BEATTY, Nev. — Eight Airmen from the 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, united to form a team to take on the challenges of the Las Vegas Tough Mudder competition at Spicer Ranch here Oct. 6.
Tough Mudder, a company that specializes in a 10-mile obstacle course developed by British Special Forces, is a supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project and has raised more than $3 million in support of service members returning from the battlefield. The obstacle course is designed to test a challenger’s strength, stamina, mental perseverance and camaraderie.
“Not only is the event supporting a good cause, but we get to go out and have a good time,” said Tech. Sgt. Marco Musquiz, 757th AMXS airframe power plant general section chief. “Our goal is to finish as a team. There is no first place or last place. It’s about going through everything together.”
Many obstacles designed specifically with teamwork in mind.
“Tough Mudder is all about team participation and helping each other out,” Musquiz said. “The reason I wanted to build a team is to raise morale for us. We’re here to have a good time.”
Airmen from the 757th AMXS Tough Mudder team finished the obstacle course in approximately four hours, crossing the finish line, arms locked and together.
For many, the obstacle course was far more challenging than they thought.
“It was pretty brutal to be honest,” said Senior Airman Michael Allen, 757th AMXS crew chief. “The first half of it, you’re still pumped and motivated, but after you reach about mile five, your limbs start locking up. After that, it’s pretty hellacious. We were all helping each other, striving to continue.”
“It was comparable to climbing Mount Charleston without obstacles,” said Tech. Sgt. Jimmy Kox, 757th AMXS specialist section chief.
Despite the mental and physical challenges, the team’s motivation allowed them to complete thecourse.
“Nobody wanted to quit and become that one person who sat out while everyone else completed the course,” said Senior Airman Steven Tabaczynski 757th AMXS crew chief. “This was something we signed up to do, so why not finish it?”
Teamwork pushed them forward to finish together, but the knowledge that the event was all for wounded warriors and those returning from the battlefield was the push that drove it all home.
“I remember one challenge in particular where we had to carry a team mate a certain distance,” Allen said. “I thought it was pretty awesome that they included that. It reminded you, that even though you’re tired and beat up, we are here for a reason and for a good cause.”
“It’s amazing to see how many people come out to this,” Tabaczynski said. “I have a lot of pride to see how many people are out here to support those who sacrifice so much.”
Fifty-six internationally located Tough Mudder events are planned for 2013 to continue to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
The Wounded Warrior Project aims to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured service members aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.