‘Mustangs’ challenges platoon leaders, sergeants

| August 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

Soldiers assigned to 325th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, formulate a plan to cross the obstacle with a box of supplies at the Leadership Reaction Course on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Aug. 14, 2017. The Soldiers participated in the Luzon Challenge to develop team building and esprit de corps among platoon leaders, platoon sergeants and future platoon leaders. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Story and photo by
Staff Sgt. Armando Limon
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Soldiers heaved heavy boards strapped with their belts at an obstacle lane at the Leadership Reaction Course, here.

Only one Soldier was able to see the hurdle while the rest of the team stood behind, listening carefully to the instruction given to bridge the obstacle.

Platoon leaders, platoon sergeants and future platoon sergeants from 325th Brigade Support Battalion, “Mustangs,” 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, participated in the Luzon Challenge, Aug. 14-16, to improve on team building, communication and leadership skills.

First Lt. Joseph Venderveldt, assigned to 325th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, crawls out of a tunnel and onto an improvised bridge at the Leadership Reaction Course on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Aug. 14, 2017. The Soldiers participated in the Luzon Challenge to develop team building and esprit de corps among platoon leaders, platoon sergeants and future platoon leaders. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

“The Leadership Reaction Course is the second station of our Luzon Challenge going on this week,” said Capt. Tyler Thornton, plans officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 325th BSB. “What the Luzon Challenge is, it’s a kind of a mix of a Mungadai Challenge that the brigade put on last year, challenging all of the company commanders, and also our Mustang leadership development program, which usually targets the young officers and NCOs (noncommissioned officers). This is a hybrid of the two.”

“This morning they started off with a ruck march down to the PT (physical training) test,” Thornton said. “They took a PT test in gear, and then rucked down here to the Leadership Reaction Course.”

First Lt. Paul Owens, assigned to 325th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, fires at a target at an M4 range on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Aug. 15, 2017. The Soldiers participated in the Luzon Challenge to develop team building and esprit de corps among platoon leaders, platoon sergeants and future platoon leaders. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Afterwards, the Soldiers conducted marksmanship training at the range, ruck marched to and from location, finishing with an air movement into East Range. Once at East Range, the Soldiers would conduct medical evacuations and sling loads, Thornton said.
Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Candelario, operations NCO for HHC, 325th BSB, stated the Luzon Challenge is one the division’s World War II successes.

“The intent is trying to build leaders so that they can in turn transition all their knowledge down to their Soldiers,” Candelario said.

Second Lt. Michael Aliff, transportation platoon leader, Co. A, 325th BSB, was one of the Soldiers in his team at the LRC working through an obstacle. Aliff was lifted into an elevated tunnel to give guidance on how to bridge an obstacle, so a box of supplies could be carried across the makeshift bridge.

“It was challenging,” he said, after attempting the challenge. “It was really tough to communicate when only one person can see what’s going on, but it was really fun to see how everyone else at the bottom could ask questions and get a great picture of what the obstacle does look like.

“I learned that perspective is everything, and … you can’t clearly communicate what you see to someone who can’t see it,” he said. “There’s an accomplishable mission, an obstacle that you can’t get past, so you have to do your best work through it.”

Sgt. Reginald Wilson, fire control repairer, Co. B, 325th BSB, said he enjoyed the team-oriented aspect of the exercise.

“Mostly, it takes teamwork to do most of the stuff,” Wilson said. “Team cohesion and having a good relationship and bond with your teammates makes getting through it possible. Good team cohesion and learning things from new people that you don’t normally work with adds another perspective to it.”

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Category: News, Training

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