FORT LEE, VA. — Holding true to its higher headquarters’ special designation, a first team entry earned first place in the 2018 Ammunition Transfer Holding Point Team (ATHP) of the year competition at Fort Pickett, Virginia.
The 1st Cavalry Division unit the 664th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company of Fort Hood, Texas beat out three other teams in the annual event pitting the Army’s best ammunition handlers in a competition designed to challenge their wits and competencies in a field environment.
“This was a great event,” said 1st Sgt. Dameion Jones, Company A, 832nd Ordnance Battalion and one of the event facilitators. “It provided a snapshot of where we need to go in the future to create more relevant and realistic training at the schoolhouse to better prepare Soldiers for deployment.”
Members of the 1st Cav. Div. team were Chief Warrant Officer 3 Vernon Wise, Staff Sgt. Harmer Prince, Sgt. Joshua Smith, Spc. Darrik Bell and Pfc. Edrick Hernandez.
In addition to the 664th EOD, an element of the 553rd Combat Sustainment Brigade, 1st Cav. Div. Sustainment Bde., the event included entries from Company A., 3rd Group Support Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.; 8th Ordnance Company, 246th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina and the 23rd Ordnance Company, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, Tower Barracks, Germany.
The teams, which included 89B ammunition specialists and 89A ammunition stock control and accounting specialist, were required to complete several events over three days to include Army Physical Fitness Test; road march; aircraft loading operations; ammunition identification and occupy and defend an ammunition storage area.
Jones, who oversaw the defend and occupy event, said it was the most challenging for participants.
“It was very physical,” said Jones, an ammunition specialist with a varied amount of experience in the ammunition management career field. “It required Soldiers to move the munitions (ammunition cans filled with water weighing roughly 20 pounds each) from one area to another. The participants were under duress because they knew they would come under simulated attack while they worked to segregate, store and maintain the munitions.”
Pfc. Dyllan Viquelia, a member of the 3rd SFG team, said the defend and occupy event was an eye-opener.
“It was very realistic,” said Viquelia, who has been in the Army roughly 18 months. “It was very hot outside; it’s definitely not something I do on a daily basis, but I’m really happy I got the opportunity to come out here and do this. I’ve definitely learned a lot.”
Although the amount of participation was lower compared to past years, Jones said the event has many merits and does not require much change.
“Overall, I think it was a good competition and don’t think there are many improvements it needs,” he said. “I think, however, more people should be involved and the event should be expanded. This is a very good competition and gives us a very good picture of where we are.”
The ATHP was the second leg of this year’s Ordnance Crucible, a series of events “designed to assess Soldiers teamwork and critical thinking skills as they apply technical solutions to real world problem,” according to the goordnance.army.mil website.
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team of the Year competition took place at Fort A.P. Hill in June, but the Combat Repair Team of the Year was cancelled this year and is now rescheduled for April 2019.