205th MI hosts innovative Black History Month event

| March 6, 2015 | 0 Comments
Lt. Col. Heidi Urben, commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Alex Lashendock, senior enlisted adviser, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., congratulate the winning team from Company C, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., during the African American/Black History Month Observance Orienteering and Trivia physical training event. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Thomas Collins, 500th MI Bde. Public Affairs)

Lt. Col. Heidi Urben, commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Alex Lashendock, senior enlisted adviser, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., congratulate the winning team from Company C, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., during the African American/Black History Month Observance Orienteering and Trivia physical training event. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Thomas Collins, 500th MI Bde. Public Affairs)

Staff Sgt. Thomas G. Collins and Capt. George L. Gurrola
500th Military Intelligence Brigade

FORT SHAFTER — Soldiers, civilians and families from around U.S. Army-Hawaii area south participated in the first ever African-American/Black History Month Observance Orienteering and Trivia physical training event, here, Feb. 26.

The event honored the sacrifices and contributions African-Americans have made in support of our Army and our nation in a fresh and innovative way.

This year’s nationwide theme is “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture.”

The observance, sponsored by the 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade, placed a unique twist on how individuals celebrate and remember Black History Month.

“Today, we wanted to host a fun and educational event where we could bring out some team competition and esprit de corps in honor of Black History Month for all of the USARHAW area of operations south and the Fort Shafter area,” said Lt. Col. Heidi Urben, commander, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde. “It was a team-building competition incorporating a little bit of trivia and education for all the teams, and it was a great way to start the morning.”

Sara Sealy and Kristen Gurrola, both spouses from the 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., receive an educational brief from Sgt. Mary Friedel, Company C, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., as part of the African American/Black History Month Observance Orienteering and Trivia physical training event. At each station, participants answered trivia questions centered on various categories including entertainment, sports and leisure, science, arts and literature, and history. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Thomas Collins, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs)

Sara Sealy and Kristen Gurrola, both spouses from the 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., receive an educational brief from Sgt. Mary Friedel, Company C, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., as part of the African American/Black History Month Observance Orienteering and Trivia physical training event. At each station, participants answered trivia questions centered on various categories including entertainment, sports and leisure, science, arts and literature, and history. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Thomas Collins, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs)

Teams from various units and organizations, including the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, 500th MI Bde., 8th Theater Sustainment Command, and the U.S. Army-Pacific Information Management section, participated in the event.

The participation and support from units across Oahu truly captured the “One Team” concept.

“It was nice to see involvement from across Fort Shafter, and I think we had about 20 teams of 10 individuals each participating,” said Urben. “It was a real good turnout.”

The event kicked off with comments made by Maj. Nicole Ussery, operations officer, 205th MI Bn, 500th MI Bde., who stressed the importance of Black History Month.

“In 1976,” she said, “Negro History Week became Black History Month and encouraged the public to seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of African-Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history. Today’s festivities will do just that! The physically and mentally challenging event will celebrate the significant contributions of African-Americans over the course of the past century.”

Chaplain (Capt.) Robert Cargel of 205th MI Bn., gave the invocation, quoting Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

“Help us to walk together, pray together, sing together, and live together until that day when all God’s children, black, white, red, brown and yellow, will rejoice in one common bond of humanity,” he quoted.

After the invocation, teams raced in various directions negotiating Fort Shafter and heading to one of five stations. At each station, participants answered trivia questions centered on various categories, including entertainment, sports and leisure, science, arts and literature, and history.

“We wanted something that would be creative, capture our Soldiers’ interest and challenge them a little bit mentally and physically,” said Urben. “We incorporated education at each station involving trivia so that participants could better appreciate the contributions of African-Americans of the past century, and to do so in a PT event.”

Along with gaining a higher knowledge of African-American history, the team with the fastest time and who answered the most trivia questions correctly, won the event.

Soldiers from U.S. Army-Pacific Information Management Office listen to a brief from Pfc. Jesse Hendren, Company C, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., as part of the African American/Black History Month Observance Orienteering and Trivia physical training event. At each station, participants answered trivia questions centered on various categories including entertainment, sports and leisure, science, arts and literature, and history. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Thomas Collins, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs)

Soldiers from U.S. Army-Pacific Information Management Office listen to a brief from Pfc. Jesse Hendren, Company C, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., as part of the African American/Black History Month Observance Orienteering and Trivia physical training event. At each station, participants answered trivia questions centered on various categories including entertainment, sports and leisure, science, arts and literature, and history. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Thomas Collins, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs)

The team from Company C, 205th MI Bn., was recognized for having the top score.

“I got a lot out of this event, especially esprit de corps,” said Pfc. Johnathan Johnson, Company C, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde. “It made me feel pretty good to represent my company by winning the event.”

In addition to competing in the event, the observance was a way to make people look at Black History Month a little differently.

“No one likes ‘death by PowerPoint,’ and an event like this really just throws you in there and gives you a lot more from it because you have to participate,” said Johnson. “You just get more out of it than sitting in front of a screen.”

This event wasn’t all about the participants either. The Soldiers who coordinated, resourced and ran the stations got something out of it, too.

“It makes me smile to see the military observing Black History Month. This was a very fun and creative way to educate Soldiers of all levels on Black History,” said Spc. Cedric Owens, from Decatur, Georgia, a human intelligence analyst with 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde.

“Learning more about the history of African-Americans in the field of science was surprising. I had no idea those highlighted played such an important role,” said Staff Sgt. Kadetra Robinson, assistant communications custodian, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde.

“It makes me immensely proud of our Soldiers, because it was fun to watch the preparation for this event and how excited they got about putting their individual stations together, the research for their individual areas and how they learned in the process,” said Urben. “This was probably the most rewarding part of it for me and then to see the event go off without a hitch was really gratifying.”

“This is one of the best observances I have seen,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Bryant Lambert, senior enlisted adviser, USARPAC. “Participants definitely were physically challenged. Awesome event.”

(Note: Collins works with 500th MI Bde. Public Affairs and Gurrola is the commander, HHD, 205th MI Bn.)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Education, News, Observances

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *