Fort McCoy –
FORT MCCOY, Wisc. – Five Soldiers from across the United States competed at Fort McCoy in the inaugural First Army Observer Coach/Trainer competition.
“I’m very proud of our Soldiers,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Prosser, senior enlisted Soldier, First Army. “They came out here and they’ve been giving it their all.”
After five days of physical and mental challenges, Capt. Zachary Holder, 177th Infantry Brigade, was named the top OC/T in First Army.
“This is one of the best and biggest achievements in my life,” said Holder. He went on to say he will use this win to advocate for his Soldiers and other leaders to participate in the next competition and train them to follow in his footsteps.
First Army’s OC/Ts are Soldiers who partner with National Guard and Reserve units during various training events, assisting in training them in their deployment tasks. To this end, their duties include conducting practical exercises, after action reviews, and gathering lessons learned during training.
This competition tested each Soldier in a variety of tasks including land navigation, Army Combat Fitness Test, weapons qualification, confidence course, hand grenade qualification, and a 12-mile march.
While this was a competition, there was a sense of camaraderie and teamwork throughout the events.
“At the end of the day, we’re all part of the same team,” said Holder, prior to knowing he won. “Whoever takes this at the end of the day, deserves it, they earned it and I’ll be happy for them.”
All of the competitors expressed a desire to grow through this experience and said it has helped them identify strengths and weakness.
“They’re going to go back to their units as better leaders, as better OC/Ts, and better contributors for next year’s competition,” said Prosser.
First Army has plans to build on this year’s training platform and expand this competition next year with more participants and more challenges for the OC/Ts.
This year’s competitors are excited to see this expansion and plan to use the knowledge they gained here to train the next Best OC/T.
“I really encourage Soldiers, if you want to challenge yourself and try to stand out amongst you peers, definitely take the opportunity,” said second place finisher, Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Hinson, 120th Infantry Brigade.