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NEWS | Sept. 25, 2019

“Airborne!” 2019 JCSE Mustang Challenge

By Airman 1st Class Ryan Grossklag 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Execution, readiness and teamwork were on full display as the Joint Communications Support Element hosted its 2nd annual JCSE Mustang Challenge at MacDill Air Force Base, Sept. 6-8.

The long, humid Tampa days were no match for the U.S. Army and Army Reserve soldiers who competed against each other over three days to prove their preparedness and expertise as a soldier.

“The purpose of the Mustang Challenge is to see how well our soldiers have trained over the past year,” explained U.S. Army 1st Lt. Jarrod Pitts, a JCSE executive officer. “We can evaluate what aspects we may be strong or weak in so we can work on our shortcomings.”

Broken into four teams of four, competitors participated in timed ruck marches, underwent rigorous weapon qualification and were tested on their Tactical Combat Casualty Care knowledge and procedures. Their ability to assemble a Joint Building Blocks communications system set-up was tested and the competition concluded with a physical training challenge.

“This event tests our competitors on their physical and mental strength, as well as their agility and endurance,” said U.S. Army Reserve 1st Lt. Louis Bobelis, officer in charge. “The training completed is applicable to real life situations and areas of operation. We can confirm these soldiers are deployable and job proficient.”

This year, to motivate participants to compete against each other, a prize was awarded to the wining team – the Army Achievement Medal.

“You could see how the group camaraderie grew throughout the days,” said Pitts. “It showed in the improvement of their proficiency.”

JCSE plans to continue the event next year, shaping the curriculum based on the results of this year’s event, ensuring a tradition of trained, dedicated and professional soldiers.

“Our intent is to show soldiers where they stand physically and mentally and how they can train better throughout the year,” said Bobelis. “Applying what they learn transforms them to a better soldier overall.”