- Posted January 10, 2014 by
Camp Samoud, Kuwait
8 teams, 2 countries, 1 course
Soldiers from both nationalities donned helmets and slung M4 carbines around their backs. The war fighting equipment added an extra layer of complexity as the men navigated through the quarter-mile path lined with logs, walls, ropes, ladders, monkey bars and a shallow pool.
“The obstacles weren’t challenging as individual events, but when you put them all together they took a lot more out of you,” said Capt. Thomas Feiter, a 143d ESC Soldier serving as a special victim counsel and legal assistance attorney for Area Support Group-Kuwait.
The 143d ESC led the way when one of its teams volunteered to attack the course first. The half-dozen Soldiers set the pace for their Kuwaiti counterparts with a time of 3 minutes, 16 seconds. The second team brought the inaugural event to a close when its fifth man crossed the finish line at 4 minutes, 20 seconds.
The lead the 143d ESC established at the competition’s outset was short lived when a team of the Kuwait National Guard’s elite antiterrorism unit took first place with a record setting 2 minutes, 17 seconds.
“Our teams did a walk through [of the course] about a week ago, but we didn’t run it until race day,” said Feiter. “It was a mistake we won’t make again.”
Regardless how quickly he completed the course, every American Soldier received a gift bag courtesy of the Kuwait National Guard. The keychains, magnets, notepads and scarves included in each bag all sported the Kuwait National Guard’s insignia.
The race sprouted from the collaborative partnership between the 143d ESC’s civil affairs section and the Kuwait National Guard’s special event coordinators.
“My Kuwaiti partners and I always think outside the box when finding ways for our forces to interact with each other,” said Sgt. 1st Class Cesar A. Rivera, the 143d ESC’s G-9 noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “Pitting American and Kuwaiti troops against one another in a sports arena is not a new idea, but the obstacle course offered a new way to do it.”
“This was the first time we hosted a competition like this between American and Kuwait National Guard soldiers,” said Warrant Officer Khalad Hamad Alhajris through his translator. “This is another great step in strengthening our partnership in a joint training environment.”
As chief of military training and sporting events for the Kuwait National Guard, Alhajris saw first hand on what transpired to turn this novel idea into a successful mission.
“A lot of planning and organizational went into this event,” said Alhajris. “We inspected the course and equipment to ensure the safety of the participants . . . even the referees went through an intense training course to keep the competition fair and safe.”
Both parties plan to host a variety of contests between the Kuwaitis and the U.S. military to include team sports, physical fitness challenges and shooting competitions.
“This obstacle course opened more opportunities for 143d Soldiers to meet with our allies outside of an embassy or conference room,” said Rivera. “The Kuwait National Guard already invited us to return to Camp Samoud and compete in a two-day physical fitness test.