Soldiers of A Company, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, pushed themselves to their limits Jan. 9 during the unit’s PT Challenge.
The “Immortals” were required to complete strenuous physical and mental tests, some of which took them to snow-covered trails. While the PT Challenge was at first jokingly called the “Immortal Quadrillathon,” it later became the official title of the grueling event because it was a quadrathlon-style competition with four separate and demanding events.
“Today will test your mettle,” 2nd Lt. Michael White, one of the leaders who helped plan and execute the event, said to the Soldiers before the challenge.
“We will see the snowshoe event stretch some of you to your limits,” White warned.
Soldiers laughed at his comment, but they would not be laughing at the end of the day.
Soldiers were grouped into seven- to 10-man teams, who would strive to earn points for completing each of the tests.
The first event was a Ranger Physical Fitness Test, which consisted of two minutes of push-ups and sit-ups, a five-mile run and pull-ups. Upon completion, teams immediately transitioned to the next event, a written examination that tested their land navigation skills and knowledge.
After the exam, teams put on their ruck sacks, which were weighed down with the winter packing list, snowshoes and hiked six miles. The course included a two-and-a-half-mile segment that required use of snowshoes to negotiate the rugged, snowy terrain.
The final test required the teams to disassemble and assemble a variety of weapons, including the M-4 rifle, M-249 squad automatic rifle and the M-240 machine gun.
Because the competition was so fierce, a single mistake could be the difference between winning and losing.
“I’m so tired I just can’t think right now!” remarked Pfc. Ken Walker as he shambled from the five-mile run and into the classroom to take the written exam.
Staff Sgt. John Kalo summarized the grueling road march that took his team through waist-deep snow drifts by saying, “That? Not fun.”
Exhausted, cold and still relentlessly competitive, Soldiers eagerly awaited the results of the PT Challenge. Assembled in the company bay, 1st Sgt. Chad King congratulated the company on completing the challenge without any fall-outs and announced the winners.
The overall winner of the challenge earned bragging rights, as well as a massive skull trophy nicknamed “El Guapo, the Handsome.” Weapons Squad from 1st Platoon, led by Staff Sgt. Kristopher Timms, was named the victor with a score of 585 points. First Platoon will keep the trophy until the next PT Challenge, when El Guapo will once again be up for grabs.
“We will continue to build the team to become more lethal and agile every day,” said Capt. Ryan David, company commander. “This type of training allows us to improve our weaknesses and stay ready for whatever mission (lies) ahead.”
Through events such as the Quadrillathon, Immortal Soldiers routinely push themselves to their physical limits, consistently aspiring to uphold the 10th Mountain Division (LI) motto of “Climb to Glory!”