Richland County Sheriff’s deputies go military at Battle Challenge

A chance to build a bond

The South Carolina National Guard is hosting its first “Battle Challenge.”

Battle Challenge (Photos by Terry Ward)

Sponsored by the Military Benefit Association, it’s Saturday through Tuesday, at McCrady Training Center in Eastover.

Saturday morning, deputies from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department were running the Battle Challenge obstacle course.

“We train all the time,” said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, as he prepared for his turn on the obstacle course. “This is a chance to build a bond with the people we work with.”

S.C. National Guard State Command Sgt. Maj. Russ Vickery said law enforcement and military personnel are dispatched in emergency situations, including floods and hurricanes, throughout the year.

“It’s good for the first responders to come out and train together for the camaraderie, to have the fellowship with each other,” Vickery said.

He also said the Battle Challenge is a unique type of physical training, and “something different” is needed to break up the routine.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.

The Battle Challenge is the newest competition created by On Target Challenge, producers of the internationally renowned Firefighter Combat Challenge. This event requires a participant to perform nine tasks under pressure of time. Competitors race against the clock for the bragging rights to be the Best of the Best in an adrenaline filled side-by- side battlefield simulation.

Dubbed “Competition with a Purpose,” the creators have incorporated the cargo net climb, a knotted rope descent, wall surmount, ammunition resupply, low crawl, Jerry-Can shuffle, marksmanship tasks and a service member-down rescue to create a military relevant obstacle course.

Todd Shelton is the on-site operations manager for On Target Challenge.

“Physical fitness is our primary objective,” Shelton said. “And training together helps instill a sense of family. It helps build partnerships.”

Vickery said South Carolina National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are also competing over the weekend in the annual “Best Warrior” Competition. The winner will be named Wednesday. ROTC students from USC, Clemson and S.C. State were scheduled to compete on the Battle Challenge course, too.

Dragging a man to safety.

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