Health & Safety

August 23, 2013

Med group rewards physical fitness

JAYSON BURNS
Thunderbolt staff writer

Just as other groups on Luke Air Force Base have their own competitions, like the Aircraft Maintenance Unit of the Month award, the 56th Medical Group has created a Commander’s Cup to help raise fitness awareness amongst its Airmen. The trophy and title of “Most Fit Corps,” is given to the team from the 56th MDG that accumulates the most points through a series of physical challenges. The sciences team, or corps, came home with the prize for this last competition.

The Commander’s Cup is initiated by the group commander every six months. These competitions tend to be different physical challenges with every rotation, though occasionally the same challenge will be used again. The four-person teams represent different corps from throughout the 56th MDG such as nursing or medical records.

Airmen most recently competed in a 360-mile relay race across Arizona. Senior Airman Kelly Vasel, 56th Medical Support Squadron laboratory technician who competed with the victorious science corps, said the race became more competitive once the prize was revealed.

“It was pretty intense,” Vasel said. “I think some people didn’t know they were offering the Commander’s Cup for this one, and as soon as they found out, that’s when the competition really got fired up.”

Airman 1st Class Christopher Mercado, 56th MDSS, one of Vasel’s fellow teammates, along with Airman 1st Class Corey Gunn, 56th MDSS and Maj. Siddig Mirghani, 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health flight commander, said they felt a great sense of accomplishment after winning the competition.

“There was a lot of competition, so it was a proud moment,” Mercado said. “Three hundred and sixty miles is a lot, even split between four people. It was a humbling moment as well, because everyone was going for it. And when you find out you were the first one to do it, it’s a pretty good feeling.”

In the next Commander’s Cup six months from now, the winners get to choose the challenge. Having already won the first time they competed, both Vasel and Mercado are confident they can keep their fresh, 100-percent record.

“I don’t think we’ve come up with anything yet for the next competition,” Vasel said, “but it will definitely be a good one.”




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