FORT HOOD, Texas (FOX 44) — Squadrons from around the country are on Fort Hood this week, competing to get to the final level of competition, the U.S. Army Best Squad Competition.
Today, squads were tasked with extracting an injured soldier while protecting themselves and then getting hit with a mass of wounded individuals.
“We ran the medical lane today,” Sgt. Christen Owens said, the NCOIC for the Fort Hood Medical Training Center. “So you got to see competitors come in. They got assessed on their group skills of being able to take a high value target out of a dangerous situation and extract into a HLZ, which is a helicopter landing zone.”
The squad from the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state were the first through the course today.
After three days of challenges, their squad is feeling good but say the weather has been their biggest challenge.
“We’ve been hard mentally,” Spc. Cole Sweeney said. “I think we’re physically there. It’s just the heat adds a whole other aspect to it that we’re not used to. But, you know, I think I think we got this I think we can keep pushing and get up there.”
To prepare, the squad says they have to look at challenges they’ve faced in the previous competitions, the tactics they used, and what they need to change to better work together.
“You know, we woke up a little bit earlier and kind of went over breaching techniques and stuff we wanted to implement because we didn’t really know what we were going into,” Sweeney said. “But we knew that from prior competitions and prior stuff we have been doing through this comp that we’re going to need it. So we went through we implemented today and went really smooth for the first time.”
The squad says they are proud of how far they’ve come and how well they are handling the challenges they’re facing this week.
“I’m just mostly proud of the overall morale that we’ve been keeping up,” Sgt. Derek Nicoletti said. “We haven’t been giving up. We’ve been trying our absolute hardest. We’ve been doing our best. We’ve been kicking butt, taking names.”
Squads will continue challenges on Thursday and the winners will be announced Friday.