News: Muddy Wingmen: Building bonds with mud, sweat, fitness
Story by Staff Sgt. Stephen Linch
SUFFOLK, United Kingdom - Members of the 352nd Special Operations Group participated in the Tough Mudder U.K. Southwest 2013 event Sept. 21, 2013, at Crickhowell, Wales.
During the event, members of the “352 SOG Tough Mudders” team helped each other carry logs, scale walls, get through tunnels, jump ditches, cross a river and traverse miles of muddy trail before crossing the finish line.
“It is a team-building event. It wasn’t a race,” said Chief Master Sgt. William Markham, 352nd SOG command chief. “Just about every obstacle required the help of a team member to get through it or over it.”
“It would have been a lot more difficult to complete if I had to go through it on my own,” said Col. Christopher Ireland, 352nd Special Operations Group commander. “So for me and the Tough Mudder, it was about signing up with teammates who wanted to physically challenge themselves. Each of us struggled at some point during the challenge—but we motivated each other me through the course and across the finish line. It was even (a little) fun at times.”
“Everyone needs a strong wingman – no one can do the mission by themselves,” Markham echoed Ireland’s sentiment. “You need wingmen (teammates) to help you along. Sometimes when you’re down and struggling, they will pick you up. Sometimes when they are down and struggling, you are there to pick them up.”
Although teamwork was important, it was not the only attribute needed to complete the event.
“Physical fitness was essential to this event and is also one of the key elements to the Air Commando lifestyle (culture),” Markham said. “Having a healthy lifestyle helps us when we are under stress to stay at peak performance longer than others. Our recovery time is quicker when we stick to a good physical fitness regimen and an Air Commando lifestyle.
“Physical fitness is also important because it builds self confidence that will carry into your professional appearance and attitude. It also helps you know who you can count on to your left and right – having a good wingman or teammate,” he added.
According to Markham, just as teamwork and fitness allowed every member of the “352 SOG Tough Mudders” to cross the finish line, it can also help airmen achieve success in everyday life.
“Being physically strong helps keep you spiritually and mentally strong as well,” the chief said. “Being our best helps keep our nation it's best.
“Wingman – don’t leave home without it!” he added.