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More than 10,000 Fort Carson Soldiers took to the streets, June 4, in a show of solidarity and Army tradition, officially beginning Iron Horse Week.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Anderson, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Stall, senior enlisted leader, led brigade combat teams and tenant units from across post during a four-mile run, signaling the start of a week of friendly competition, unit camaraderie and esprit de corps.
"I'd ask you to enjoy it, make the most of it," Anderson said. "It's all in the spirit of competition, but it is also in the spirit of fun as we build up toward the division's 95th birthday."
The first to arrive at Iron Horse Park, Anderson and Stall cheered on units from 4th Inf. Div.'s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd BCT, 3rd BCT, 4th BCT and Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion.
The command team congratulated Fort Carson Soldiers from 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 759th Military Police Battalion, 4th and 52nd Engineer battalions, 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Group, 10th Combat Support Hospital, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson, Medical Department Activity; and airmen from 13th Air Support Operation Squadron, 3rd Air Support Operation Group, for finishing the double-time run "Iron Horse Strong."
The run motivated Soldiers and built esprit de corps among the troops, setting the stage for the rest of the week, said Spc. Charles McCoy, infantryman, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st BCT.
Throughout the week, Soldiers are competing in a variety of sports and tournaments, ranging from paintball and rock climbing to football and bowling.
Whether playing against or cheering for comrades participating in the Modern Army Combatives tournament at the Special Events Center, or the archery and marksmanship competitions at Fort Carson's Outdoor Recreation Center and Range 45, Iron Horse Week provides Soldiers, their families and friends the opportunity to come together and play, he said.
"It's pretty neat to see the whole post out here," McCoy said. "The run was about camaraderie, but this week is about bragging rights. It's competition mode now; it's about which unit is the best at wrestling, boxing, running."
Leaders across the post adjusted training schedules and prioritized unit duties and responsibilities to provide troops the opportunity to take a break for the sake of having a little fun.
"Balancing our mission at the unit, and the sports we are competing in is actually bringing our unit closer together," said 2nd Lt. Richard Garcia, platoon leader, Company C, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div. "We have something to look forward to when we come into work in the morning. Yes, we are [working], but after we are done with the mission, we can go out and support our team, our battle buddies."
Before dismissing the troops to celebrate Iron Horse Week, Anderson asked all to remember the Fort Carson units and Soldiers currently deployed in defense of the nation.
"First and foremost, I want to thank all of you for what you do, but keep 4th Brigade in your thoughts and prayers, along with our other deployed units, as we have fun this week," he said.
Iron Horse Week will wrap up with an awards ceremony, June 8, at Iron Horse Park, recognizing the week's top competitors at the individual and unit level, presenting trophies to the victors at 5:30 p.m.
The 4th Inf. Div. command team will present the winning battalions with Commander's Cups; each battalion will maintain the cup until the next annual Iron Horse Week. The winning battalion of the combatives tournament will receive the Fight House Cup to be displayed at their battalion headquarters until the next Fort Carson combatives tournament. The winning battalion of the boxing tournament will receive the World Class Athlete Program Boxing Winner's Belt to be kept at their battalion headquarters until the next post boxing tournament.
The awards ceremony will be followed by entertainment from the U.S. Air Force Reserve Rock Band, "Max Impact," beginning at Iron Horse Park at 6 p.m., and contemporary musical act, "Daughtry" at 7 p.m. The concert is only open to Department of Defense identification cardholders and their guests.