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Iron Aviator: Soldiers compete for coveted title

Capt. Jeff Godfrey, biker for Team 2, gets ready to cross the finish line with his son, Toby, safely strapped in during the AVC3 Iron Aviator Competition May 7. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Capt. Jeff Godfrey, biker for Team 2, gets ready to cross the finish line with his son, Toby, safely strapped in during the AVC3 Iron Aviator Competition May 7. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: May 15, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 15, 2014) -- Complete with a makeshift swimming pool and Soldiers dressed as minions from “Despicable Me,” Class 1401 of the Aviation Captains Career Course was ready to compete for one of Fort Rucker’s most coveted titles.

Four teams and five individuals competed against each other May 7 during the AVC3 Iron Aviator competition as a way to come together, build camaraderie and create one last memory before graduation, said Capt. Lisa Halvorson, AVC3 instructor.

“This is just a fun event and it culminates their time here at the Captains Career Course. It’s an end-of-course competition that everyone loves to get involved in,” she said. “It’s more about fun than it is an actual competition.”

Although the competition is meant for fun and camaraderie, the events it is comprised of aren’t to be taken lightly – 4 ½-mile ruck march, a 300-meter swim, an 8.8-mile bike ride and a 2.3-mile run to finish.

For most, the toughest event of the competition is the ruck march, during which the competitors must carry about 30 pounds of equipment and a gun through a wooded trail, and even a water obstacle.

Those competing in teams designated one person to participate in each event, but those competing individually had to complete all events on their own.

Each team and individual was allowed a pit crew to help during the transitions between events, but the job of the pit crew was also about boosting morale and having a good time.

“Each team has a pit crew and we let them make up their own theme,” said Halvorson. “They can get as creative as possible, and some of them got pretty creative this year.”

Halvorson said it’s important for the Soldiers to build on that camaraderie, considering all of the work they put in throughout the course.

“Throughout the year they’ve had a lot of assignments and requirements that they’ve had to go through, and they’ve gone through some very stringent schedules,” said the instructor. “These students have been pulled in all different directions throughout the course, so this is just a way for them to come out, relax, have fun with each other and hang out. It’s a good note to end on.”

Although it’s focused more on the fun and camaraderie, all competitions have their winners, and Capt. Dan Keyser came out on top as the Iron Aviator, finishing with a time of 1:45:11, beating the closest individual competitor by more than seven minutes.

Team 3, The Right to Arm Bears, took the title of top team with a time of 1:37:03.

Capt. Teddy Boedikker, swimmer for The Right to Arm Bears, said he was glad to be a part of the winning team, and the competition was a good reason for him to try and get back into exercising.

“I think this is a great event because I haven’t had a chance to compete in a race like this since college, so this was a good chance for me to come out and swim for my team – it’s a good reason to get in shape,” he said.

Capt. Will Eggers, individual competitor, agreed and said the time spent with his classmates made it that much better.

“It was just a good workout, and it’s nice to come out in the morning and workout and spend time with all of these people,” said Eggers, who finished second in the individual competition. “It’s just great for camaraderie, and the donuts were fantastic.”

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/126107/

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