Second Lt. Josh Saavedra grew more exhausted with each task.

He ran up the stairs of a four-story building, carrying a bundled-up firehose. At the top of the tower, he hoisted a 40-pound weight along the building before pulling it through the window. After running down the stairs, he went outside and used a sledge hammer to move an object in a rail system. Then, he dragged a firehose across the lot before finally dragging a 175-pound dummy about 100 feet.

“It’s definitely something out of the ordinary,” said Saavedra, a maintenance officer in 602nd Maintenance Company, 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command.

He was one four soldiers in the company who deviated from their normal training exercises July 31 to participate in the internationally known firefighter combat challenge.

James Wallace, a Fort Hood firefighter, said inviting the soldiers to the training course gave them the opportunity to see what firefighters do for the installation.

“We’re exposed to (the training) they do every day, so it’s good to bring people out and let them be exposed to what we do,” Wallace said. “There’s nothing out here on the course that’s not a daily task we have to complete as a firefighter.”

The training also strengthened the soldiers’ ability to work individually and as a team, by encouraging each other.

“A lot of the people come from the same unit so they have a friendly competition as well as be able to just have fun,” Wallace said.

Given the difficulty of the course, Saavedra said it gave him a greater appreciation for firefighters.

“I didn’t even have on half of the equipment these firefighters wear so it just shows you how physically fit they are,” he said. “There’s no price tag on a life so when (they) lack in an area, it costs somebody theirs. It’s good to be on top of your game and these guys definitely look like they are.”

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