Local

May 9, 2014

EOD sets pace for explosive challenge

Airman 1st Class Taylor Wellnitz, 56th CES EOD technician, lifts a weighted ammo can over his head May 2 while participating in the EOD Warrior Fitness Challenge at Luke. Sixty-four athletes from around Arizona participated and more than 150 spectators came to watch.

 
The U.S. Air Force explosive ordnance disposal technicians have a physically demanding job. On May 2, people from around Arizona got a taste, first hand, of just how demanding it really is by participating in the EOD Warrior Fitness Challenge at Luke Air Force Base.

The 56th Force Support Squadron, working in conjunction with the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD flight, hosted the event. Teams of four raced through 10 obstacles competing with each other and the clock to see who was the best.

“The competitors loved it,” said Sherri Biringer, 56th Force Support Squadron recreation aide and event coordinator. “The ones who have already run through want to do it again.”

The invitation for the event was extended across Arizona, with participants coming from the Phoenix Police Department, various CrossFit gyms and local service members.

EOD Airmen pull a Humvee as part of the challenge. Participants also completed a 70-pound rucksack run, an under-fire obstacle and a downed team member litter carry.

Crawling through the mud and lifting heavy things wasn’t the only purpose of the event.

It was to give people an idea of what service members in combat do on a day-today basis and what our EOD Airmen do, said Capt. Edmund Spivak, 56th CES EOD flight commander.

“I think it’s important that the community gets to see what we do inside these closed gates when they get here,” he said. “This also raises awareness of the EOD Warrior Foundation, which supports us when we get wounded in action.”

Biringer urges the participants to also use this as a way to judge their overall fitness level.

Nick Almanshaw, CrossFit Incendia, climbs out of the mud after completing a low crawl obstacle.

“I hope they take away a little more respect, not just for the military side of this, but the fitness side of this,” she said, “so they can actually see that their fitness level is not what they thought it was, and they need to bump it up a bit.”

Elizabeth Zapata, a contestant in the challenge, agreed with Biringer.

“I’ve been doing CrossFit for five years,” Zapata said. “This is my first time doing this type of challenge. I had to tell myself not to quit. You just have to keep going and not stop. I have a greater respect for what they have to do physically.”

The EOD Warrior PT Challenge was a huge success, said Spivak and Biringer. So much so that there are plans to make this an annual event at Luke.

“So go out, get fit and get ready,” Biringer said. “Next year’s EOD Warrior PT Challenge could be yours to win.”
 

Nora Zazueta and Emily Lilo, Team CrossFit 623, leap over a barrier. Female and male participants were required to perform the same tasks required of EOD technicians.

 

Team CrossFit 623 members pull a Humvee during the challenge.

 

Staff Sgt. Derrick Lehner, 944th Fighter Wing chaplain assistant, carries a member of his team during the EOD PT challenge at Luke. Lehner was a member of a four-person team competing for best time through the obstacle course.

 

Leaping into the water is an alternative to being sprayed for an event participant May 2 at Luke Air Force Base. Teams of four competed in the EOD Warrior PT Challenge.




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