Fort Custer adds obstacle course

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To ensure the Michigan National Guard is well-equipped for whatever challenge may arise, Fort Custer Training Center takes a proactive approach to Soldier training. Now, in addition to the many facilities already available to units, Fort Custer has added another state-of-the-art training tool.

The newest addition to the training arsenal is the Confidence Obstacle Course. The 22-obstacle project was finished in August of 2012 and is now open for units to reserve for training.

Among the first units to take advantage of the course was the 126th Press Camp, Michigan National Guard.

“It was a difficult course, but in a good way,” said Sgt. Nick Oposnow, public affairs specialist with the 126th. “I haven’t done anything like this since basic training, and I think it’s advantageous to reincorporate it into regular training.”

Many of the obstacles rely heavily upon teamwork to maneuver. One such obstacle, Skyscraper, challenges participants to scale a 5-platform vertical tower that reaches 30 feet into the air. Challengers must rely on teammates to push and pull them to the next platform.

“The course forced individuals to come together as a team,” said 1st Lt. Brian Anderson, escort section chief in the press camp. “Teamwork is crucial in order to negotiate some of the obstacles and it really built our unit cohesion.”

The course takes a different approach to physical fitness than what is typically on the training schedule for Michigan National Guard drill weekends. It confronts common fears and pushes the limits of physical and mental endurance.

Sgt. Chelsea Barber, public affairs specialist with the press camp, confronted her fear of heights by climbing the 35-feet tall Confidence Climb obstacle. “I can’t say that I was overly excited to try all the obstacles, but it was a boost of confidence to complete those,” she said.

Fort Custer invites military units to reserve the course today! In addition, civilian organizations may benefit from this team-building course and may reserve it for a nominal fee. For more information and rates, Fort Custer Range Control can be reached at 269-731-6640.

Story by Staff Sgt. Joshua Horneck, Michigan National Guard.
Photo by Spc. John Brandenburg, Michigan National Guard.