Westbrook, Sanford engineers come out on top in hard-fought squad competition

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The 262nd Engineer Company squad, shown with Command Sgt. Maj. Ed Graves and Lt. Col. Lisa Sessions, commander and command sergeant major for the 133rd Engineer Battalion.

BANGOR, MAINE (09/13/2022) (readMedia)-- Every year as the leaves start to turn, Maine Army National Guard units send their top teams to compete against one another for the coveted title of "Best Squad." This year was no exception and soldiers from across the state gathered at the 240th Regional Training Institute for the event, held during the September 9-11 training period.

"The squad is the most influential level of the United States Army," said Sgt. 1st Class Nathaniel McCray, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Best Squad Competition. "Individuals look to each other, left and right, and look to their squad leaders. The squad is our most versatile echelon in the formation. It always brings a very diverse group of individuals - with varying backgrounds and skills - together to successfully problem solve and accomplish a mission."

Competition events included a stress shoot, modified Army Combat Fitness Test, day and night land navigation, vehicle maintenance, casualty evacuation, various squad tactics obstacles, and a water crossing.

"Ten squads were projected to compete, and all ten showed up ready for the challenge," said State Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Dill, Maine's senior enlisted soldier. "Late nights, early mornings, and long hot days magnified the need for every individual to dig a little deeper and give just a little more."

The scoring was close but in the end, the 262nd Engineer Company took home the bragging rights with a close win, edging out teams from the 136th Engineer Company (Lewiston and Skowhegan) and the 251st Engineer Company (Norway) who finished second and third, respectively.

"I am extremely proud of the 262's squad," said Capt. Danielle Somma, commander of the 262nd Engineer Company. "Their skills, determination and teamwork are impressive, and knowing they ended up on top given the talented units that participated is also impressive."

"There were some times that were stressful, but I found that the squad as a whole pushed through and found motivation to accomplish the mission," said Staff Sgt. James Leland, squad leader for the 262nd Engineer Company.

"We have some of the best soldiers in the nation – just when you think you have pushed them to their limits, they always find a way to give just a little bit more," Dill added. "My sincere appreciation goes out to all the competitors for their determined attitudes, impeccable motivation, and their competitive spirit. And thank you to all the command teams out there for their continued support for these competitions. Without your support, these events would not be as successful as they are."

The members of the 262nd Best Squad are: Staff Sgt. James Leland (South China), Sgt. Tyler Golightly (Bangor), Sgt. Tony Cuares (Fairfield), Sgt. Brett Baker (Sanford/Springvale), Sgt. David Filatov (Scarborough), Spc. Christopher Piper (Harrison), Pfc. Adam Mcleod (Sanford/Springvale)