Down and Dirty
Ohio's Warrior Challenge prepares new Soldiers for service by putting them to the test and building their character from the ground up.
Held annually at Camp Lazarus in Ohio since it began in 2008, the Warrior Challenge has been a leader in challenging Soldiers mentally and physically, and in teaching them perseverance, teamwork and commitment. Most importantly, it helps instill the belief that they can do anything if they apply themselves. The two-day event pits 10 companies against each other; each team must include at least one female and can include only one member who has completed Basic Combat Training.
The highlight of the Warrior Challenge is its highly demanding obstacle course.
There were 12 mandatory task stations on day one, including first aid, employing hand grenades, measuring distance on a map, employing and recovering Claymore mines, determining grid coordinates, and evaluating casualties.
Day two presented physical and teamwork tests at the obstacle course. When they began describing the course's mud pit, the warriors smiled and laughed. The mud pit has become the most highly anticipated obstacle because the water is often ice-cold.
The other 10 obstacles include paintball marksmanship, rope climbing and monkey bars.
The warriors were visibly excited about the event, but it seemed the event was all about the mud pit. "Dive! Dive! Dive!" cheered the spectators, and the Soldiers did — headfirst, without hesitation. Later they announced the winner, from C Company. The reward: a ride in a Black Hawk helicopter back to their home base in Chillicothe, 70 miles away.
This was the first chopper ride for some of them, and they waved excitedly to their friends below.