Soldiers Compete In Slovenian Challenge Cup

A Slovenian Army soldier deployed to Kosovo with Multinational Battle Group-West carries her teammate during the combat fitness test portion of the Slovenian Challenge Cup, held Oct. 8, 2015, at Camp Villagio Italia, Kosovo. (U.S. Army photo by Ardian Nreca)

Rain, mud and cold at Camp Village Italia, Kosovo didn’t stop 14 teams of international participants — to include US Army Soldiers — from competing in the Slovenian Challenge Cup, which involved a series of physical and mental challenges that included a combat fitness test, 10-kilometer foot march, weapons range, individual first aid and wounded recover skills, and group tug of war event.

Members of the Kosovo Force, European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, and the Kosovo Security Force competed for the cup, Oct. 8 at Camp Villagio Italia. The event is fully organized and initiated by the noncommissioned officers of the Slovenian contingent in Kosovo.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mark Leffew, a pharmacy technician deployed to Kosovo with the 345th Combat Support Hospital fires an M16 rifle on a weapons range during the Slovenian Challenge Cup. (U.S. Army photo by Ardian Nrecaj)

Slovenian Army Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Kovac, the senior enlisted leader for the Slovenian 77th Brigade, currently with KFOR’s Multinational Battle Group-West, emphasized that their main reason for organizing the competition was to gather together all the nations that serve within KFOR, as well as their partner forces.

U.S. Army Spc. Dane Beitzel, a military police soldier with the 363rd Military Police Company out Grafton, W.Va., crawls during the combat fitness test portion of the Slovenian Challenge Cu. (U.S. Army photo by Ardian Nrecaj)

“It is very important that we get to know each other, we serve on different bases all over Kosovo and we do not get to see each other a lot, because mostly we are in our bases when we are doing our daily routine tasks. It is important that we get to know each other,” Kovac said.

At the end of the day, the Slovenian Challenge Cup was awarded to those with a hometown advantage: the Kosovo Security Force team from 2nd Battalion, Quick Reaction Force Brigade came in first place.

A team of Kosovo Security Force soldiers from 2nd Battalion, Quick Reaction Force Brigade, pose with senior leaders after being awarded first place and winners of the Slovenian Challenge Cup. (U.S. Army photo by Ardian Nrecaj)