Tougher quest for 1st AD's best
January 14, 2005
FRIEDBERG, Germany — A couple of high-speed 1st Armored Division soldiers took the honors Thursday in the division’s new, tougher competition to select its top troops.
Sgt. Jessy Carr, with Battery C, 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery, and Pfc. Aaron Jewell, of the 69th Chemical Company, beat out four other division troops to be named the first NCO and soldier of the quarter.
The three noncommissioned officers and three soldiers tested their Army knowledge, as well as their physical prowess, during the three-day event ending Thursday with an award ceremony and dinner at Ray Barracks.
The division’s 1st Brigade hosted the competition, hoping to catch any snags and iron them out for future division competitions.
“We’re still in the learning stages and are watching how the soldiers react to the course and how we can improve on it,” said Sgt. Maj. Allen Ashton, the operations sergeant major for the 2nd Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment.
The soldier-of-the-quarter competition usually is performed indoors in front of a panel of senior leaders. Troops dress in their Class A uniform and perform small marching movements as part of the test. They also answer questions about the military.
The new competition, for which troops must first compete at local boards to qualify, requires soldiers to get decked out in battle dress uniforms, react to live fire in open, muddy fields, give first aid on mock war injuries, and alert comrades to fake roadside bombs.
Command Sgt. Maj. Russell W. Sadler, 4th Brigade’s top enlisted soldier, said the so-called Iron Warrior training is meant to prepare troops for real-world warfare.
It is “designed to ensure that every soldier deploys to combat trained in the basic skills necessary to survive on the modern battlefield by instilling the warrior ethos,” Sadler said in an e-mail released by the 1st AD public affairs office.
He said having a segment of hands-on skills shows that soldiers know what they’re learning and could perform those skills in strenuous environments.
The three-day test began with 10 troops out of the division, but four were disqualified for failing the Army Physical Fitness Test requirements, Ashton said.
The rest went on to brave the German cold and rainy weather and test their minds and bodies in day and night land navigation; test their soldiering skills in a field environment; go on a four-mile march with a 15-pound rucksack; and go through an M-16 rifle qualification range.
“It was exhausting,” Carr said during a telephone interview after being named the winner. The grueling mind-and-body competition took its toll on him, Carr said, but he said he loved the opportunity to be one of the first leaders to go through the course and be named the NCO of the quarter.
“The event went outstanding by 1st Brigade and the entire Iron Soldier crew,” Carr said. “Nothing went wrong, unless there was a way for them to make it stop raining.”