Ready, resilient engineers compete for title of ‘Best Squad’

| October 30, 2015 | 0 Comments
Observers/controllers validate each squad’s tactical proficiency in all events during the 84th Eng. Bn. Best Squad Competition, while ensuring each member performs in a safe manner on Schofield Barracks, Oct. 20. (Courtesy photo)

Observers/controllers validate each squad’s tactical proficiency in all events during the 84th Eng. Bn. Best Squad Competition, while ensuring each member performs in a safe manner on Schofield Barracks, Oct. 20. (Courtesy photo)

Story and photo by
1st Lt. Angela Smith
130th Engineer Brigade
8th Theater Sustainment Command

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — As the squads moved from station-to-station, they accumulated points based on their ability to proficiently complete the tasks ahead of them.

Soldiers battled not only a demanding scoring system, but also muddy terrain and rainy weather, heavy ruck sacks and increasing fatigue while displaying their tactical expertise during the 84th Engineer Battalion’s Best Squad Competition.

This event challenged 30 squads to a five-day graded competition, testing them on their ability to be agile and adaptive while performing basic Soldier skills, such as reacting to a chemical environment, establishing defensive positions, navigating across terrain, establishing and maintaining communications, assembling and utilizing weapon systems, and more.

Each squad participating in the 84th Engineer Brigade Best Squad Competition performs physical readiness training (PRT) exercises prior to their "stress shoot" on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Oct. 15, 2015. A stress shoot is conducted to test a Soldier's ability to shoot a weapon under realistic physical fatigue they may face during battle. This is one of many events throughout the competition that focused on Soldier's training as they fight. These events were designed to help evaluate the unit's readiness to operate in a tactical environment while providing leadership training to Soldiers, which allowed them to constantly learn, adapt, and build camaraderie amongst their teams. (Courtesy photo)

Each squad participating in the 84th Engineer Brigade Best Squad Competition performs physical readiness training (PRT) exercises prior to their “stress shoot” on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Oct. 15, 2015. A stress shoot is conducted to test a Soldier’s ability to shoot a weapon under realistic physical fatigue they may face during battle. This is one of many events throughout the competition that focused on Soldier’s training as they fight. These events were designed to help evaluate the unit’s readiness to operate in a tactical environment while providing leadership training to Soldiers, which allowed them to constantly learn, adapt, and build camaraderie amongst their teams. (Courtesy photo)

These events were designed to help evaluate the unit’s readiness to operate in a tactical environment while providing leadership training to Soldiers, which allowed them to constantly learn, adapt and build camaraderie amongst their teams.

While all squads put out tremendous effort, the 3rd Squad from 2nd Platoon, 523rd Horizontal Eng. Company, 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, came out on top.

“We were able to win because we all stayed motivated,” said Spc. Cody Thompson. “We used team cohesion and grew to love each other during some of the difficult phases.”

During the competition, the winning squad provided its secret for success. It assigned a role to each member and that person was responsible for being a subject matter expert on that task.

Spc. Nelson Goehle, a member of the winning squad from the 84th Engineer Battalion Best Squad Competition, is awarded the Army Commendation Medal after participating in a five-day graded competition on basic Soldier skills on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Oct. 16, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Spc. Nelson Goehle, a member of the winning squad from the 84th Engineer Battalion Best Squad Competition, is awarded the Army Commendation Medal after participating in a five-day graded competition on basic Soldier skills on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Oct. 16, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Members of the squad were Sgt. Brandon Ernest, the squad leader; and Sgt. Mauricio Moran, Sgt. Ethan Williams, Sgt. Vincent Kennedy, Spc. Nelson Goehle, Spc. Jesse Shelley, Spc. Alexandro Jimenez, Spc. Jamel Edwards and Spc. Cody Thompson. All members described the competition as a team building, treacherous and humbling experience.

The event concluded with a ceremony where the winning squad received kudos from its leadership, and each member was awarded an Army Commendation Medal.

“The Soldiers and squad leaders of each team learned a lot from the Best Squad Competition,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Ganacias, the senior enlisted adviser for the 84th. “Their weaknesses and their strengths were tested during the five-day event. Each squad will use the skills and lessons learned from this event to enhance their squads during future events with the 84th Eng. Bn. and future units.”

(Note: Smith is the unit public affairs fepresentative for 130th Eng.)

The winning squad, 3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon, 523rd Horizontal Engineer Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, stands before their seniors, peers and subordinates at the 84th Engineer Brigade Best Squad Competition award ceremony held on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Oct. 16, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

The winning squad, 3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon, 523rd Horizontal Engineer Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, stands before their seniors, peers and subordinates at the 84th Engineer Brigade Best Squad Competition award ceremony held on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Oct. 16, 2015. (Courtesy photo)

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