Infantry squads compete for "best trained" honors in the division

FORT A.P. HILL, VA, September 10, 1999 -- Three infantry squads arrived here today to compete in the 29th Infantry Division's Best Squad Competition to vie for the title of "best trained" squad in the division.

The competition is designed to emphasize the fact that squad-level training is one of the division's top training priorities, said Command Sgt. Major Samuel L. Cubbage, the division's senior enlisted soldier.

"The intent of the program is to instill a competitive spirit, build cohesion and provide a training focus at the squad level," Cubbage said.

Each of the division's three brigades held competitions to identify the best squads to send to the division competition. In addition, the competition was open to the division's engineer battalion, cavalry squadron and long range surveillance unit. Each squad had to conform to a standard infantry squad formation, consisting of two four-man fire teams and one squad leader.

Cubbage said the squads will be evaluated on the ability of the squad members to perform Common Task Training tasks on an individual basis and how they perform in a situation training exercise (STX). In that exercise, the squad leader is evaluated on how he performs on pre-combat inspections and troop leading procedures. The squad is then evaluated on how they perform battle drills during the conduct of the STX.

The squads are competing through Saturday afternoon with the winner to be announced Sunday morning.

The squads competing this year are: Co. A, 2-116th Infantry, representing 1st Brigade; Co. A., 1-104th Infantry, representing 26th Brigade; and Co. A, 229th Engineers, representing the engineer battalion.

The winning squad last year was from Co. B, 229th Engineers, in Warrenton. The squad consisted of: Sgt. Alex Warren (squad leader), Sgt. Frank Richo and Sgt. Andrew McMilliam (Team Leaders), Spec. Bret Nungesser, Spec. Luis Naranjo, Spec. Jesse McClanahan, Spec. Brad Pittman, Corp. Jeremy Pope, and Pvt. David Harding.

They competed last August, and Warren said this was the first time 12Bs had been invited to Division Best Squad Competition. The engineers have their own annual sapper competition, which usually is held in Sept.

They found out in June-July 1998 that they would be competing. They set up a training plan and tried to train on infantry tactics. They used their AT to get ready and focused on squad movement tactics and actions on objectives tactics. Warren said they had to be more security conscious and more squad tactics conscious than usual.

Warren said the squad got together a lot to prepare (sometimes a couple of times a week) and at times they were in contact with one another every day.

"We really wanted to at least look good," said Warren. "We didn't think we had a shot."

Why did they win? "Teamwork," said Warren, who is a sales consultant for
American Advertising in Maryland.

Click HERE to view photos from this year's competition.

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This page was last updated September 10, 1999.