As the sun slowly rose behind the rocky mountain terrain, people began to gather at the bottom of the ascending trail. After hiking at a swift pace, sweat slowly dropped from their exhausted faces, the Airmen could see their destination.
Airmen from the 56th Maintenance Group Maintenance Operations flight at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., participated in a hike recently at the White Tanks Mountains to build leadership, foster teamwork and have fun.
The Thunderbolts trekked through the desert terrain with smiles and polite conversation, while enduring a cold desert morning.
The hike consisted of jumping down and out of dry river beds while hiking through winding trails at various elevations until completion.
Staff Sgt. Mathew Werner, 56th Maintenance Group ammo quality insurance inspector, volunteered to create and lead the three to four mile hike event.
“The goal was to essentially start a new program,” Werner said. “We thought it was important to build morale as a unit and explore physical fitness outside of running around a track.”
Werner came up with the idea after sitting down with Maj. Daniel Kline, 56th MXG Maintenance Operations staff section commander, to discuss ways to improve the overall fitness of the unit.
“We have a lot of good teamwork and camaraderie in our shop,” Werner said. “This event was held to spread out and reach those units and flights that don’t interact on a daily basis.”
The new fitness program gives Airmen of all ranks the opportunity to participate in a monthly hike in a relaxed but physically demanding environment, while building morale.
“Sharing this experience was important for team building,” Kline said. “I believe it was a very successful event and hope for even more participation.”