipment, people or expertise to make sure we weren’t hurting him I wouldn’t necessarily be helping him … unless of course the vehicle was on fire or something, which was not the case,” he said. “He was screaming the loudest, which means he was probably in the best condition when it comes to these kinds of situations.”

Langston moved on to help the next person, who was thrown to the left of the vehicle. He said the man was laying on his back with his neck cocked to the side. Because he could not determine whether or not the man was breathing, Langston began a procedure he learned during Combat Lifesaver Training, “the head tilt, chin lift.”

“Then I put my cheek to his mouth to feel his breath on my face and watch the rise and fall of his chest to make sure that he wasn’t having any complications or blockages,” he said. “His girlfriend who was on the scene kept screaming ‘mi amore, mi amore’ and my Spanish is broken at best, but I tried to explain to her how to help him.”

Finally, Langston approached another male passenger who was lying with his face pressed into the pavement. Metro Nashville Police later identified the passenger as Jose Avila-Cedilo.

“I rolled his body over and he was not breathing at all, so I went into chest compressions,” Langston said. “I can’t tell you how long I did chest compressions. When the medics arrived I remember one telling me ‘OK, OK, you are good’ and at first I thought it was [Christopher] talking to me. When I looked over and saw the blue gloves it clicked in my head that the medics were there. I’ll never forget that.”

Seconds later, a medic checked Avila-Cedilo’s pulse then pronounced him dead on the scene. They pulled a bright yellow tarp over his body before ushering Langston away from the accident. Langston said he and Christopher were on the scene about 15 minutes before the ambulances arrived.

Montifur and three passengers were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to the press release. There was no evidence of drug or alcohol involvement at the scene. Speed appears to have been a contributing factor to the accident. The investigation is still continuing, according to Metro Nashville Police.

Langston said he does not regret taking action that night, but wishes he could have done more for the victims.

“Once I was on the scene and I was there, I knew I had to act,” Langston said. “When I stepped up to that first patient I treated and he was covered in blood I knew I was about to expose myself to blood and everything else … I mean I didn’t know these people, but it took all of a split second and my mind was made up.”

Although it was a tragic, stressful situation, Langston said he was surprised at how completely prepared he felt in the moment.

“Through this experience I have realized that all of my training is really working,” he said. “I know what to do in an emergency. I’ve never had an experience like this before, but through my training, some of that action becomes muscle memory.”

This experience has further motivated Langston to continue pursuing a career in the medical field as a doctor, which he believes is his life’s purpose. Langston, who is from Houston, Texas, has served in the Army for about seven years. He has not been deployed.

Langston said acting in a difficult environment has made him more confident in his abilities to fulfill his responsibilities as an infantry officer.

“You don’t really get that kind of gut check here in country. The only time maneuver combat officers [like myself] get to experience anything like that you have to be deployed, you have to be overseas … you have to see bad things happen to your own men, so to be able to get a chunk of that and know how I responded, gives me a tremendous confidence in continuing my career and leading Soldiers. I just have such a burning passion for helping others.”

Since the accident, Langston has not been able to contact the people he helped after the accident. He hopes to have the opportunity to follow up with them.

“If they happen to read this, the first thing I want to say is that I’m glad you are OK and well enough to be reading this article,” Langston said. “I also want you to know how sorry I am for the loss of your friend. Finally, I hope you continue to get well.”

Major Timothy Hodge, 1-33rd Cav. Regt.,  3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div., said the brigade is submitting Langston for an IMPACT Army Commendation award because of his actions Sunday.

“[Langston] is highly-motivated. He is a commissioned officer. He saw the right thing to do and he did it,” Hodge said. “We are proud of him for doing what he did. His actions [Sunday] are completely consistent with his character and we wouldn’t expect anything less from him.”