THE Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) in Camp Evangelista kicked-off its annual 5-day squad challenge Monday, January 23, with at least 99 soldiers from 11 battalions participating in this year's competition dubbed "Rifle Squad and Disaster Response Operations Challenge 2017."
“This year the squad challenge will give heavy importance on the disaster response operation capability of the participating units in the competition. This is because we saw the importance and the need for our personnel to be prepared especially that the AOR (area of responsibility) of the 4ID is prone to climate related calamities. This will help mitigate the effect and impact of calamities such as flooding and landslides making our soldiers to be more pro-active as we work hand in hand with other government agencies,” said Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, 4ID spokesperson.
Martinez pointed out the role of the soldiers during the recent flooding in Cagayan de Oro City and in several of the towns Caraga Regions.
“Our soldiers played a very key role in the recent sudden flooding here in Cagayan de Oro City in terms of disaster response operation, our personnel went out of their way to provide support during rescue operations as well as during the preparation and distribution of relief goods. A few days ago our soldiers also helped in the sudden flooding of several towns in Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte and in Butuan City, which the relief assistance is still on going,” said the spokesperson.
Colonel Andres Centino, chief of staff of the 4ID expressed the nature of the activity.
“The five-day activity will comprise 4 modules, these will test the individual readiness, formation and movement techniques, efficiency in battle drills and disaster response operation of the participating squads,” Centino said.
Centino added the four modules will cover the basic drills and capabilities of a foot soldier, several military skills, formations, techniques, battle drills and test the physical strength and stamina of a soldiers.
This year the event is participated by eight infantry battalions and three Division Reconnaissance Company of this command.
Centino specified the incorporation of DRO, “We will witness disaster response operation skills of our troops to test the disaster preparedness in terms of skills in swimming, in knot tying, in emergency and water rescue, basic life support and rubber boat handling among others.”
Colonel Jesse Alvarez, assistant division commander of the 4ID pointed out the significance of the challenge.
“This challenge will emphasize the importance of the squad and the individual soldier who compose it. While we are trained for combat, we also need to be relevant during peacetime and now is the time to be more relevant especially during natural calamities. The AOR of 4ID is prone to natural disaster, we are expected to apply our skills and show our commitment in times of calamities. The challenge lies in our capability to save the lives of others while insuring the safety of our troops thus the need to constantly improving our skills,” said Alvarez.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 24, 2017.