Engineers compete for bragging rights as “best squad”

Soldiers from the Bowling Green-based 189th Multi-role Bridge Company prepare to launch their Zodiac assault boat on the beach at Camp Pendleton during the unit’s best squad competition held Sept. 22. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

CAMP PENDLETON, Va. — Soldiers from 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon of the Bowling Green-based 189th Multi-role Bridge Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, 91st Troop Command took first place in the unit’s best squad competition held Sept. 22 at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach. Seven squads of approximately 10 Soldiers each tested their skills and stamina in a wide variety of events including vehicle maintenance checks, weapons assembly and disassembly, drill and ceremonies, tire flip and launching a Zodiac assault boat into the surf.

“This competition is to determine the best squad, but it is also a team building exercise,” said Capt. Matt Nowak, commander of the 189th. “The Soldiers are going to face some adversity, and they may be tired, but they still have smiles on their faces.”

He explained that the events in the competition were selected after reviewing the company’s training conducted over the last year, and the competition was designed to test Soldier and engineer skills as well as prepare for upcoming training.

The company is scheduled to conduct weapons qualification in October, so one of the stations was the EST 2000 marksmanship simulator, and that station was used for a pre-marksmanship referesher, Nowak said. Another station focused on preventive maintenance checks and services, an important task given the importance of maintenance on the unit’s wide variety of assigned equipment, Nowak explained.

The unit conducted a similar competition in the previous training year at home station, but the unit leadership was able to create a greater challenge by conducting the training at Camp Pendleton. “Last year’s competition was a much smaller scale,” Nowak said. “This year we were able to take advantage of everything Camp Pendleton had to offer and increase the difficulty level.”

Nowak said the feedback from Soldiers was very positive.

“I liked going into the ocean with the Zodiacs,” said Sgt. Steven Quick, and equipment operator in the 189th. “No one was complaining and everyone was just doing their job. I can’t wait until next year.”

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View photos from the competition on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/vaguardpao/sets/72157631596168234/