Challenge introduces spouses to life as Soldier
First Sgt. Brandon Heath leads the team with Co. C, 1st Bn., 63rd Armor Regt. to its first event during the Dragon Spouse Challenge Sept. 21. The team from the battalion’s Company B earned top honors at the event that gave spouses a little taste of Soldier life. Photo by: Mollie Miller, 1ST INF. DIV.
Story by: Mollie Miller
1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Spouses of Soldiers assigned to 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division proved there is "no mission too difficult" for any member of the "Big Red One" team as they tackled the obstacles of the Dragon Spouse Challenge Sept. 21 at Fort Riley.
The challenge was hosted by 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd ABCT and featured events that tested everything from the spouses' agility and throwing ability to their knowledge of unit history. The team representing Company B, 1st Bn., 63rd Armor Regt., took home top honors.
"The events we picked were all about building good teams," said 2nd Lt. Charlie Gerkin, Dragon Spouse Challenge coordinator. "These leadership course obstacles are very effective team builders."
The leadership course obstacles found the battalion's four spouse teams slinging ammo cans, rolling barrels and building ladders all while moving and communicating as Soldiers do. Joined by Soldier-mentors and graders as well as a few tiny cheerleaders, each team made their way through obstacles like the "Gorge of Doom."
The leadership course obstacles weren't the only events featured during the challenge. The teams also were required to complete a react to fire lane, evaluate and move a "wounded" teammate, locate points on a map, accurately throw a grenade, and disassemble and assemble a variety of weapons.
At the end of the day's events, the team from Company B, 1st Bn., 63rd Armor Regt., took home top honors.
"The weapons assembly and disassembly was the hardest part, definitely the hardest to master," said Kersten Santoleri.
Santoleri, who arrived at the unit with her husband, Sgt. Adam Santoleri from Fort Polk, La., just five weeks ago, said she was excited to have the opportunity to meet some new friends so soon after getting to Fort Riley.
"This has made me feel a lot more at home," she said. "I've made a lot of great new friends."
Senior Family readiness group Advisor Karen Wolter said the Spouse Challenge was all about making people like Kersten feel more at home not only at Fort Riley but in the "Dragon" Battalion as well.
"We really wanted to build a good team, and we wanted the team to be not just the Soldiers but the Families, too," she said. "As a unit, we are more than just co-workers. We have each other – we are Family."