Iowa National Guard, Kosovo Security Force create companionship through competition
The most interactive event of the entire trip happened Thursday morning, the group’s last full day in Kosovo. A small group of Iowa National Guardsmen and women drove to a Kosovo Security Force land base for a Wolf Challenge. This was a competition of 10 teams going through an obstacle course that tested various soldier skills. The Guard had one team of five competing.
The Guard members knew little going into the event. They were told what to bring and figured they’d just follow directions once they got there, and that’s exactly what they did!
The team was assigned two KSF members to be their translators. Then, all of the 10 teams were told to line up. A KSF general arrived to give them some words of encouragement. Afterward, the Guard team was given a walk-through of the course. There were seven stations including a lookout tower, pushing a military vehicle, going through “live” wires, throwing hand grenades, getting through a minefield, and carrying a dummy on a stretcher to the finish line.
But first, they had to complete a two-mile run around the base. Here’s some behind-the-scene information for you…Charlie and I were able to follow along the entire obstacle course by riding in a Jeep, driven by a KSF soldier. Charlie was able to shoot the soldiers out the back of the Jeep while they ran around the base, which made for really cool video! We also put a GoPro on Lieutenant David DeLayo, which looks great in the story.
Throughout the entire course, the translators did each challenge with the Iowa Guard team. Staff Sergeant Andrew Roslansky and DeLayo were appreciative of that.
“It was a lot of fun to get to know the guys here and for them to walk us through the whole plan and then work with us as we’re going through it, it was a lot of fun to work with these guys,” Roslansky said.
DeLayo added, “We’ve gotten a lot of time to sit and talk with them, but doing events like this where there is a little bit of misery helps build the bond a lot.”
Everyone thought the Iowans did a great job going through the course. They completed it in about 24 minutes, but minutes were added on whenever they made mistakes. That brought their official score to 41. “It was challenging, which is what they wanted it to be so it was a good mix of events,” DeLayo said.
In comparison, one KSF team scored a 21. Still, the guardsmen were happy with their performance and thought it was a great way to end the trip.
Roslansky said, “I would love to come back. It’d be great to come back here either with military or as a personal trip. That would be a lot of fun.”
“It’s awesome. It’s a very nice country. I’m hoping to come back,” DeLayo said.