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Fitness program to test Airmen physically, mentally

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Airmen at 18 installations will see a new era of physical fitness as the Air Force Personnel Center Directorate of Services introduces the Air Force Team Cohesion Challenge.

The pilot program, built around special operations training, is designed to teach leadership, promote unit cohesion and inspire teams to perform their best.

"This program was developed to provide Airmen the opportunity to participate in a team-based event which incorporates the five Cs of comprehensive Airmen fitness - caring, committing, connecting, communicating and celebrating," said Benjamin Evers, Air Force Personnel Center outdoor recreation specialist. "It will not only challenge Airmen physically but also demand they work as a unit to tackle both physical and mental obstacles."

The challenge involves two elements: a base-wide 5K run and the rucksack challenge. The 5K run is open to everyone on base and is mandatory for all participants who registered for the main event.

Airmen can sign up for the rucksack challenge individually or with their friends and coworkers. Once registered, the force support squadron places members on a 30-person team, known as their GORUCK family.

"The 5K run creates awareness for the new program and is also an icebreaker for the GORUCK family," Evers said. "We highly encourage participants in the 5K run as a unit so as to mimic the GORUCK Light. For example, teams could hold a rope during the entire run or run in some sort of formation."

The day following the 5K, members who registered for the rucksack challenge will participate in a 4-to-5-hour team event during which a special forces veteran, called a Cadre, will lead the team in military-inspired challenges and missions, including basic training calisthenics, swimming, lifting and marching. Throughout the event participants will wear a backpack filled with 30 to 40 pounds of equipment.

"This program is physically demanding which promotes a 'hard work in, positive results out,' attitude and we have specifically selected this event for the military relevance and focus on group and team dynamics," explained Evers.

The Team Cohesion Challenge is a centrally developed and centrally funded program which builds upon the current popularity of adventure and mud races. The AFPC Directorate of Services partnered with GoRuck to provide trained cadre for each event. GoRuck is a veteran owned enterprise consisting of former special forces members who strive to provide a rewarding fitness experience.

Installations participating in the pilot program include Altus Air Force Base, Okla., Beale AFB, Calif., Buckley AFB, Colo., Cannon AFB, N.M., Eglin AFB, Fla., Grand Forks AFB, N.D., Holloman AFB, N.M., Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, Little Rock AFB, Ark., March Air Reserve Base, Ga., Minot AFB, N.D., Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, Patrick AFB, Fla., Robins AFB, Ga., Scott AFB, Ill., Vance AFB, Okla., Westover ARB, Mass., and Whiteman AFB, Mo.

Airmen interested in testing their abilities can sign up for the Air Force Team Cohesion Challenge at participating force support squadrons.

For more information about the Air Force Team Cohesion Challenge contact participating force support squadrons. For more information about Air Force Services activities and programs visit www.myairforcelife.com or www.usafservices.com.

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