JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. —
By the third day of the week-long Rapid Support Challenge, U.S. Army Sgt. Ian Lubert was feeling the burn in his aching body as he raced through an obstacle course.
Distracting thoughts of fatigue filled Lubert’s head while he struggled to push himself. Upon the course’s final turn, the sight of his wife and two sons cheering for him at the finish line was all he needed to muster up a burst of energy to help him refocus and propel himself to the end.
In 2015, the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element, 832nd Transportation Battalion, 597th Transportation Brigade, cargo specialist’s wife, Sgt. Austiana Lubert, 690th RPOE, 832nd Trans. Btn., 597th Trans. Bde., transportation management coordinator, was one of few female Soldiers to compete in Army knowledge and fitness challenges, resulting in achievements naming her Soldier of the Year and ultimately claiming 2nd Place at the Army Materiel Command level.
This year, Austiana Lubert applauded her husband from the sidelines as he competed in the Rapid Support Challenge at Joint Base Langley-Eustis from Feb. 25 through March 1.
According to Austiana Lubert, watching her husband compete reminded her of the excitement she felt when she was faced with the same complicated and exhausting tasks.
“I wanted [Ian] to know how much I supported him so I went to as many of the competitions as possible,” said Austiana Lubert. “Just being out there brought back all the feelings of adrenaline and motivation that comes when you push yourself, and even surprise yourself, with what you can accomplish.”
The challenge began with an Army physical fitness test, followed by a surprise event that positioned Soldiers in a Humvee rollover simulation and required a safe and successful escape.
The rest of the competition consisted of land navigation, water survival, a 12-mile ruck, combatives and an obstacle course. Challenge organizers also arranged for participants to stand before a panel to further test Army knowledge at the end of the week.
“It kind of threw us all off,” said Ian Lubert. “We were all so drained after just finishing the ruck march and the water survival, which was the most tiring of all the events.”
Both husband and wife said they help each other reach their career and fitness goals.
“There is some healthy competition between us, and I think we definitely push each other,” said Austiana Lubert. “There has to be some teasing in there too. Our friends would tease him about when I competed or if I made rank first, but he just laughed it off. Maybe it motivated him a little more too.”
According to Ian Luberts, being able to have his two sons cheer him on from the sidelines made the day just that much special. Knowing they got to see him competing and know anything is possible.
“Being able to see them there helped me when I was [worn] out,” said Ian Lubert. “I definitely needed that extra push at the water survival challenge.”
Soldiers were required to wear full gear to include boots and their ruck sacks not only for the timed swim, but also for the land navigation task. For an added challenge element, they donned full mission-oriented protection posture gear while navigating to four established points.
Ian Lubert ultimately took 3rd place in the competition and was awarded the Army achievement medal.
The top three Soldiers and NCOs are now qualified to move on to the Best Warrior Challenge at the command level.
Ian Lubert said he is looking forward to competing in the next challenge and using the confidence he has gained during the previous grueling days.
“It’s all about pushing yourself to see what you’re made of,” said Ian Lubert. “At first you think ‘There’s no way I can do that,’ but then you get out there and do it and it gives you a sense of motivation and pride.”
Ian stood on the stage of Fort Eustis’ Wylie Theater displaying his certificate, his new medal and a beaming smile as Austiana Lubert and the couples’ sons cheered for him from the audience. The ceremony ended with fellow Soldiers and NCOs doling out handshakes and hugs to the competitors while Ian Lubert held his son Wyatt, 1, and kept Anthony, 3, close by his side.