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Maxwell firefighters compete in international challenge



MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- Base firefighters competed in their first Firefighter Combat Challenge Oct. 21 in Montgomery, Alabama.

The annual competition attracts hundreds of international firefighters who come together to perform five grueling tasks while wearing approximately 50 pounds of gear. It is dubbed as the toughest two minutes in sports.

The tasks include climbing a five-story tower, hoisting hose, chopping, dragging hoses and carrying a 175-pound training dummy. These simulate real-life tasks that would be accomplished on the job.

The base’s fire department sent out three of its firefighters to compete in this year's competition, which ended Oct. 24.

Senior Airman Scott Weeks participated in two of the competitions previously while stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and began training when he heard the competition was coming to Montgomery.

"I came here not knowing there was a team; I just wanted to do it on my own. I met two guys that saw me training ... then they started coming out to train with me," Weeks said.

The training began with rigorous workouts consisting mostly of cardio and a particular workout named the hour of the tower, which was a full hour of climbing a five-story tower.

"If you want to participate, you have to work hard, train hard and get ready," said Jay Brown, also a firefighter at the base.

Over the course of four months, the team built more than muscle, they also strengthened ties.

"We were co-workers, we were firefighters, but now we are a team," Brown said.

During the competition, downtown Montgomery was packed with firefighters from 25 different locations around the world with one single objective -- complete the course faster than their opponent.

Weeks participated in the individual challenge and then again during the relay challenge with his teammates.

The Maxwell Air Force Base firefighters received their first taste of the competition and said they are excited to be put to the test again for years to come.

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