The Maryland Army National Guard’s 104th Area Support Medical Company conducts it’s first Medical Warrior Challenge competition on Sept. 12, 2015, to build teamwork and strengthen esprit de corps within the unit. The competition takes place at Camp Fretterd Military Reservation near Reisterstown, Md., and includes a 500-group push-up event, 9-line medevacs, medical scenarios, sked litter obstacle course, land navigation, and road march.
Soldiers participate in the sked litter obstacle course to move full MRE boxes, ammo cans, and water containers up a hill and back down. All while not dropping anything and doing it as a team.
“Towards the end, when we had the downpour, we saw that their times were 6 or 7 minutes faster then the teams who had the dryer conditions,” said 1st Lt. Kristen Santos, sked litter obstacle course grader. “They fought through it and continued to push through.”
Teamwork is a major component of the challenge, each team had to complete 500 push ups in the shortest time possible. Team lead position were assigned to junior noncommissioned officers so they could gain experience.
“Not only do you have to respect people at a higher rank but you respect the junior enlisted as well,” said Sgt. Anthony Eeccio, emergency care NCO in the treatment platoon. “If a private comes up to you with a better idea that you didn’t think of, you have to respect that, and you can use it.”
Not all of the unit members are medics, health care specialists to be exact, but they all participated as a team in the medical lanes event. Here, the team had to apply tourniquets, having all members engaged in the task.
“We had people who were medics and people who weren’t medics and they had to jump in and remember their CLS (Combat Lifesaver) skills,” said Sgt. Anthony Eeccio. “The fact that they could recall that information is pivotal in our success in the task.”
The teams had to plot land navigation points to the different stations spread out over Camp Fretterd and had to move on foot to each location.
“This was the first time I’ve done a competition like this an I’m highly impressed by it,” Sgt. Chae McFadden, a health care specialist. “It’s a good time for it and a good place for it. If we could do more of them I’d be up for it.”
“It make me proud to be a member of this company just to see how much the soldiers put forth,” said 1st Lt. Kristen Santos. “I know a lot of them weren’t pleased with this kind of challenge, especially given the weather, but they made the most of it.”
In addition to moving from each point on foot, the challenge concluded with a ruck march from the rappel tower to their readiness center where showers and lunch awaited.
“It motivates us as officers and senior noncommissioned officers to be better leadership for our soldiers and give these opportunities to them,” said 1st Lt. Kristen Santos.