‘Yes We Can, Yes We Do’

08/25/2018   By SPC Tynisha Daniel
 

WEST POINT, NY - The difference between success and failure is a team that is guided by great leadership. In the Army, in order for a platoon of Soldiers to be successful, the role of the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) holds great value. 

An NCOs’ mission is to fulfill what the Army calls the “backbone” of the Army.  This means that as an NCO, one must take honor in leading, and investing in, the success of Soldiers following their guidance.

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 3rd Training Battalion, 304th Regiment, 104th Training Division (IET) from Saco, Maine., did just that during the 2018 Sandhurst Competition at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point.

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Competitors representing a West Point navigate through obstacle course on day 2 of the 2018 Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, April 11, 2018. During Sandhurst, 62 teams representing 14 international military academies, four U.S. service academies and eight ROTC programs competed in 11 events throughout a 23-mile course. U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel/released

The 2018 Sandhurst Competition, held April 13-14, challenged the Cadets in military skills such as marksmanship, land navigation, squad assault and other mentally and physically demanding challenges.

“This week our mission has been to provide the external train up for non WestPoint teams,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jonathon Parks, NCOIC of 3/304th, Sandhurst competition.

NCOs’ provided support to West Point cadre in the external train up of international Cadets in preparation for Sandhurst and acted as graders during the competition.

“Our function is to train the teams on the Army standards in events such as the tactical casualty care, give them the ability to zero and familiarize themselves with a M4 and M9 weapons system and learn how some of our obstacle courses work in a simulated environment,” said Parks.

“My role this week is to serve as the NCOIC, we began preparing for Sandhurst in November of last year (2017) and our focus is to train and take care of the competitors this year as subject matter experts, “ said Parks who has acted as the NCOIC of the competition for four years.

Twenty-seven teams representing 14 allied international military academies, nine ROTC programs, and four U.S. service academies arrived five days prior to the competition to receive training by the experienced 3/304th Soldiers.

For four days, the Reserve Soldiers prepared competitors for the competition ahead.

“This is an international and national competition, all of the teams here are different but they are all given the same chances, same training and guidelines in order to fulfill their mission here and participate in the competition. ” explained Spec. Jonathon Dunton,  3/304th.

This year’s competition marks the 10th year that the 3/304th Soldiers have supported the event.

The NCOs’ and enlisted Soldiers of the 3/304ths professionalism and leadership left such an impact on cadre and Cadets competing at West Point over the years, that in last year’s competition they were implored by West Point cadre to act as graders.

Staff Sgt. Douglas Hoefay, 98th Training Division (IET) provides training to competitors on how to properly apply a tourniquet The 2018 Sandhurst Military Skills Competition has begun, held at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, April 13, 2018. During Sandhurst, 27 teams representing 14 international military academies, four U.S. service academies and eight ROTC programs competed in 11 events throughout a 23-mile.

U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel/released

“The 3/304th is a training unit, to have the number of experienced instructors we have here is a huge benefit for us and the competitors. Last year we merely assisted with the competition and this year our influence significantly increased,” said Parks.

For a second year, the Army Reserve Soldiers played an active role as graders during the competition. In 2017 only six Soldiers were graders.

“This year we have 46 Soldiers on the ground which is a testament to how useful we are to the Sandhurst Competition, 42 of the 55 graders on ground here are from 3/304th,” said Parks.

The 3/304ths knowledge and experience in the training of basic combat training (BCT) troops and cadets at West Point provides great exposure to the Army Reserve and its standards.

“We are able to provide training to these Cadets to meet military standards, the Cadets get to see what’s right from an enlisted perspective and they are ready to learn, but there are some challenges,” said Dunton.

Day 1 of the 2018 Sandhurst Military Skills Competition has begun, held at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, April 13, 2018. During Sandhurst, 27 teams representing 14 international military academies, four U.S. service academies and eight ROTC programs competed in 11 events throughout a 23-mile course.

U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel/released

“A lot of the countries have the ability to speak English pretty well, but for some there is a language barrier,” said Parks.

Although each international team was provided a Cadet attending USMA to act as an interpreter for the 3/304th, class scheduling often times kept them away from the competitors. 

This caused a language hurdle for the Soldiers but did not stop them from delivering instruction to the competitors who were determined to learn and do whatever it took to succeed in the competition.

“Yes we can, yes we do,” said a Polish Armed Forces Cadet, competing at Sandhurst. “We are very grateful for the opportunity to be here and are learning a lot.”

Competitors representing Chile work together to navigate through obstacle course on day 2 of the 2018 Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, April 11, 2018. During Sandhurst, 62 teams representing 14 international military academies, four U.S. service academies and eight ROTC programs competed in 11 events throughout a 23-mile course.

U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Tynisha L. Daniel/released

Acting as instructors and evaluators to Cadets was just one of the perks to being a part of the Sandhurst competition cadre.  The event also served as a portion of their  annual Extended Combat Training (ECT).

Sandhurst acts as a refresher to the Army Reserve Soldiers, preparing them for their visit to West Point during the summer where they train and mold future leaders attending the USMA.

The opportunity to attend and play part in Sandhurst gives Soldiers a better understanding of how to train cadets and prepare the future of the military, it also provides additional training to international allies and strengthens relationships.

Since 1967 the Sandhurst competition has enhanced the professional development and military excellence in Soldier skills of today’s military and allies of tomorrow.

“It’s not so much about the competition being here, it’s about continuing to build friendship amongst our allies, we are building bonds and strengthening the Army as a team,” said Dunton.

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The Griffon Summer 2018

Vol. 42.2 | Summer 2018

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

 






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