VILSECK, Germany – A spirit of competition was in the air Wednesday as 48 Troopers from the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment gathered at the Rose Barracks Fitness in Vilseck to compete in the USAG Grafewoehr Unit Level Combat Cross Country Championship.
“This is the preliminary event to the larger competition to be held in Hohenfels,” said Carlton Campbell, tournament coordinator. “This event supports the community and showcases their overall mission of being a Soldier.”
The race is 6.2 kilometers and covers a variety of terrain. The course includes two obstacles participants must overcome. The first obstacle is a 12-foot steep hill runners must traverse twice. The final roadblock is a water obstacle. Near the halfway mark runners come upon a small bridge that is mined with simulated IEDs. They must then choose to cross the area either by traversing the side of the bridge or crossing a stream that is roughly 3-feet deep.
Unlike most races, contestants are required to run the course wearing ACUs, boots, web gear with belt and two ammo pouches. Each runner also carries a full canteen and his or her rifle.
“This is a great event that promotes camaraderie, teamwork and Espirt de Corps,” Campbell said.
Contestants compete in five to seven man teams. Each runner’s individual time is consolidated and averaged to a collective team time. Trophies were presented to each team finishing in the top three spots.
Despite the grueling course and the strenuous pace, many of the contestants described the event as a lot of fun.
“It was HOOAH,” said Pfc. Lasse Larsen of 3rd Squadron. “This is the stuff that makes infantrymen infantrymen.”
Larsen said that even though he was running for a personal time the event was far from an individual achievement.
“You are running for you and your team,” he explained “but also for your squadron and your company.”
“Nothing in the Army is ever individual,” he continued.
“It was pretty fun” said Spc. Tyler Hall of 1st Squadron. “It was really different doing this without a vest and Kevlar on.”
Hall said the motivation from others was the best part of the race.
“It was great to see all the other guys lifting up their men and encouraging them,” he said.
In the end first place went to the Wolf pack team from 3rd Squadron with a time of 2 hours and 50 minutes. Second place was won by Charlie Company from 1st Squadron with a time of 3 hours and 4 minutes. Third place was taken by Alpha Company also from 1st Squadron with a time of 3 hours and 15 minutes. The top individual score was won by Cpt. Nathan Cary of 3rd Squadron with a time of 30 minutes 26 seconds.