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Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012

Pioneer Battalion completes team exercise

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The Pioneer Battalion, 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, conducts quarterly senior leader off-site events to bolster esprit de corps and further increase the Soldiers’ knowledge of leadership, teamwork and military history.

For this quarter’s event, the senior leaders participated in the first “Pioneer Trek,” an event that drew its inspiration from the popular show The Amazing Race.

In addition to esprits de corps, the purpose of this particular event was to expose the senior leaders to the upcoming Army Combat Readiness Test and prepare them for next month’s battalion dining-in.

The event began at the National Infantry Museum and continued along the Riverwalk toward downtown Columbus with a 7.5-mile bike ride. After completion of the final event in the first half of the race, everyone had lunch at the Cannon Brew Pub. The group then headed to Fort Benning for more events.

The first activity of the day was a tour of the National Infantry Museum, focusing on the history of the 29th Infantry Regiment and Fort Benning. After a route safety brief, Maj. Melvin Lowe divided the participants into six randomly selected teams. The intent behind randomly selecting the teams was to allow members from different companies, who may not know each other well, to operate on a competitive team together.

Next the teams set out on a 15-question scavenger hunt. They had to successfully answer all questions to begin the bike movement to the next checkpoint. Much like the show The Amazing Race, once a team reached a checkpoint, they had to choose between two types of challenges — mental or physical.

The mental events focused on unit history to prepare everyone for the upcoming battalion dining-in that will celebrate the 29th Infantry Regiment’s 111th birthday. The physical events centered on the ACRT. The physical events included a casualty drag, ammo can sprint, team collective 229 push-ups and an agility sprint.

The culminating event, a “dizzy bat” race, let everyone have a few laughs in the end.

From start to finish, the first Pioneer Trek took approximately five hours for all six teams to complete. Less than two minutes separated the wining team from the runner-up, and more than 35 members of the Pioneer Battalion competed — successfully biking more than 17 miles, completing various physical and mental challenges and having a great time.

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