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Skills competition builds scout teams’ camaraderie, motivation

Published: 12:06PM November 29th, 2012
Skills competition builds scout teams’ camaraderie, motivation

Sgt. Adam Keith

Spc. Thomas P. McCarty fires his rifle during a best scout team competition on JBLM Nov. 20. After completing the shooting portion of the competition, McCarty and his team completed an eight-mile ruck march followed by a written test.

Undeterred by wind, rain and chilly temperatures, Soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 38th Cavalry Squadron, competed for the honor to be called the squadron’s best scout team Nov. 20 on JBLM.

Fifteen teams of five to six Soldiers took part in the competition, which consisted of a rifle marksmanship range, an eight-mile ruck march for time, and a written test covering the fundamentals of reconnaissance.

“This competition not only hones the skills that our Soldiers already have but also builds teamwork and camaraderie,” said Capt. Joe F. Vogel, commander of Bravo Troop, 3-38 Cav. “This type of event is a good way to build unity while instilling a competitive spirit in our Soldiers.”

“I love the competition,” said Spc. Zachary D. Flanders, an infantryman with Charlie Company, 3-38 Cav. “Doing competitions like these with our teams is great because you have to stay together and you have to push each other.”

Flanders, whose team has taken first place in similar events in the past, said the competition was a good motivator for his team and allowed them to build upon how well they worked together.

“You’re only as fast as your slowest guy,” he said. “We know each other very well and it’s a big motivator to not be the guy that lets your team down by slowing down the group.”

Sergeant Jonathan Salazar, a team leader with Charlie Company, who led a five-man team, said the competition was a great way to train and mature the Soldiers in his team.

“Overall I think this was a good learning experience for my team,” he said. “It can be a gut check and show you who the natural leaders in your team really are.”

Salazar said he also had the chance to build motivation within his team during the event.

“It’s easy to be motivated at the start of an event like this, but the real challenge is keeping that motivation high after you are a few miles into the event and the rain is pouring down on you,” he said. “We were able to stay together and stay motivated by feeding off of each other’s energy, which is why we try to keep the energy level really high.”

Salazar noted that the ability to stay motivated in competitions like these would be pivotal in stressful situations.

“You never know when in combat you’re going to have to pick up and move for an undetermined amount of time,” he said. “You’re going to have to move. You’re going to have to keep going, and you’re not going to be able to stop.”

“I definitely think we should do more stuff like this,” Salazar said.

According to Vogel, Salazar will not have to wait long to see another competition.

“This competition is part of an ongoing series of competitive events the squadron is holding at the team, platoon, and troop level,” said Vogel. “We will definitely be doing more events like these in the future.”