Ohio's 5h Annual Warrior Challenge

Photos from the 5th Annual Warrior Challenge are available here. Photos include both day 1 and day 2 events. Some are of smiling faces and some ... are less than thrilled because the Drill Sergeants are giving them a good workout (aka "smoke session").

No matter if you are currently in the military, are thinking about joining, served but are now back to being a civilian or have no military experience whatsoever ... check out the photos. They will give you great insight to some of the many tasks these soon-to-be Soldiers completed.

Why did I call them soon-to-be Soldiers? Well, they are all people who signed up for the military but haven't yet transitioned fully into their military roles. These guys are assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program - a program designed to train, mentor, equip and have full accountability for anyone who has not yet made their way through Basic Combat Training or Advanced Individual Training. Only after completing both BCT & AIT are they fully trained and ready to go out to their assigned units. Until then, they are still Initial Entry Soldiers/Trainees.

During their time at the Recruit Sustainment Program or Basic Combat Training, can they fail or drop out of the training and not fully become Soldiers? Yes. It's kind of tough to do, in my opinion, but I've seen it happen time and time again. Nonetheless, because they haven't completed all their training to make them "official" that's why I hesitate to call them Soldiers. They are more or less Soldiers-in-training.

I think it's pretty amazing that these guys continue signing up to serve in America's military even after the war in Iraq and the ongoing war in Afghanistan. It's astounding that despite all the negative news coverage they still decide to step up and serve, which is something that not many people are willing to do. It's nice to see younger guys and girls follow in our footsteps.

I wish them and their families the best as they delve into this life-changing adventure called "military service."

Here are a few photos from the competition. Check out the entire photo gallery at www.LMarelliPhotography.com/Military/Warrior-Challenge or just click here.

One of their tasks during the weekend-long event was to camouflage themselves. In this photo battle buddies are helping each other with the twig & leaves camouflage. 

No matter if you are afraid of heights or not, you have no choice in the military. If they say, "Climb it" or "Scale it" or "Go down it," you just get it done. 

One of the messiest obstacles of the weekend (yet the most fun to photograph) was the mud pit.
At the end of the weekend all the teams lined up on the parade field for the award ceremony. The winning team got much more than bragging rights ... they got a ride home via a Black Hawk Helicopter, which was the first military aircraft ride for many of them. 

Photography by Liesl Marelli of Girona Consulting (all rights reserved)

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