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Unit cohesiveness at its best

7th Division honors its soldiers and families

Lt. Col. Carmen Bucci, commander, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, catches a weighted ball during the Big 7 competition, a part of the annual Week of the Bayonet & Families 2023 event. Photo Credit: JM Simpson

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The Week of the Bayonet & Families 2023 is a time-honored event at Joint Base Lewis-McChord that reflects on the 7th Infantry Division's lineage,  enhances unit cohesion and fosters Esprit de Corps throughout the division.

The event began this past Monday with a Family Fun Run. On Tuesday and Wednesday soldiers competed in football, softball, combatives, e-sports and a Big 7 event, to name a few. The week's activities conclude with a Tug of War competition between the division's 22 battalions and a closing ceremony.

"This is a wonderful event for both our soldiers and their family members," began Master Sgt. William Baker, 1st  Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, as he and six of his fellow soldiers prepared for a Big 7 competition this past Tuesday morning at Cowan Stadium.

"What we will do today and for the rest of the week is decompress; the soldiers out here on the field are the leadership of their respective units, and now we have a chance to step back and have some fun."

The Big 7 is a timed speed and strength event where the leadership of the division's battalions compete. Each of the 22 teams was comprised of seven soldiers, five of whom represented a specific battalion's leadership, and two other soldiers who had been nominated by their peers to participate. A total of 154 soldiers competed.

Along with Baker, the 1-17 was represented by Lt. Col. Carmen Bucci, Commander, Command Sgt. Maj. Joshua Weiss, Maj. Nick Walker, Capt. Luke Heun, 2nd Lt. James Bassett and Spc. Tricia Owuor.

When asked if the team had a plan for the competition, Baker turned, smiled and simply said, "I don't see any competition."

With that in mind, Bucci's soldiers performed well - completing a variety of challenges comprised of weight lifts and short to longer runs - with push-ups and sit-ups thrown in. Throughout it all, a sense of teamwork and camaraderie prevailed.

"I wanted to be here today and compete," concluded Bassett, "and it has been cool to be involved."

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