It was an afternoon of air brakes swooshing and trucks rumbling as the 58th Transportation Battalion hosted the second annual Joint Forces Truck Rodeo Friday at Training Area 228.
The friendly competition among 32 of the post’s top transportation instructors was held to build branch cohesion among the joint services and identify the best driver on Fort Leonard Wood.
Staff Sgt. Volker Hagen, 58th Trans. Bn. instructor, took top honors in the individual category, followed by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Martin and Air Force Master Sgt. Patrick Gallagher, in second and third place, respectively.
“I’m proud of all my battle buddies,” Hagen said. “It was a strong competition. I made some good friends with the Marine Corps and the Navy — and the Air Force is always telling me to slow down, but it’s good.”
Earning a team score of 3,005 points, the Army claimed this year’s bragging rights and the winning service trophy from the Marine Corps, who took first place in last year’s inaugural event.
“I’m excited the Army won,” Command Sgt. Maj. Arthur Johnson, 58th Trans. Bn., command sergeant major, said, “but it’s more that we were all able to have fun, enjoy, and show off our skill sets.”
“We are together as joint services when we deploy,” Johnson explained. “It’s good to build that camaraderie and relationship when we’re at peace. You lose less lives when you have that camaraderie before you go downrange.”
“We are one team, one fight, because we’re brothers and sisters in arms,” he added.
Each of the services planned one advanced-skills event to test competitors, and each event was worth 150 points. Various points were deducted for rolling over cones, taking too much time, jackknifing and not honking the horn when backing up.
“The events were all difficult,” Lt. Col. Matthew Western 58th Trans. Bn. commander, said.
The Marine Corps brought their Logistics Vehicle System for competitors to straight line back into a designated space; the Air Force had competitors parallel park a commercial tractor trailer; the Navy gave competitors a challenge with a task of alley-docking a 7-ton trailer; and the Army conducted a 90-degree backing of a 40-foot trailer and M915 commercial tractor trailer.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Serena Voigt, who teaches Navy Seabees and horizontal construction engineers at TA 244, said the Navy’s alley-docking event was no easy task.
“It’s really easy to lose track of the trailer and it can jackknife very quickly,” Voigt said. “The hardest part is that all tires move when you steer and we had a short trailer. It was a very small space to do it in. A lot of people kept jackknifing it.”
Voigt echoed the sentiments of her peers when she said it is good to have the opportunity to participate in events like this one.
“It gets us all together and shows we all work as a team,” Voigt said. “We’re a joint force, we deploy together and we’re always together overseas somewhere. I think it’s good to have a little competition between us, but it also brought us all together, so it was good,” Voigt said.
Western offered motivational remarks at the conclusion of the event.
“The Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and Army all train their motor transport officers here,” he said. “It takes a cadre of hundreds of noncommissioned officers from all four services to make that happen.”
“We have the best of the best drivers and instructors here at Fort Leonard Wood,” Western added. “The event was a success because all four services came together and because of the outside agencies that came to help us showcase the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.”