By Sgt. Sharla Lewis
1st Cavalry Division public affairs
Soldiers with 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, completed a week of Greywolf Strong training, a program designed to fall in line with the Army's push toward sustaining the health of the force, with a physical training competition July 27 at the baseball fields on Battalion Avenue.
Capt. Joshua Sorge, the physical therapist for the brigade, designed the competition to test soldiers' skills in physical readiness and teamwork.
"We wanted to teach them different ways of doing (physical readiness training)," he said. "In this environment, we are able to build the group mentality and identify future leaders as well as give them the option of helping their battle buddies across the finish line."
Before the start, the groups laughed and joked among themselves that the competition would be "a piece of cake," but after the first two repetitions of "buddy pushups," the tone changed and they began wondering if they'd be able to make it at all.
From station to station they ran, executing exercises they'd been honing all week and hollering motivation to each other throughout the course. The groups discussed the best techniques to complete each exercise quickly and when a trooper finished a task, he ran back to collect his buddies.
The competition included seven stations consisting of individual, paired and team exercises. In between the stations, the groups conducted exercises from the physical readiness training manual that had to be performed as a unit and in cadence.
"These classes have helped us stand out as leaders," Spc. Sergio Avalle said. "This teaches us how to work together toward a common goal."
Participants said repeating proper form and exercise techniques throughout the week really paid off in the end and helped push them across the finish line.
The course took more than 15 minutes to complete, and by the end, uniforms were dark with sweat and soldiers stumbled with exhaustion toward their gear to rest. First Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment's team of eight, the smallest that competed, won with a time of 15 minutes, 5 seconds.
The competition concluded a week of resiliency and physical readiness training that the brigade conducted to educate leaders throughout the units. With twice-daily workout sessions, morning and afternoon lectures and homework to be completed within a deadline, the classes were more like a college curriculum than an average Army training block.
Sorge said the more soldiers understand how these fundamental techniques fall in line with the Army's push toward sustaining the health of the force, the better.
"We wanted to put it out to the leadership and subsequently into the units to be utilized daily," Sorge said. "I hope the message that we conveyed was that there are fun, interesting and exciting ways of conducting (physical readiness training)."