Iroquois Warriors, as you read this article, our Division is decisively engaged at the Army Training Centers in Fort Benning and Fort Jackson. Our drill sergeants are conducting Infantry One Station Unit Training, Cavalry One Station Unit Training, Basic Combat Training, Chaplin Basic Officer Leader Course, and Navy Individual Augmentee Combat Training. Meanwhile, they are also preparing for the Infantry OSUT expansion and implementation of the new Army Combat Fitness Test. With this high OPTEMPO, I want to take a moment to reflect on this past year – a year that has been filled with many firsts – a year in the Band of Excellence.
Readiness — Over the past year, the Division made great progress in all four of Maj. Gen. McQueen’s pillars of Readiness.
We have a rich history, and I want to thank all the Soldiers, civilians, and families, past and present, for all of their commitment, hard work, and sacrifice to make this Division great!
Safety Readiness: Every company, battalion and brigade in the Division met all of the requirements for Safety Streamers. (We were the first Division in the Training Command to do that!) Family Readiness: 1st Brigade received the 2017 Department of Defense Family Readiness award for the Army Reserve, making them the only unit selected for the entire Army Reserve! Combat Readiness: The Division increased drill sergeant production over 66 percent from FY17, which included the first two female Infantry Soldiers (Sgt. Michelle Alvarado and Sgt. Candice Beebe) in the Army. Soldier Readiness: The Division significantly improved all of its key readiness indicators (MRC, DRC, OERs, NCOERs, APFT, Weapons) and is at the top of the 108th Training Command.
Iroquois Challenge — Set in the rolling hills and towering pines of Fort Benning, Georgia, Soldiers of the 98th Division participated in the inaugural 98th Division “Iroquois Challenge” Field Training Exercise in July. The “Iroquois Challenge” is a grueling Commanders Cup Competition that tests the warrior task and battle drill proficiency of five-Soldier teams from each battalion in the Division through a series of scenario-driven, mission-oriented, Situational Training Exercise (STX) lanes. Key events included tactical air movement in UH-60 Black Hawks, patrol base operations, 6-mile ruck march, 100-yard litter carry, Stress Shoot, movement to contact (Paint Ball) STX lane, combat casualty care STX lane, and weapon (M18 Claymore Mine, M136 (AT-4), M240B Machine Gun, and Hand Grenade) STX lanes. At the end of the challenge, fhe five-man team from 3-330th Infantry captured first place.
Division 100th Anniversary — The 98th Division hosted its Centennial Celebration July 17-21, 2018 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The Centennial Celebration included a Commanders Cup Competition (Iroquois Challenge), 5K Division Run, and a Centennial Dining Out. All of the events celebrated the history and lineage of the Division and included currently serving, alumni, family members, and our Fort Benning partners. More than 200 of those people attended the Centennial Dining Out, which was held at the historic Columbus Ironworks. Events at the Dining Out included an exceptionally moving tribute to the Fallen Soldiers of the Division (Lt. Col. Terrence K. Crowe, Master Sgt. Paul D. Karpowich, Sgt. 1st Class Robert V. Derenda, Staff Sgt. Christopher W. Dill, and Sgt. Lawrence A. Roukey), a video tribute, guest speaker – Maj. Gen. Dan Christian, and the presentation of the Iroquois Challenge awards.
German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency (GAFPB) – The 98th Division worked with 1-46 Infantry to plan and execute the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency (GAFPB) qualification at Fort Benning in November. The goal of conducting the GAFPB was to test physical fitness and individual Soldier skills, maintain esprit de corps, and to establish a working relationship with fellow cadre and German counterparts here on Fort Benning for future military operations. Key events included M9 pistol qualification, 12k-foot march (33lb ruck), 100-meter swim, 1,000-meter run, flex arm hang, and sprints. 35 Soldiers in the Division participated in the event. Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Priest and I were able to conduct the foot march with our competing Soldiers.
With this high OPTEMPO, it is easy to miss how much has happened and how far we have come. We have a rich history, and I want to thank all the Soldiers, civilians, and families, past and present, for all of their commitment, hard work, and sacrifice to make this Division great!
Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Lisa M Litchfield, Public Affairs Office and Maj. Michelle Lunato, 98th Training Division (IET) PAO