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Boonsboro High grad takes part in military competition

December 03, 2011|By S.L. STANDIFIRD | Special to The Herald-Mail
  • U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew A. Wetzel
Submitted Photo

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Before the sun could rise above the peaks of the surrounding Ozarks and the Mark Twain National Forest, the son of a Keedysville couple was marching through heavy rain, over harsh terrain, while avoiding relentless bugs, and battling fatigue to complete the 2011 Military Police Corps Regiment Worldwide Warfighter Competition.

U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew A. Wetzel, son of Marrin A. and Vicki L. Wetzel of Chestnut Grove Road, Keedysville, is a military policeman with 289th Military Police Co., Fort Meyer, Va., who endured the competition with his teammates to finish 10th overall.

The competition is a three-and-a-half-day marathon of military police and Army skills designed to test and train the junior soldiers within the regiment. Each military police battalion in the Army is represented, often after having a competition of its own to determine which three soldiers will represent the battalion.

 "We held a two-day tryout at our unit," said Wetzel, a 2007 Boonsboro High School graduate. "I was very nervous to start."

 The events included a written exam about military police and Army history, a physical readiness test that included modified Army physical fitness test events, night land navigation, battle drill and warrior task stations, various weapons drills and firing scenarios, a combatives tournament, and a 15-mile endurance march to mark the completion.

 Going in, it was about more than just winning or finishing for Wetzel. The lessons learned were well worth the pain and effort, he said.

"I just wanted to stay focused and motivated," Wetzel said. "I will take back with me some cool training and great stories."

 All of the 37 teams that participated in the competition finished the entire event.

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