FORT RILEY, Kan. — The 172nd Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Company from Fort Hood, attached to the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade at Fort Riley, recently completed a skill level 10 challenge dubbed Gladiator Crucible, lasting from late January through the middle of February at various training sites on Fort Riley.
According to 1st Lt. Brandon Loredo, executive officer for the 172nd CBRN Company, the tasks assigned to the squads were basic in nature but designed to push the teams’ endurance and test their readiness.
“The CBRN station was very valuable for our Soldiers,” Loredo said. “While we are a CBRN unit and have more experience with more specialized CBRN training, participating in more baseline CBRN tasks allows us to stay accountable to basic tasks for junior Soldiers and leaders to build upon.”
For this training event, the unit had planned for one location but were unable to obtain the training area. The company commander, Capt. Alvin Yasay, made the decision to move the training to an unused golf course area. This change caused some of the Soldiers, and leaders, to adapt and overcome to their new environment.
Sgt. Whitni Gray, noncommissioned officer in charge for the CBRN training, believes that the change of venue tested the unit’s ability to adapt and overcome a situation.
“I’ve learned how resilient, competitive and determined to complete tasks the Soldiers are that we have in our ranks,” Gray said.
The unit performed multiple events from late January to early February that took them to various field training locations on Fort Riley, one of which happened to be the Improvised Explosive Device training site. During this portion of the crucible, platoon-size elements used metal detectors to search for possible IED’s while traversing through a training site.
Loredo said that this and other items would be nice to incorporate into their regular training regimen.
“In the future, I would like to add more scenarios where the team has less of a planned navigation route,” Loredo said. “This time, we dictated the route they would take. I think it would be interesting to allow the teams to conduct their own route planning and movements and evaluate how it affects the results of the exercise.”
In the end, Gray summarized the crucible in the form of a mission command statement.
“In the long run, practicing these 10 level drills, at all levels and not just the lowest, will bring mutual trust within our squads and platoons.”