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‘Devil’ Soldiers head to Canada for Worthington Challenge

By Capt. Jonathan T. Camire | 1ST ABCT PUBLIC AFFAIRS | September 22, 2017

     Soldiers from 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, departed for Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, Canada, Sept. 14 to compete for the 2017 Worthington Challenge Sept. 24 to 28.

     The Worthington Challenge is an international competition where armored crews from Canada, Chile, Denmark, Poland and the U.S. test their skills on tanks and armored fighting vehicles through four events — mounted live fire, march and shoot, technical skills and mounted land navigation.

     Competing in this year’s competition is one Bradley Fighting Vehicle crew from 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st ABCT; one Abrams tank crew from 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st ABCT; and one Bradley Fighting Vehicle crew and one Abrams tank crew from 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st ABCT.

     The “Devil” brigade selected the top crews by evaluating gunnery scores, Army physical fitness test scores, M9 and M4 qualification scores and conducting an armor crewman physical proficiency test. The crews with the highest overall scores were selected to represent the 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div.

     “The selection for the best tank and Bradley crews was a six-month process that began during the brigade’s South Korea rotation,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Coughlin, 1st ABCT master gunner. “Once the crews were identified, the selected crews conducted a six-week training program tailored to prepare the crews for the events they will encounter during the competition.”

     During the train-up, the crews conducted M4 and M9 qualification ranges, reflexive fire rges for M4 and M9, tank and Bradley section gunnery, vehicle maintenance, 13 kilometer ruck march and numerous first-aid tasks.

     “The training we have been conducting mirror the events we can expect to see during the competition, said 1st Lt. Thomas Jaeger, platoon leader with, Troop B, 1st Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt. “We have taken every advantage during the train-up to get in peak physical condition and master our tasks.”

     For the competition, the armored crews will be competing using their own equipment, weapon systems and armored vehicles. Prior to their departure, the Soldiers loaded up their equipment and combat platforms for transport to CFB Gagetown.

     The four armored crews from 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div., will be representing the U.S. Army during the competition and are the only U.S. team competing.

     “This is a great honor and accomplishment for my crew,” said Sgt. 1st Class Tad Carson, platoon sergeant with 3rd Bn., 66th Armor Regt. “At this point in my career, I never thought of myself being in such position representing 1st brigade and 1st Infantry Division.”

     Prior to the start of the competition Sept. 24, the U.S. Army crews will train alongside the other participants to familiarize the crews with the Worthington Challenge and learn from the other teams.

     “This competition gives the U.S. Army an opportunity to work side by side with our allies, Chile, Denmark, Poland and Canada, learning each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures said,” Coughlin.