HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. – Units from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade are leading the standings in intramural softball on Hunter Army Airfield, with teams in two of the top three positions in both the north and south conferences.
The two teams vying for the top spot, one from 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry and the other from 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, have nine wins each and have their sights set on the tournament later this month.
The tournament, scheduled for mid-June, will feature the top six teams from each conference, said Michael Hughes, HAAF Sports Director and the tournament’s organizer. The overall winner from both conferences will face off against the winner of the Fort Stewart bracket at Fort Stewart.
Leadership will be a big factor in who wins the tournament, Hughes said.
“The south conference top two teams are made up of solid leadership,” said Hughes. “I think this makes these two teams more organized to win.”
One of those leaders is Sgt. 1st Class Jose Serrano, who is coach of the 4-3 Aviation Regiment team and said he thinks his team's chances are good for the top spot.
The team has become like a Family since the beginning of the season, Serrano said, a solidarity that gives him confidence going into the tournament.
Standing in the way is the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry team, who has already defeated Serrano's team once. The coach, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Sean Leaman, says his team is unique because of the diversity representing all positions in the squadron, to include the commander.
"We have great depth in our roster which is beneficial with the high tempo training schedule we have,” said Leaman. “I think we have a great chance to go very deep in the playoffs and we look forward to the opportunity to represent 3-17 CAV and 3rd CAB."
Leaders from the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, put their Army knowledge, leadership skills, and physical stamina to the test Feb. 2 during the Lighthorse Spur Ride here, in hopes of earning the right to wear the Cavalry’s Silver Spurs.
“It’s about developing leaders,” said Lt. Col. Michael Demirjian, squadron commander and Spur holder since 1991. “It focuses on standards, discipline, and builds trust amongst the troops. It’s really about building the team, developing camaraderie, unit cohesion and focusing on some of the history of the past.”
This is a tradition based on the horse cavalry days where a “shavetail” was awarded spurs once he demonstrated proficiency on a horse, said Lt. Col. Demirjian.
Though the Lighthorse Spur candidates were not executing horseback maneuvers, their trials were no less intense, said Capt. Mickala Henson, Squadron S4.
“I have never been more sore, filthy or exhausted, but I couldn’t be prouder,” said Capt. Henson.
The day began in the wee hours of the morning with a PT Test in the unit hangar. From there, the candidates, who’d been separated into squads, foot marched to and from each different skills training exercise. The different stations were designed to test the Soldiering and aviation skills necessary to lead troops into battle.
Captain Henson said that despite the stress and physical intensity of the day, she felt she’d emerged a stronger leader and Soldier.
“The mental and physical rigors were like nothing else,” she said." Their goal was to challenge us and as a team working through relying on each person’s skill sets. There was nothing you could do except grow as a team and be an adaptive leader.”
The Spur candidates’ long day ended with a nighttime ceremony awarding the successful candidates their Spurs. They limped into the room dirty, sweaty and tired, and received a standing ovation from all their mentors and examiners. Everyone shared food and drink and walked away proud.
“You can’t say enough about Cavalry esprit-de-corps,” said Capt. Henson. “We are a Family, every single Soldier in the Cavalry is Family and events like this solidify the bonds.”
SAVANNAH, Ga. – When former Eagle Scout Spc. Mark Garvin of the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, stepped into the Calvary Day School of Savannah, Ga., cafeteria for the Cub Scouts of America, Tidelands District, Awards Banquet, a powerful memory resurfaced in his mind.
“I remember myself being that 9, 10, 11-year old Scout and going ‘Wow – being in the military looks so cool, they’re so crisp and so clean,’” said Spc. Garvin, a crew chief in Troop D, 3/17. “It’s great to be able to, almost 15 years later, take a step back and say, ‘I’m that guy that I looked up to now.’”
Specialist Garvin joined five other crisp, clean Lighthorse Soldiers as a color guard detachment for the Tidelands District Awards Banquet Dec. 1 at the Calvary Baptist Church in Savannah.
The volunteer Scout leaders from across the Coastal Empire honored one another for their efforts in continuing an American tradition that goes back more than 100 years. According to statistics from the Boy Scouts of America, more than 35 percent of United States Military Academy at West Point cadets were scouts in their youth.
The color guard joined the district members for a hot holiday meal prepared by the Troop leaders. After the meal, Savannah Mayor Otis S. Johnson reminisced about his formative time in a Savannah Scout chapter during the 1950s.
“I was always grateful for those experiences,” said Mayor Johnson of his scouting activities. “I can tell you, young men, you will never forget, because it becomes a part of your life.”
The banquet continued with door prizes before the presentation of district awards. In addition to honoring its own, the district thanked the color guard detachment with certificates of appreciation.
When the ceremony ended, the detachment retired the colors. Scouts young and old saluted the flag of the country they serve.
Jon Hiott, assistant district commissioner, said it is this service, exemplified in the 3rd CAB’s presence at the banquet, which is central to the Scout mission.
“One of the aims in scouting is citizenship,” said Hiott. “Of course part of that is respect for the national colors, and if the unit leaders see that from the national level, from the color guard, from the military, it helps instill everything [the Soldiers] constantly do.”
Specialist Garvin said he knows firsthand the importance of the color guard’s presence at the ceremony.
“A lot of the discipline, the drill you go through as a Scout, really prepares you for a life in the military,” Spc. Garvin said. “The respect that they earn for the colors carries over into their adult life. It’s not something they just put in their youth and then put in a basket and never use again.”