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A platoon of Soldiers from the 108th Quartermaster Company at Fort Lee team up to pull a 5,200-pound Humvee across a motor pool parking lot during a Jan. 17 physical training competition that promoted teamwork, Army values and leader development. (Contributed Photo)

A 108th Quartermaster Company competition at Fort Lee last week gave assigned Soldiers in the unit a chance to prove who is strongest and most disciplined. The Jan. 17 physical training event also promoted teamwork, instilled Army values like honor and integrity, and enabled the Soldiers to lead each other and motivate their peers.

“It gave us the opportunity to have some friendly platoon competition and come together as a unit,” said Sgt. Joel Jimenez, 3rd platoon sergeant. “It was also a chance to assess our Soldiers’ strengths.”

The competition incorporated a series of physically demanding tasks like running as a group with sandbags and pulling a military vehicle across a parking lot. Winning was not based on how quickly the obstacles were completed, but the ability of a platoon to perform as a team to successfully overcome each challenge and finish together.

As platoons raced to the first station, they were each given two ammunition cans (weighing roughly 10-pounds) to carry for about 1 mile. Working together, the Soldiers each took a turn at carrying the extra load, giving others a chance to regain their strength before reaching the next challenge.

At station two, the platoons were handed two sandbags in addition to the ammo cans to carry another 2 miles. At this point, the future leaders of the Army came forward as privates first class were heard shouting words of encouragement to others in their ranks. “I got you … pass the sandbag, pass the ammo can … I got you!” became the mantra that echoed through the formations.

Reaching the 3-mile marker, the Soldiers worked together to carry a stretcher bearing one of their own, simulating a real-life combat situation for the platoons. Despite the physical demands of the first three events, the troops remained motivated and quickly reached the final task – pulling a 5,200-pound Humvee for 100 meters in the company motor pool.

“I am very proud of the way these Soldiers relied on one another to complete these tasks,” said 1st Sgt. Jason Johnson, the company’s lead NCO. “Running nearly four miles while carrying the ammo cans, sandbags and a first aid litter pushed every Soldier’s physical strength to the limit, but they kept working together to finish strong.”

Platoons had to devise their own plan and their own rotation method in order to make sure they made it through the entire course, Johnson also noted. A well-used military saying is that “each platoon is as strong as its slowest (or weakest) person,” and this competition was a testament to the power of motivation and determination that Soldiers share with each other.

“The first sergeant and I have some of the best Soldiers on Fort Lee, and our new troops are following our lead,” said Capt. Milena Williams, 108th QM Co. commander.

Working together to reach a common goal and competing on a platoon level further strengthens bonds between Soldiers and gives them a chance to see the strengths of their comrades, she added.

“I think there is more personality in a platoon,” Williams said, “the smaller the group, the greater the pride.”

Second platoon was declared the overall winner of the competition. The group was presented a trophy that will be displayed in their company area and the bragging rights that come along with it. The 108th is a petroleum and water company assigned to the 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion at Fort Lee.