Durham, New Hampshire – Cadets assigned to the Wildcat Battalion from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and University of Southern Maine (USM), compete for the annual squad competition at the UNH Campus.
Eight squads competed for the gold prize “One clap and pat on the back”. The competition was in three phases, timed for ten minutes per event: High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMVW) Push, Litter Carry, and Fireman’s Carry. The most challenging event was the HMMWV Push- given a marked course of 30 ft., how many times can a squad push a HMMWV down and back. The three events helped build squad cohesion amongst each squad by motivating individuals to their maximum efforts in order to achieve a common goal, the best squad.
At the start line of the HMMWV push, the anticipation grew in the cadets as they planned their attack on how to get the most repetitions in each ten-minute event before the squad events kicked off. The cadets prepared mentally and physically on how to overcome the obstacle they were about to face. As the horn blew, Cadets stomped their boots into the ground grunting and sounding off as if it was “the running of the bulls” leaving their tracks in the dust, pushing an up armored HMMWV across the parking lot lead the squad to success. As I was the driver in the HMMWV stopping at each cross line, I saw squad cohesion building on the horizon as they all began to struggle at the five minute mark; the going got tough at this point and the so called “wall” came into play. Each soldier fought to the end, encouraging the person to his or her left and right to continue the fight to the end. Some bleed, some had tears, and all sweat through the grime contributing every ounce of muscle in their body to drive the seventeen-ton HMMWV to the finish line.
Third squad from Alpha Company one the competition with 15 repetitions. Each event throughout the competition challenged and developed the squads in a different way, whether they were shouting out a warrior cry or victory chant they overcame the squad competition by converting each others strengths and weaknesses into one cohesive unit. At the end of the day the squads completed their assigned tasks and grew with each other through the pain. The final result of the squad completion is to ensure that the squads know the price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether they win or lose, they have applied the best of themselves to the task at hand.