Fort Sill AIT Instructors Compete in Platoon Sergeant of the Yea - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Fort Sill AIT Instructors Compete in Platoon Sergeant of the Year Competition

FORT SILL Okla_ Seven Fort Sill AIT instructors have been competing for the title of Platoon Sergeant of the Year.

For the last two days, they've been tested both physically and mentally to see which sergeant has mastered the craft of preparing young soldiers for their specific roles within the army.

Before our 7News team got to the competitors Wednesday, they'd already completed a four-mile ruck march. That was only the beginning. Next, they had to complete an obstacle course, do 100 push-ups and sit-ups, and finish off with a 2 1/2 mile run. That's all before the mental portion of the competition begins. They'll finish off today by writing three essays and answering questions from the board.

They had to climb, run, jump and crawl today. The faster they did it, the closer they were to becoming Fort Sill's AIT Platoon Sergeant of the Year.

One of today's competitors was Sergeant Andrea Garza. Not only was she the only woman competing, she was the oldest, too. At 48-years-old, she was keeping up with the others.

"I consider us all soldiers, male and female," Garza said. "I like to be inspiring to my young female soldiers who are coming up, so that's what keeps me going."

Before the military, Sergeant Garza did it all.

"I was a dealer in Vegas," Garza said, "Made doughnuts in a doughnut house, slung ribs at a pork plant, and rolled burritos in a burrito factory. I've done everything."

Now, her job is to train new soldiers fresh into the military in their specific roles. The competition today, reminds her of one of the most important aspects of being a soldier.

"I try and teach my soldiers resilience, because a lot of times, they don't grow up with as much resiliency as we did back in the day," Garza said. "So, I use this to help."

The competitors came into each event completely blind. They had no idea what to expect. Sergeant Francisco Torres said that was one of the biggest challenges.

"It's a surprise," Torres said. "We thought we were just going to come in, do a little couple things and go straight to the board, but they've added these physical events. It makes it harder for us."

Torres said the physical part doesn't bother him so much. It's his job to keep up with the younger soldiers.

"The mental part is harder," Torres said. "It's hard to cram all that in, so many subjects in so little time."

He said while the challenge makes for some friendly competition between sergeants, it's also a great representation of what they do every day as part of bettering our incoming soldiers.

"We do PT with the soldiers every day," Torres said. "We pushed them as far as we could to make sure they're ready to go out there and be ready for their next unit. We mentally we train them on war tasks and battle drills to get them ready as much as we can before they leave."

The results for the Fort Sill AIT Platoon Sergeant of the Year aren't in yet. We should be able to get those results Thursday. The winner of this competition will then go on to compete against the winners from other installations.



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