Rubicon challenges command teams at Fort Jackson

02/07/2017   Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton 108th Training Command - (IET)
 

Just as Julius Caesar passed the point of no return during his fateful crossing of the Rubicon River in 49 B.C., so too did the leadership of the 193rd Infantry Brigade located on Fort Jackson, South Carolina. 

Twenty-six command teams consisting of company commanders, first sergeants, and chaplains throughout the 193rd challenged themselves physically and mentally on Dec. 8-9 during the 2016 Rubicon Command Team Exercise.

The purpose of the exercise according to the event’s organizer, Sgt. Maj. Michael Kelly, 193rd Infantry Brigade operations sergeant major, was to “exercise the leadership and combat skills of the company command teams throughout the brigade while at the same time building esprit de corps among the different groups.”

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A Soldier participating in the Rubicon Command Team Challenge with the 193rd Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, S.C., tries to crawl back in his canoe after capsizing during the boat crossing event, Dec. 9. The boat crossing was the ninth and final event at the Rubicon Command Team Challenge. The challenge was designed to exercise the leadership and combat skills for the company command teams within the 193rd Infantry Brigade, while at the same time building esprit de corps among the different teams. The challenge was held Dec. 8-9, 2016 at Fort Jackson, S.C.

For two days and one night the teams trekked nearly 30 miles during unusually harsh weather conditions to complete nine events. Each event was kept secret from the participants until it was time to complete it. They included a buddy team physical training event, a foot march, the confidence course, and even a river crossing.

Other than bragging rights and the opportunity to build upon the camaraderie within the different command teams, there was no prize for finishing first. But that didn’t stop the participants in the challenge from giving it their all for each and every event.

Soldiers participating in the Rubicon Command Team Challenge with the 193rd Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, S.C., tackle the wall hanger obstacle, Dec. 9. The Rubicon Command Team Challenge was designed to exercise the leadership and combat skills for the company command teams within the 193rd Infantry Brigade, while at the same time building esprit de corps among the different teams. The challenge was held Dec. 8-9, 2016 at Fort Jackson, S.C.

Capt. Brian Kriesel and 1st Sgt. Eric Basile, Commander and First Sergeant, respectively, of the 120th Adjutant General Battalion, 193rd Infantry Brigade, came in first place in the physical readiness training event with a time of 30 minutes and 51 seconds.

While they say they share a confidence in each other’s abilities to stay at the top, they both expressed some reservation about finishing first in the remaining events.

“I feel physically pretty good now but we don’t know what’s coming,” Kriesel said.

Basile added, “The most important thing is am confident with my partner and I think we make a good team. No matter what we’re going to have fun.”

While the brigade has hosted a Rubicon before, Kelly says previous challenges have not been to this scale.

Soldiers participating in the Rubicon Command Team Challenge with the 193rd Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, S.C., finish the confidence course on the second day of the event by hurdling a fire pit, Dec. 9. The Rubicon Command Team Challenge was designed to exercise the leadership and combat skills for the company command teams within the 193rd Infantry Brigade, while at the same time building esprit de corps among the different teams. The challenge was held Dec. 8-9, 2016 at Fort Jackson, S.C.

Capt. Glenn Barrozo, Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 193rd Infantry Brigade, attempts to grab the rope in an effort to complete the Berlin Wall obstacle on the confidence course during the Rubicon Command Team Challenge, Dec. 9. The Rubicon Command Team Challenge was designed to exercise the leadership and combat skills for the company command teams within the 193rd Infantry Brigade, while at the same time building esprit de corps among the different teams. The challenge was held Dec. 8-9, 2016 at Fort Jackson, S.C.

“This is the first one of this kind in the brigade that we know of,” he said. “While we’ve done shorter Rubicon’s before with runs and such, this is the first multiple day event that we’ve done.”

By the time the second day of events rolled around, the mental and physical effects of endless activity combined with the bitter cold were noticeable for just about everyone involved.

“We started out at zero five (5 a.m. EST) Yesterday morning and we’ve been going on for about 30 hours now,” said 1st Sgt. Michael Fletcher, Company D, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment first sergeant.

“My feet are a bit beat up now. In fact they feel like somebody hit them with a hammer!” he said.  “I feel myself starting to get mentally drained and I have been saying stuff that I normally wouldn’t.”

In the end though, for all those making the decision to cross the Rubicon, the event and the comradery that came with it were worthwhile.

“I think overall it’s been a positive experience,” said Fletcher.  “I hope we get some teams from the other brigades on post but I hope to do it again next year.”

 

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The Griffon Summer 2017

Vol. 41.2 | Summer 2017

The Griffon
The Griffon is written and published quarterly in the interest of the 108th National Training Command.
 






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