Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Highlanders build camaraderie through team challenge

by Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

7/15/2015 - JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- After gathering at 5 a.m., the 128th Aviation Brigade 1st-210th Aviation Regiment started the timer as a U.S. Army Soldier grabbed and shimmied up a thick climbing rope hanging from a pole, beginning the first portion of the Highlander Challenge, July 13, 2015, at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

The challenge, named after the Regiment's insignia, encourages teamwork throughout the 16-part obstacle course, 1-mile litter carry through the woods, .1-mile HUMVEE push, field exercises and a 3.2- mile 35-pound ruck march.

According to event coordinator Staff Sgt. Victor Gonzalez, 128th Avn. Bde., 1st-210th Avn. Regt. Advanced Individual Training instructor, each team had to finish together exemplifying the Highlander's spirit for camaraderie and espirit de corps.

"I think it was important to come up with something where we could show test our limits in endurance and strength while pushing each other to go that extra mile for the team," said Gonzalez of organizing the event.

As instructors with the responsibility to train all enlisted aviation Soldiers, teamwork throughout the unit is imperative and can only be strengthened through team events like the Highlander Challenge, said Gonzalez.

"The cohesiveness displayed today doesn't just happen in environments like this, but in the classroom as well," said Gonzalez. "We all take care of each other as instructors and this is just a way for us to build upon the camaraderie we've already established."

As the Soldiers took their final step of the 3.2-mile ruck march, the culminating event, covered in dirt and sweat, some smiled with a sigh of relief, some reached for a cup of water and all congratulated one another for a job well done as each Soldier empathized with what finishing involved.

The Highlander's commander, who participated alongside his instructors, was proud that his team wanted to participate in an event challenging their physical abilities and hopes to see the event grow in the years to come.

"We have our ever day job in the Army which involves training Soldiers, but at the same time we owe it to ourselves to come together as a team and do a shared challenge event," said Lt. Col. Russ Heidel Jr., 128th Avn. Bde., 1st-210th Avn. Regt. commander. "It's epirit de corps and camaraderie within our own unit, but we would like to open it up as we mature the event to have other units and organizations join us."

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