1st Lt. Lloyd L. Polette was a paratrooper with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment who fought gallantly in World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroic actions in combat. He was killed in action during the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945, but his legacy lives on in the regiment today.
In his honor, more than 100 paratroopers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, took part in the Lt. Lloyd L. Polette Cup May 16 and 17. The Polette Cup is a competition held to determine the brigade’s best lieutenant. The 4th BCT derives its lineage from the 508th PIR.
Before the competition began, the lieutenants took part in a discussion with Brig. Gen. Brian McKiernan, the division’s deputy commander for sustainment. The discussion focused on lieutenants’ important role as platoon leaders in the division.
The competition started off with a round robin event at the Advanced Airborne School where the young officers jumped from the 34-foot tower and rigged their rucksacks for airborne operations, according to Capt. Jonathan Roland, an operations officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th BCT.
Following the round robin, the lieutenants tackled an eight-lane obstacle course, conducted land navigation during hours of limited visibility and then took part in a timed foot march.
Roland, who oversaw the execution of the event, said the lieutenants were eager and ready to take on tasks at hand.
The foot march was followed by more graded exercises that consisted of rendering aid to a simulated combat casualty, close quarter marksmanship and combatives. The final, graded event was a regimental history test.
For a newly assigned trooper, the competition was an opportunity to challenge herself while interacting with her counterparts across the brigade.
“There was a lot of camaraderie out there among all of us,” said 2nd. Lt. Megan Hurley, a distribution platoon leader assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 321st Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 4th BCT.
“I just got here about three weeks ago, so it was great to interact with other lieutenants in the brigade,” Hurley said.
The event was both challenging and fun at the same time.
The leadership from the brigade and the battalions showed up to show their support which was important for all participants, said Hurley.
Roland said he feels the competition allowed the lieutenants in the brigade to grow as a team and learn about the storied past of the 508th PIR.
“Events like these engender espirit de corps,” said Roland. “Furthermore, Lieutenant Polette is probably the most storied officer in the history of the 508th. The fact that this competition bears his name means that we acknowledge and pay homage to the heritage of this great regiment,” added Roland.