News: Greatest Race teams test knowledge and physical endurance in various challenges
Story by Staff Sgt. Carmen Steinbach
GUANTANAMO BAY - Few competitions can bring co-workers and families together like a race - not merely a run from point A to point B, but an endurance trial for the mind and body. In this type of competition team members are divided up by events, contributing their own unique talents to bring home a victory.
To help build that sense of camaraderie and trust, three teams from around Naval Station Guantanamo Bay and Joint Task Force Guantanamo participated in GTMO’s Greatest Race Saturday.
One of the race officials, Army Lt. Col. Jerrie Muir, said this event was geared toward not only bringing together different organizations for friendly competition, but to stimulate minds and bodies.
Locals might remember a race several weeks ago modeled after the popular TV show “The Amazing Race.” The visionaries behind the Greatest Race enjoyed their predecessor, but wanted to take the event one step further.
“We decided to put together a similar event but to make it much more physically and mentally challenging,” said Muir.
Beginning at Cooper Field, the Greatest Race was comprised of 10 stations spread out around GTMO. A team member or members, depending on the activity, had to complete one event before moving on to the next.
The fireman’s carry kicked off the race, followed by a run up John Paul Jones Hill and a bike ride to Cable Beach and back to the starting line.
Spc. Kevin Palomera, a human resources specialist with JTF’s J-1, excelled particularly well in the running events for his team, 1-4-3, a group comprised of members from JTF’s J-1, J-2 and J-3 sections. He is no stranger to speed challenges and said it was the competitive nature of the Greatest Race that drew him to participate.
“The event is awesome! It’s very competitive,” said Palomera. “All three teams are competing for this win. You see one [team] in the lead, then you see another one, and next thing you know, we’re in the lead … it’s all very exciting.”
Once the bikers returned, team members combined their knowledge for a military and U.S. history quiz, followed by a basketball free-throw and a soccer ball kick from 50-yards.
Traveling to the Marine Hill pool for the next event, the competitors had to complete a 1,000 meter swim, either with a single participant or trading off laps as a group, like team Berserker. By dividing up the task, they were able to work together to accomplish their objective, a skill that is very useful in their organization.
“This is an excellent opportunity to continue team building,” said Army 1st Sgt. William Schultz with the 342nd Military Police Company. “It’s very well organized. The events are of a wide variety. It encompasses a lot of different activities and necessary skills sets.”
The final activities took place at the Bay View. First was a government quiz, then the billiard shot or cup carry (decided by a coin toss) and finally a flag quiz. When team FOMBIC, composed of members from the FBI and the Office of Military Commissions and their dependents reached the eighth challenge, they were in a comfortable lead. However, it was the cup carry/billiard shot that evened the playing field, and put the Beserkers in the top spot.
After completing the treacherous plastic cup carry with no restarts, 342nd MP Company Commander Capt. Stephen Hizer and his Soldiers, 1st Sgt. William Schultz, Sgt. 1st Class Todd Reed, Staff Sgt. Eric Oreilly, Staff Sgt. David Pelsnik and Spc. Corey Stevick, were named the champions. Teams FOMBIC and 1-4-3 took second and third places respectively.
It was a long day of competition but victor Schultz said he will definitely plan to engage in similar activities in the future with more of his unit members.
“If more of these team events come up where we have to create teams within our companies and come and compete … we’ll be all over this every time,” said Schultz. “It’s nice to have an environment that is low stress; its focus is all about having fun. Whether you win or lose, it’s a good time.”
This work, Greatest Race teams test knowledge and physical endurance in various challenges, by SSG Carmen Steinbach, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.