Rising to the challenge

Posted: Sunday, October 17, 2010

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. - Not many people would put themselves through four days of extreme physical and mental exhaustion just to prove they are one of the best at what they do, but a native of Juneau recently did just that.

Courtesy Of Benjamin Faske
Courtesy Of Benjamin Faske

Army Spec. John Olivit put his body and mind to the test during the Warfighter Challenge, an annual competition held to determine which of the 35 three-man teams can stave off pain and fatigue to be called the best in the Army's Military Police Corps.

"I wanted to compete because I loved the competition last year," said Olivit, a member of the 511th Military Police Company, stationed in Fort Drum, N.Y.

The Warfighter Challenge kicked off with a physical fitness test consisting of three minutes of push-ups, sit-ups with 25-pound weights, chin-ups and a 6-mile run on the evening of day one, which ended with a 15-mile endurance march with gear weighing as much as 40 pounds.

On day two, the teams ran an obstacle course with 12 challenges, cleared buildings and detained suspected insurgents, spotted and reported improvised explosive devices hidden along paths and performed a day and night land navigation.

Day three started out with a mixed martial arts style combatives tournament, zeroing weapons before completing a team move and fire event, driving in a simulator resembling driving a HMVEE through an urban environment and engaging targets and IEDs. The last event of the day was a night-fire exercise.

Before the final 15-mile march on day four, the competitors had to take a written exam.

Olivit and the other competitors trained to prepare for the competition without knowing exactly what skill sets would be tested.

"I studied all of my military tasks and drills. I put in a lot of hard work to prepare for the competition," said Olivit, a 2004 graduate of Juneau Douglas High School.

Even with all of the work before hand, there were one or two events that gave Olivit more trouble than the others.

"I didn't find any one event harder than the other because I can't be broken," said Olivit.

For Olivit, being a competitor is an accomplishment, but winning the competition would make the four days of events that much more meaningful.

"Winning is very important to me because I don't like to lose," said Olivit, who has completed six years of military service.

Military police have a very demanding job, and competing in the Warfighter Challenge proves that Olivit and the 104 other contestants have what it takes to not only meet those demands, but to exceed them.

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