Colorado military training event honors 8 soldiers who made the ‘ultimate sacrifice’

The Public Affairs officer said this division has a “historic legacy.”
KKTV 11 News at 4 (Recurring)
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 2:38 PM MDT
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FORT CARSON, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado soldiers remember a historic battle, as Fort Carson hosted a physical training event to honor the lost troops.

The 4th Infantry Division lined up at the starting line at 6 Friday morning and ran until every soldier crossed the finish line.

The course for the troops included anti-tank ditches and shipping containers the troops had to navigate. All 8,000 soldiers navigated almost two miles of smoke, water, and simulated weapon fire in remembrance of those who fought before them.

“The anti-tank ditch is six feet deep with two feet of spool, which is the extra dirt on the mound on each side,” Captain Ryan Griffis, the event planning coordinator, said. “And then the third one was eight feet deep with two feet of spool on each side total. A total of ten feet so that on the last anti-tank ditch, they had to use a battle buddy system to get all their equipment and the soldiers out of that.”

This training event represents the 2009 battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan. Eight soldiers were killed, and 27 were wounded in the fight against 400 Taliban. The 4th Infantry Division helped defend Combat Outpost Keating.

The Public Affairs officer said this division has a “historic legacy.”

“This division has been at the forefront of multiple engagements across the globe,” Lieutenant Colonel Ireka Sanders, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Officer, said. “So I tell you, you could pick anyone, and it’ll probably be a great time for our soldiers to recognize the great legacy that we are part of.”

Friday, the smoke, the carrying of eight stretchers, ten five-gallon water jugs, and a three-hundred-pound tire all serve a symbolic purpose.

“There were eight soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Alex Kupratty, Command Sergeant Major of the 4th Infantry Division, said. “That was represented throughout the litter carry [stretchers] at the very end when we brought the leaders and put them into the litters and finish up the last couple hundred meters to the finish line.”

“In the battle, the overall was the village was on fire at the end of that battle,” Captain Griffis said. “So it simulates on the mount side that we have here, we had the soldiers, the whole division come through that mount side to simulate that village that was on fire at the battle of Kamdesh.”

Fort Carson hosts these events to honor the soldiers’ battles over the years, including the battles of Hurtgen Forest in Germany, Utah Beach in Normandy during World War II, and Dak To in Vietnam.

“We could tell our soldiers the history, or we could do events like this,” Lieutenant Colonel Sanders said. “Where they can touch, feel and give them a reason to remember and honor the legacy holders that came before us.”

“[The] tough, realistic training is what builds cohesive teams,” Command Sergeant Major Kupratty said. “Everyone, regardless of rank, you have colonel here all the way down to privates doing the exact same thing, pulling the exact same weight, and that’s what we expect them to do in combat. And this is the perfect way of an example to show the younger generation that the older guys are doing this with you.”

Future historic PT events are still to be determined until a new leader takes over control of the 4th Infantry Division.

Major General David Hodne will change command on Tuesday to Major General David Doyle.