Defenders challenge, complete

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Melissa V. Paradise
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
And they're off! Two defenders sprint towards the ocean carrying a kayak and paddles. They jump into the kayak, paddle off and the Lt. Joseph Helton Defenders Challenge begins.

Team-by-team, 36 defenders from the 6th Security Forces Squadron kayaked, ran, assembled and marched through a 10-part physically challenging competition.

The challenge was designed to mentally and physically challenge the defenders, all while learning how to better work as a team and build moral and honor a local hero.

"The challenge is a great way to build teamwork and camaraderie between defenders," said Officer Jesse Gabbert, 6th SFS marine patrol officer in charge and defenders challenger organizer. "This is exactly what Lt. Helton stood for and is a way to express our esprit de corps."

Separating the 36 participants were nine four-man teams, which molded together to tackle a series of six staggered events.

Comprising the challenge was a 400-meter kayak paddle followed by a half-mile run with a weapon, two 50 pound ammo-can carries of 200 meters, 100 push-ups, an assembly and function check of an M-4 rifle and M-9 pistol, a two-mile ruck march, and an active shooter scenario.

When everything was all said and done, the average time to complete the challenge was one hour 17 minutes with the first place team, Marine Patrol team 2, finishing in just one hour seven minutes.

"It was challenging, but my team felt a lot of pride upon completion--I'm really proud of how we worked together," said Tech. Sgt. Rojen Richards, 6th SFS bravo flight assistant flight chief.

"We achieved our goal of this challenge and I think it's something that we will build on to make it an annual event," said Gabbert. "I'd say we accomplished our mission."