Strengthening Ties, Strengthening Soldiers


FT. MEADE, Md. — NCOs from the 2nd Battalion, 317th Regiment acted as instructors and supervisors for the 335th Signal Command Best Warrior Competition from April 14-19. The Drill Sergeants from 2-317th included Sgt.1st Class Christopher Spencer, Sgt. 1st Class Gene Lilly, and Sergeant Leslie Wertz. Master Sgt. Anthony Childs also assisted as an advisor and supervisor for the event. Major events for the competition included the Army Physical Fitness Test, an obstacle course, land navigation, M4 rifle qualification, M9 pistol qualification, and a 10-mile ruck march.

The first event of the competition was the Army Physical Fitness Test. The push-up and sit-up events were conducted in the Gaffney Physical Fitness center with the Drill Sergeants serving as graders.

The next main event was the obstacle course. The course, maintained and overseen by the Marine Corps, was a tough test for the strength and endurance of the competitors. Marine Corps cadre demonstrated the course and several key techniques to rope climbing. After the demonstrations, the competitors were allowed to run through the course and practice the obstacles before the competition. The competitors then ran the course head-to-head and competed for time. A medic and plenty of cadre were available to both cheer the competitors on and ensure their safety.


For land navigation, competitors were tasked with finding 3-5 points on a small course near the range complex on Ft. Meade. Weather and the swampy, wet terrain combined to make  the course extra challenging for competitors. Temperatures were in the low 40s and it rained on and off during the event. Throughout the event, the drill sergeants of 2-317 covered the course as roving safeties.

On range day, the competitors were first scheduled to test their abilities and show proficiency in grouping, zeroing, and qualifying with an M4. Despite some logistical issues, the cadre from the 2-317th made sure every competitor had a chance to complete their tasks. Next, the competitors were tasked with firing their M4s while using Nuclear Biological Chemical Protection masks. Afterwards, Drill Sergeant Lilly gave a very detailed, informational class on the M9 Beretta pistol to the competitors, many of whom had never used the weapon system before.

The last major event scheduled for the competition was a 10-mile ruck march which unfortunately needed to be shortened to approximately 10-kilometers after serious safety concerns due to high traffic volume became apparent.  Despite the challenges, Soldiers and cadre took care to avoid any serious incidents throughout the march.

Overall, despite obstacles and setbacks, the competition was a complete success. The drill sergeants and senior NCOs from the 2-317th provided invaluable support and added valuable experience to the mission and helped ensure its completion in the most effective, safe way possible. The mission strengthened the ties between 335th and 2-317th and showed the value of the ongoing partnership between the two organizations.

Live Fire Buddy

SSG Asay of the 3rd/304th IN REG, Bravo company, instructs the demonstration squad on safety procedures as the Beach Master for the buddy-team live fire range at West Point, NY on 19 May 2018. The 3/304th participated in validation of their lanes for their upcoming Extended Combat Training. Lanes include buddy-team live fire, hand grenades, and crew-served weapons. This lane will be run at Cadet Basic Training (CBT) and teaches West Point Cadets how to effectively maneuver in teams of two while practicing taking cover during such movements. Cadets will start off attempting to navigate the range using blank ammunition then move to simulation rounds while lane safeties determine if cadets possess the necessary skills or require additional training.


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