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864th Engineer Battalion mixes training, competition in Stakes

28th Public Affairs Detachment

Published: 12:00PM May 29th, 2014

The Pacemakers of the 864th Engineer Battalion mixed a little competition with training last week to produce the Pacemaker Stakes.

The exercise consisted of seven events ranging from reacting to enemy fire to training in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense.

“The competition is a combination of real-world and basic-Soldiering skills,” said Capt. Katherine Mckenna, the battalion plans officer.

Each squad was evaluated individually during the event, and the winning squad was recognized at the end of the competition.

“It gets the Soldiers pumped up, and they stay pretty high-spirited throughout the day,” Mckenna said.

Friendly competition enhanced the morale of the 864th Engr. Soldiers, she said. Unit cohesion, motivation and determination have all been factors contributing to preparing the Soldiers for real-time war situations.

At the beginning of the competition, Soldiers underwent an Army Physical Fitness Test wearing full Army Combat Uniforms.

“This is what Soldiers train to do,” squad leader Sgt. Steven Cools said.

Hard work and effort from everyone ensured the exercise was a success, McKenna said.

The NCOs and officers have been working around the clock to ensure everything ran smoothly and effectively, she said.

The Soldiers throughout the battalion have been taking part in individual-level military training since February to prepare for the competition.

“(The Pacemaker Stakes) will make you a better individual and definitely a better Soldier,” Cools said.