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NEWS | Dec. 21, 2016

Guardian Challenge builds cohesion, tests skills of ARNORTH Soldiers

U.S. Army North Public Affairs

Two dozen Soldiers assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Battalion, or HHBN, U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston competed in the first Guardian Challenge at JBSA-Camp Bullis Dec. 9.


Twelve two-person teams put their skills to the test as they moved to each event on foot carrying a 30-pound rucksack. The teams competed in a modified Army Physical Fitness Test, or APFT, confidence course, weapons qualification range – firing both, M9 pistol and, M16 rifle – and two medical tasks.


The morning started with a modified APFT. Pushup and sit-up events were extended to four minutes while allowing team members to alternate back and forth until time concluded. During the two-mile run, each team faced disqualification if they were more than five meters from their partner.


“It’s a pretty fun competition. We set the pace for the PT run,” said Pfc. Jasun D. Nava, Military Funeral Honors Platoon, Headquarters Support Company, or HSC, HHBN, Army North.


“We knew the competition would be tough and challenging, but it’s worth the little bit of pain,” said Pvt. 2 Michael A. German, Military Funeral Honors Platoon.


Once done with the fitness test, teams were free to choose which events they wanted to move to next. Some teams felt it was better to move out to the firing range before returning to the confidence course, while other teams did the opposite.


Spc. Chad Lowery and Spc. Victoria Lowery, assigned to HSC, HHBN, Army North, competed in the event as a husband-and-wife team.


“It tested our patience with each other, the events weren’t bad. They were fun,” Chad said.


“I found the confidence course the most challenging,” Victoria added.

“I think it was pretty cool that she was the only female out here,” Chad said. “She just had our baby back in April.”

“It’s hard emotionally, because you want to be as good as the men,” Victoria said. “But obviously they are a bit more physically fit than me.”


“We were happy again after we finished rucking,” Chad added. “I think the rucking and just being with each other made everything better.”


The overall objective of the challenge was to build unit cohesion and esprit de corps. The top three teams received trophies, the first place team was also presented with The Army Achievement Medal and a four-day pass “For this to be our first Guardian Challenge and pulling it together it was pretty good. I had a good time doing it,” said Staff Sgt. Jody T. McIlroy, G2 section, HSC, HHBN, Army North.


“I think it’s a great way to build team comradery and get people out, get them active, get them doing things together – it’s not often we do things like this,” said Staff Sgt. Christian T. Hubbell, G2 section, HSC, HHBN, Army North.


McIlroy and Hubbell were the first place victors of the competition and look to defend their title in the next Guardian Challenge.