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NEWS | Sept. 6, 2022

CIOR competition tests 88th Readiness Division officer’s grit

By Cheryl Phillips 88th Readiness Division

An 88th Readiness Division officer vied for the first time as part of a three-person team in the Interallied Federation of Reserve Officers Military Competition, commonly referred to by its French acronym CIOR (the Confédération Interalliée des Officiers de Réserve) in Athens, Aug. 3 to 5, 2022.

The CIOR is an annual competition among NATO and Partnership for Peace nations. This year 14 countries competed. It’s rooted in core military competencies of running, swimming, shooting and field medicine.

Capt. Joy R. Petway, senior human resources officer with the 88th RD G1, learned about the competition from the G1 sergeant major who said, “Petway, this has you written all over it.” Petway was immediately intrigued and started completing the extensive application process in February 2022 submitting it four months later.

Among other requirements, applicants had to be weapons qualified and show completion of a 12-mile forced ruck march in less than three hours. “That one’s always horrible,” Petway said. “It’s a very fast pace. You can’t walk it and by sheer will you keep moving forward and make yourself do it.”

She also practiced hiking with another Soldier. “We did some training on our own hiking in the greater Sparta [Wisconsin] area which helped with terrain association and other skills used in the competition,” Petway said.

Petway had to answer three questions in a narrative format, explaining why she wanted to participate in the competition and why she would make a good team member. “Being able to listen, staying open to ideas and following is also key to team dynamics,” she said.

She also had to get approval and recommendations from her chain of command. “Everyone in my leadership was so supportive and wanted me to succeed,” she said.

Petway was one of 21 participants in Team USA which was divided into seven teams of three people. There were three female teams. Only one U.S. team placed, “kind of sad but true,” she said.

The Anchorage native was the team captain for her group comprised of herself and two Air Force Reserve officers. She was called the “orienteer” during the orienteering event. “I carried the map and was in charge of getting us from point to point,” she said. “I really loved my teammates and I believe we will be life-long friends. I learned a lot from them.”

Prior to the competition in Greece, the team went to training at Camp Ethan Allen, Burlington, Vt., July 18 to 24, where Petway said that day one included a 5-mile run at 5 in the morning encouraged by one of the coaches, a retired Navy SEAL captain. During the selection and training camp, the competitors had to perform timed events. For the 800-meter run, Petway came in first for the females.

Team USA also participated in a training camp in Germany from July 24 to 30 that included rappelling, swimming, orienteering and marksmanship.

Petway noted the experience and motivation of the coaches who are past participants including a female retired Navy rear admiral, an orienteering author and expert, and a retired Army colonel. “They’re passionate about the competition. They’re training us to become champions, to have a champion mentality, to overcome mental blocks. They’re developing us to be better people and better leaders.

“Working with such great people, the coaches were so amazing, seeing how they succeeded through their lives and the potential they saw in us was inspiring,” Petway said.

During the three days of the competition, Peway and her team ran through a 20-obstacle land course, a three-obstacle 50-meter water course, an orienteering course with 20 control points, a Law of War test and combat medical test with simulated casualties. “Marksmanship was unfortunately nixed because of dry conditions. They didn’t want another wildfire to start. To compensate, they added challenges to the orienteering event,” she said.

Petway said the orienteering was “blazing hot, and you’re running the whole time to complete the course within three hours. You’re going up and down ravines,” she said. “You also have to provide distance estimates for various points and throw grenades to earn points.”

As to next year, Petway is already making plans for her second CIOR competition. “I’m definitely going to start earlier next year. I’ve joined an orienteering club; I think that’ll be fun. I’m also going to put the word out and try to encourage as many Soldiers as possible to try out for this because if I can do it anyone can do it.

“I fell in love with the .45-caliber pistol while training, so I’ll spend more time shooting that weapon or just shooting in general,” she said.

Petway also said “I will spend a lot of time doing deeper more personal work on reflection and using what I’ve already learned through Holistic Health and Fitness for a more balanced approach to my training in general. But the CIOR coaches taught us to be able to visualize the goals we want to achieve, like negotiating an obstacle. They also taught us about life and how to progress in our careers. It was very life changing.

“I’ll also work on not only becoming faster and stronger, but also becoming more resilient. I’ll work on how to be a better person,” Petway said.