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Perseverance required at Gunga Din Competition

Spc. Adam L. Mathis Pfc. Zachary Frame, a 308th BSB quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer, fires a 9 mm pistol during the stress shoot portion of the Gunga Din Competition. The competition consisted of an obstacle course, a 10 km ruck march and

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The long morning came to an end with the event 1st Lt. Candice Summers was the most nervous about. Summers, an operations officer with 308th Brigade Support Battalion, had never fired a 9 mm pistol before, but now her trial by fire with the weapon was going to be a "stress shoot range."

What made this range stressful, explained 308th BSB Commander Lt. Col. Gary Spearow, was what had come before it: an obstacle course that involved climbing, hanging from rain-slick bars and balancing, and a 10 kilometer ruck march to the range site. That last one in particular had almost gotten to Summers.

"It's hard because your shoulders are sore after carrying the 30 pound rucksack and the (improvised outer tactical vest), so just holding a steady position - it's challenging," Summers said.

All of this was part of the first Gunga Din Competition held by the 308th BSB April 26 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Spearow created the competition in an effort to foster esprit de corps. The name Gunga Din comes from a poem by Rudyard Kipling about an Indian whose job was to bring water to British troops.

"So, we use the Gunga Din (poem) as kind of a rallying point for the battalion, so they know that they continue to serve through thick and through thin, through the tough times," Spearow said, "so that our supported units never have to look back for the support that we're giving them."

That kind of service can be difficult for anyone to provide, which is why competitions like this can be useful for Soldiers looking to improve their skills. Summers said the competition taught her about how much stress her body could handle. After the competition, when asked if she could take more, her answer was full of energy.

"Oh, always," she said.

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