‘Diehard’ Soldiers crowned champs at ‘Fight Night’

by Staff Sgt. Warren Wright
Stripes Korea

CAMP CASEY, South Korea – Since the evening of Nov. 18, 10 teams, spread across the 2nd Infantry Division / ROK-US Combined Division, took to the mat to see who would earn the title of champion during the “Fight Night” combative tournament hosted on Camp Casey, South Korea.

After five nights of fighting and 60 individual bouts, spread over the course of more than five weeks, one team emerged victorious and was crowned champions of the tournament following the final championship round Dec. 29.

The team that came out on top was the seven-fighter team from the 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, after an impressive showing during the competition’s final championship round.

The final round pitted the “Diehard” Soldiers from 1st Eng. Bn. against fellow “Devil” brigade Soldiers from “Hamilton’s Own” 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment.

While the Soldiers from “Hamilton’s Own” fought hard and with a lot of passion, the “Diehard” team won the night after winning five out of the seven bouts of the evening against “Hamilton’s Own” with a final score of 35-15.

“It takes a lot of courage to step out on the mat and test your mettle as a fighter,” said Col. Timothy Hayden, the commander of the 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div. “I’m really proud of all the fighters. Whether they won or lost, they all walked away as victors.”

While during most of the tournament the competition limited Soldiers to compete using only grappling styles, the final bout increased the challenge by introducing intermediate rules which allowed for open hand slaps to the face; punches to the body, torso and legs; and kicks and knees while standing.

“It was a completely phenomenal effort by the ‘Diehard’ battalion,” said Lt. Col. Scott Miller, the battalion’s commander. “It was a great effort across the entire team to put this together; and for them to come out and win is just icing on the cake.”

After the final heavyweight fight concluded, and all of the scores were tallied, Hayden came to the center of the mat to present the “Diehard” team with the victory trophy, officially signifying their rise to the top as the new champions.

“It’s awesome,” said 1st Lt. Steve Kerns, a platoon leader with 1st Eng. Bn. and a competitor in the light heavyweight division. “We kind of just started this just for fun. Coming out here, we proved that we have the best guys and the best training partners.”

In addition to the fighters and the event coordinators, hundreds of spectators were also on hand to witness the championship event. Each team had numerous supporters watching from the sidelines, cheering on their teams in hopes for a victory.

“For me, the best part of being involved was the turn out for the fighters,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Coots, the 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div.’s medical noncommissioned officer in charge, and one of the event coordinators. “While they were giving it all on the mats, the fans were there to cheer them on. Being able to bring in fighters from all over, with different backgrounds, and provide them with the support to help their drive and passion was rewarding.”

While previous tournaments were an annual occurrence, planners are now expecting to make “Fight Night” a quarterly event that will include teams from the 2nd Inf. Div. as well as those from outside the division.

For photos from the event, please visit the 1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div. Flickr page at https://flic.kr/s/aHskNMsc2q.

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