FORT HOOD, Texas – The 1st Cavalry Division hosted the first Best Squad Competition on Fort Hood, in order to evaluate competitors and select the best team to represent the 1st Cavalry Division at the III Corps competition from May 9 – 11.
The competition began with seven teams being assessed on their appearance, physical readiness, marksmanship ability, depth of knowledge, and their ability to perform a wide range of tactical and technical common skill subjects.
“The Soldiers showed a ton of heart,” said Master Sgt. Jose Roldan, Best Squad Competition non-commissioned officer in charge. “I could see it in their eyes that they were physically and mentally challenged operating under sleep deprivation, but they all pulled through and shined bright.”
2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, were the overall winners of the competition, and will now move up to the III Corps Best Squad Competition that will be held this summer.
“The biggest challenge during the competition was appropriately managing our output,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Fedorchenko, platoon sergeant, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. “I looked at the competition as a multi-day combat operation where we would be in a sustained fight for its entirety, and my goal was for the team to finish the last event as strong as we finished the first.”
Troopers were faced with challenges consistently from the start of the competition to the very end.
“Some of the biggest challenges we faced were fatigue, heat and our mental fortitude,” said Sgt. Alejandro Calvin, S1 non-commissioned officer, 553rd Division Sustainment Support Battalion, Sustainment Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division.
One of the biggest factors in this competition was teamwork and the Troopers showed that consistently throughout the entirety of the competition.
“What surprised me the most was the junior Soldiers proficiency at the tasks,” said Staff Sgt. Dylan Eby, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear lane evaluator. “At times taking the lead and rallying their team to push through and successfully complete the lane.”
Troopers were pushed to their limits as they were able to put all prior tactical training to use and efficiently perform the task at hand.
“The competition made me a better leader because the Soldiers not only relied on myself for answers but also motivation,” said Calvin. “Even though none of us were completely prepared for this competition, a good mindset goes a long way.”