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April 11, 2014

Thunderbolts take on Viking Challenge

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Senior Airman MARCY COPELAND
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Senior Master Sgt. Leroy Ridgel, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron acting chief, runs with the American flag April 4 during the Viking Challenge at Luke Air Force Base. Part of Team America, Ridgel, along with nine others of his team, completed the 10-hour long relay marathon to raise money for the Enlisted Scholarship Fund. Fourteen teams participated in the annual event.

As the sun rises over Luke Air Force Base, the tops of canopy tents become illuminated and a brisk cold in the air has runners bouncing in place, warming up for the 10-hour run ahead of them.

The Logistics Officers Association Viking Challenge is an annual event held at Luke to raise money for scholarships so Airmen can further their education.

For 10 straight hours, 10-member teams run the track one team member at a time, changing runners every fourth lap during the relay marathon. For every lap ran, a local business sponsor donates money to the scholarship fund.

“It makes me feel really good that we can raise money toward more education,” said 2nd Lt. Allana Gallant, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Flight commander. “To provide people with a way to pursue their education is pretty awesome.”

Fourteen teams volunteered this year to run the marathon. Each team collectively pays the $100 entry fee to participate. The entry fees along with the sponsorship money raised is given back to the Enlisted Scholarship Fund.

“We are doing this race for America, for the red, white and blue,” said Capt. John Millard, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron Material Management Flight commander. “We want to show our pride, and we also want to help Airmen get into school and help them out as much as possible.”

The Viking Challenge is held annually with teams sporting costumes, showing their pride for the Air Force and support for a good cause.




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