Fort Drum soldiers tested on marksmanship, fitness

wwny Fort Drum soldiers tested on marksmanship, fitness

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - Chances are it’s not how you’d spend a winter day. Soldiers on Fort Drum had their marksmanship tested and marched through miles of snow.

They marched through the snow and their weapons got a workout, with both simulated and live rounds.

More than 1,000 soldiers went through the "D" Series Winter Challenge on Fort Drum Wednesday.

Division Planner Major John Sowder says it's a number of tests to see how combat-ready soldiers are.

"Physical fitness, marksmanship, tactical knowledge. So, we're testing every unit in the 10th Mountain to see how ready they are to deploy," he said.

The competition takes place on post during winter and Sowder says that's to celebrate the 10th Mountain Division's history.

"It was the last major training event the 10th Mountain did before deploying to Europe for World War II. They spent about a month at 13,000 feet in the mountains of Colorado," he said.

But for some soldiers doing the D Series for the first time, it was just another day on the job.

"This wasn't hard at all. This is something we do very regularly. Every training event we're usually rucking and shooting, sometimes at the same time," said PFC Brent Hemphill.

One part of this year's series is an approximate 6 mile march. Teams have to find specific points throughout the course and they're timed while they do it.

"We're ranking them from the fastest to the slowest. So you're given points based on how quickly you do it," said Sowder.

For some soldiers, that wasn't even the hardest test.

“The stress shooting actually, when you do those 10 burpies and then you get your adrenaline pumping. It’s just try to keep your heart rate and slow it down when you’re shooting,” said Specialist Christopher Armas, who was competing for the first time.

Every event has a score attached to it. Sowder says top soldiers, teams, and units will all be recognized.

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