Trenches of brown, muddy water, high-pressure hoses blasting contestants head-on, mud-soaked shoes and clothes, tire flips and a steep mud-slide – these are the sure signs of a grueling event commonly referred to as a mud run.
Thunderbolts hosted approximately 70 cadets from local Reserve Officers’ Training Corps detachments to compete against one another and receive mentorship from company grade officers in the fourth annual Luke ROTC Mudder, Nov. 3, 2017.
“The Luke Mudder is a mud obstacle competition between four ROTC detachments – Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, Embry-Riddle, and the University of Arizona,” said 1st Lt. Mathieu Lefebvre, 56th Mission Support Group executive officer and president of Luke’s Company Grade Officer Council (CGOC). “The detachment with the fastest time completing the course takes home the traveling trophy.”
The mile and a half course consists of 17 obstacles designed to test strength, stamina and build camaraderie among its participants.
Lefebvre said the Luke Mudder is an opportunity for the cadets to close their books, get outside, connect with other detachments and start learning about Air Force lifestyle.
“The mudder builds confidence and embraces decision making,” Lefebvre said. “The relationship between cadets and Luke AFB is about mentoring and developing future leaders. The intention is to provide a positive experience for the cadets and for CGOs to make an early impact in their life. CGOs mentor and answer questions cadets may have regarding jobs and life in general in the Air Force.”
Lefebvre explained that a key aspect to the Luke Mudder is the building of team dynamics.
“The Luke Mudder requires stamina, strength and at times decision making,” Lefebvre said. “When I see cadets, who are otherwise quiet, provide solutions and step out of their comfort zone to help their teams succeed, then the Luke Mudder has accomplished its goal.”
For most cadets, this was their first time participating in a mud run event to challenge their team building skills.
“This was my first experience doing a mud run,” said Matt Metera, Arizona State University ROTC cadet. “Having the fighter jets flying above us the whole time really helped motivate and excite everyone. It’s been an all-around great experience getting to know other officers who have been in our shoes and seeing where we will be someday.”
For nearly two months, more than 20 volunteers readied the course for the race, ensured the cadets were vetted for base access and helped provide a catered lunch.
“We train and live every day, but seldom do we engage in competition to test our grit,” Lefebvre said. “After everything is all said and done, Team Luke hopes to challenge individuals to push themselves beyond their comfort zones and help teams perform at a higher level.”
In the end, Northern Arizona University took home the traveling trophy with a first place time of 26 minutes and 27 seconds.
The CGOC frequently hosts local events and organizations and will continue to support the Air Force’s future leaders and build the future of airpower.