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May 3, 2013

Bronco Team demonstrates desert strong fitness

Captain Joseph Sahl, of Bronco Team with Operations Group, goes through the high crawl obstacle at the Fort Irwin obstacle course, March 26.

Bronco Team with Operations Group at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin held a morale building competition at this installation’s obstacle course, March 26.

The competition was designed to facilitate team building and improve unit cohesion and camaraderie among the Broncos, which serve as Brigade Trainers for rotational units. According to Capt. Shawn McNicol, Bronco 03A and director of the competition, the best part of the training was the change of pace and getting out of the office.

“It was a great event,” McNicol said. “We definitely accomplished our mission.”

The competition consisted of two parts: a team building run from Barstow Road to the obstacle course on Outer Loop Road and completion of the obstacle course. Bronco Team Soldiers competed in teams based on their brigade training specialty and the event winner was the group with the shortest completion time.

The obstacle course included walls, monkey bars and ropes – all with names that allude to their difficulty. Two of the most challenging are called the “Tough Nut,” and the “Dirty Name!” The teamwork required to complete them increased the bonding for the participants.

“My team motivated me to finish the course,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Abrams, a trainer with Bronco Team.

Brigade S3 Trainer Maj. Thomas Laybourn noted that “this was a good way to build resiliency within Bronco Team.”

“We wanted to do something fun for the team, which would emphasize fitness and cohesion,” Laybourn said.

Captain Kevin Cox assists his teammate Sgt. 1st Class Amanda Reuter at Fort Irwin’s obstacle course, March 26. Cox and Reuter are with Bronco Team of Operations Group and were participating in a team building challenge with the Broncos.

The hardest obstacle for the team appeared to be the “Weaver,” an obstacle that required everyone to weave between horizontal bars up and down a pyramidal structure.

“It was a good, physical challenge,” said Sgt. 1st Class Amanda Reuter, a Brigade Unit Ministry Team Trainer. “You definitely need a lot of upper body strength.”

The winning team was comprised of members of the Brigade Signal Trainers, who finished with a final time of just over 34 minutes. They were aided by the presence of a former drill sergeant on the team, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Douglas Mahanke. Mahanke attributed their victory to a strong team.

“We made quick evaluations of the obstacles and communicated among each other in order to decrease our times on each obstacle,” Mahanke said.

The senior trainer for Bronco Team, Col. Chris Doneski, mentioned that it was a good event.

“Beyond some bumps and bruises, no one was hurt and we all had a great time,” Doneski said.

Team members wanted an “outside-the-box” method for developing comprehensive Soldier fitness. Within that framework, the Bronco Team started with an Engagement Skills Trainer weapons qualification scenario earlier that week. The second event for the Broncos was completing the obstacle course. Future planned events include a family get-together/picnic, Equal Opportunity/Consideration of Others Training, and Point in the Desert dedications.

“All these events are designed to keep our leaders sharp,” Laybourn said.

Captain Dominic Garritano, Sgt. 1st Class Stanley Dyke, Sgt. 1st Classn Phillip Cantrell and Lt. Col. Alex Pham cross the finish line at the Bronco Team obstacle course competition, March 26. The four are trainers with Inform and Influence Activities under the Bronco Team in Operations Group.




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