Squads compete for Iron Unit title

Squads compete for Iron Unit title

It's a test of strength, a test of endurance, and a test of teamwork.

Dragging a 180 pound soldier on a tarmac across Barton Field and back is just one of the grueling exercises troops fight through in Fort Gordon's annual BOSS Iron Unit Competition.

"It's harder than last year. I did not imagine or expect it to be like this," said Kellie Castillo, representing the US Army Dental Lab squad.

"And obviously, you don't see that many units out here so it's not for the weak," said Mark Watson, Castillo's teammate.

The four-hour competition is a combination of about a dozen rigorous exercises including pull-ups and push-ups, a 100-yard swim, and a two-mile run; proving which unit on post is the most physically fit.

"It keeps them in shape and prepared and ready for deployments, because the military has to be ready at a moment's notice," said Sgt. Robert Llewellyn, an organizer of the event hosted by the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers organization on post.

But until that moment's notice, soldiers say the competition is a way to escape the thought of combat and war.

"As a war veteran, I will tell you that you go through trials and tribulations, and to know that you've got people on your side, that's a good feeling," said Specialist Darryl Samar Griffin.

"Hearing them cheer you on and telling you to keep pushing it, gives you that extra push towards the end to complete the goal," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Villalobos, with the 202nd MI BN squad.

And that goal achieved by the Charlie 447 unit: a shiny trophy and a year's worth of bragging rights.