116th BSTB holds 3rd annual Warrior Stakes competition

Soldiers of the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team compete in the 3rd annual Warrior Stakes at Fort Pickett, Va., June 19, 2013. Warrior Stakes is a battalion-wide competition that culminates the unit’s annual training and evaluates Soldiers on their Army Warrior Tasks. (Photo by Sgt. JoAnna Greene, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office)

Soldiers of the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team compete in the 3rd annual Warrior Stakes at Fort Pickett, Va., June 19, 2013. Warrior Stakes is a battalion-wide competition that culminates the unit’s annual training and evaluates Soldiers on their Army Warrior Tasks. (Photo by Sgt. JoAnna Greene, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Soldiers from the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team tested their Army Warrior skills in the third annual “Warrior Stakes” competition June 19 at Fort Pickett, Va. Soldiers were tested in numerous tasks to earn the title of champion for their company in the culminating event of the battalion’s annual training from June 8- 22.

After setting off on a timed ruck march, the 11 teams performed a tough land navigation course and then went through a series of Army Warrior task stations. The stations required the Soldiers to identify terrain features, operate a Single-Channel Ground-Air Radio System, send a Blue Force Tracker message, and prepare a Unidentified Explosive Ordinance report.

The competition culminated with the teams running through a 150-meter lane that included “movement to contact” under direct fire, call for fire, first-aid, and a medical evacuation call.

Soldiers of the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team compete in the 3rd annual Warrior Stakes at Fort Pickett, Va., June 19, 2013. Warrior Stakes is a battalion-wide competition that culminates the unit’s annual training and evaluates Soldiers on their Army Warrior Tasks. (Photo by Sgt. JoAnna Greene, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office)

Soldiers of the Fredericksburg-based 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team compete in the 3rd annual Warrior Stakes at Fort Pickett, Va., June 19, 2013. Warrior Stakes is a battalion-wide competition that culminates the unit’s annual training and evaluates Soldiers on their Army Warrior Tasks. (Photo by Sgt. JoAnna Greene, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office)

“Warrior Stakes primarily serves as the culminating annual training event that allows us to evaluate Soldiers on their Army Warrior Tasks,” said Lt. Col. Chris Doss, commander of the 116th BSTB. “By creating a competitive environment within the battalion, Soldiers are motivated to train harder on basic Soldiers skills.”

During annual training, Soldiers across the battalion’s diverse specialty units were licensed on Humvee and Light Medium Tactical Vehicles, qualified on a variety of weapons systems, and certified as combat lifesavers.

Engineers of Company A spent the first week of annual training focusing on the fundamentals of their craft in the field. Soldiers received class time on calculating and building charges, as well as setting off approximately 2,500 TNT equivalent pounds of explosives as part of training and validating squads on mobility and counter-mobility using explosive techniques.

“After coming out of our deployment with Operation New Dawn in 2011, where they didn’t have engineer-specific tasks, our goal is to give them as much hands-on time as possible with demo,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Capone, a platoon leader in Company A.

During the brigade’s combined-arms exercise the engineers were attached to infantry companies of the 1st and 3rd Battalions, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and utilized their skill sets to recon sites and bridges, breach obstacles and provide support by fire.

The Soldiers also ran engineer support missions including the movement of more than 400 tons of stone on Fort Pickett in support of the Bowling Green-based 189th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion.

“Based on the squad validations that we conducted, we will be able to immediately transition to platoon-level training, which will prepare the company for platoon validations during annual training 2014,” said Capt. Neal Sutliff, commander of Company A.

Military intelligence Soldiers of Company B spent much of the two weeks training on recently upgraded equipment and software.

“After a lot of training and preparation, this is the first time we’ve had all the latest and greatest systems ready to go since our deployment to Afghanistan in 2011,” said Capt. Robert Rogers, commander of Company B.

These systems that the Soldiers are now proficient on provide them with the analytical tools, pattern analysis, packaged presentation of findings, and secure communications access necessary to accomplish full spectrum intelligence operations.

Seven Soldiers of Company B’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems detachment spent their annual training at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, Miss. After their 30-day course the Soldiers achieved Level 1 Readiness, allowing them to conduct flight operations.

Supplying communications during the two-week brigade-wide annual training provided Soldiers of Company C real-world work experience on their specialty. The signal troops logged 1,262 network operation hours and 6,000 miles during annual training while performing help desk duties, developing a standard operating instruction for secure frequency hopping, and acting as custodians of communications security for the entire brigade.

“This was a fantastic opportunity for us,” said Capt. David Garner, commander of Company C. “My Soldiers have had a great attitude and done a lot with a little.”

“We’ve had an outstanding annual training,” said Doss. “By spending time on our fundamental Soldier tasks and honing in on our specific specialties, we are truly coming out of this a better trained battalion.”

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