Soldiers set off along a lonesome road just before day break on a cool and calm October morning. A majority of them walked briskly into the darkness while others jogged down the road and out of sight.

Every battery from across the brigade sent a team of four soldiers to compete in the inaugural 41st Fires Brigade Unit Ministry Team’s Olympics Oct. 25.

Teams competed in five events for a chance to win a streamer for their battery’s guidon. The events included a timed 4-mile ruck march, bench press, sit-ups, pull-ups, dead lifts and ended with a written test on world religions.

Staff Sgt. Kevin Stevenson, the brigade chaplain’s assistant with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 41st Fires Brigade, said the challenging event is intended to build esprit de corps and camaraderie.

Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade set the tone from the very first step when Spc. Christian Vazquez, a logistics specialist, finished the ruck march ahead of everyone else, completing the course in 38 minutes, giving the team a sizable lead.

“I don’t like rucking, so I run as fast as I can, so I get it over with,” Vazquez said.

While they didn’t win any of other events, their lead ensured they didn’t need another win to secure their first place finish.

The 41st Fires Brigade Chaplain, Maj. Alan Irizarry said he thought it was beautiful to see how everybody on the teams came together during each event. The soldiers were supporting, motivating and coaching each other and that was the main goal of the occasion.

“Everyone realizes everyone’s weaknesses and strengths, and we gave each other advice,” said Spc. Alex Garcia, a multiple launch rocket system operations and fire direction specialist and a member of the winning team.

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