SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - As the Tropic Lightning soldiers were walking out of the thick wooded terrain, they were engaged within seconds of being in open field by simulated enemy shooting sim-rounds causing the soldiers to dash between objects on the ground for cover. The team leader yells out commands to move his soldiers as they are providing covering fire.
U.S. Soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, take cover and engage a simulated enemy target during “Gimlet Challenge”, a 15-mile road march with different tasks and obstacles designed to test the individual and team skills, at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, May 29, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt Matthew Ryan)
The 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division held its traditional Gimlet Challenge on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, May 28, 2013.
The nickname “Gimlets” dates back to 1921 when Pfc. Eugene Riley, from E Company, 21st Infantry Regiment, dominated every opponent he faced in every sport during an interservice rivalry sports competition. The team was organized under Pfc. Riley and held the name “Gimlet Club of Royal Rooters” with their motto being “Bore Brother Bore." The Gimlet is a tool that became the symbol of toughness for the Royal Rooters, and due to their tenacity on the athletic fields the group quickly became known as the “The Gimlets." Shortly after that, the 21st Infantry Regiment received the nickname of “Gimlets.”
The Gimlet Challenge is a dedication to Pfc. Riley and the hardship of their fellow brothers before them. The challenge is a grueling set of tasks and obstacles setup at different segments of a 15-mile road march. The tasks are designed to replicate different combat situations to test the mental focus, physical endurance and will power to complete any mission at hand.
There were a total of 71 teams that started the challenge that morning, and 71 teams finished and earned their Gimlet tool, which they wear off their belts on the last working day of the week. Each team consisted of a four to six man team that went in waves every few minutes once the challenge kicked off. The first few teams were able to complete the road march and all tasks in just less than six hours.
“What you do today, will prepare you for the future,” said Lt. Col. James J. Tuite, commander, 1-21 Infantry, during the opening ceremony before the sun had risen that morning. “What you will see today is a great mental and physical test of our soldiers.”
The challenge had seven different stations where various tasks such as medical skills, reacting to contact, marksmanship, vehicle inspections, sending reports and physical readiness.
The Gimlet Challenge helps to build esprit de corps among the soldiers and a sense of belonging to something bigger than just a fire team or platoon, but the Royal Gimlet Family, said Tuite.
“This was very challenge and a great team building event,” said 1st Lt. Tyler Mihalic, a scout platoon leader and competitor with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-21 Infantry. “I felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment.”
Pfc. Clint Collier, an infantryman with HHC, 1-21 Infantry, said, “It was awesome, but a real gut check.” He said the tasks were hard by themselves, but you just had to have the heart to pick up your gear and keep marching. “Finishing was the best thing.”
Collier is a native from Paulding, Ga.
“I love being a part of the Gimlet Family and the Gimlet Challenge,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Graham, a fire support specialist with C Company, 1-21 Infantry, and native of Asheboro, N.C. He said, “The challenge embodies the spirit of the Gimlet tradition.”
Graham had previous complete the Gimlet challenge, and was one of the cadre for the task of reacting to contact during this year's challenge.
The ceremony was held on Wheeler Army Airfield, Schofield Barracks, at 2 p.m. May 29. The ceremony started by going over the history of the unit, and how the Gimlets received their nickname. During the ceremony thesoldiers who completed the challenge were inducted into the Royal Gimlet Family, and received their Gimlet tools after the ceremony.
By U.S. Army Sgt Matthew Ryan
Provided through DVIDS
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