FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from the 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade hosted the Dirty Bird Mud Run Sept. 7 at Fort Hood’s all-terrain vehicle course.
Three different events were offered to participants – an individual and four-person team competition as well as a short course for kids and
Families, said 1st Lt. Bryan Harrison, a platoon leader with the 64th Military Police Company.
“We had a 3-mile competitive mud run and a 1-mile course for the Families and kids,” Harrison explained.
The competitive course included heavy load carrying, climbing over several hay walls, low crawling, running through a creek, navigating a tire drill and even swimming through a small pond.
Joni Schildman, Family Readiness Support Assistant with the Criminal Investigation Command, ran the course and explained some of what she had to deal with.
“We went through a lot of mud, we carried sandbags, climbed over hay,” Schildman said. “Overall, the course really challenged us, both mentally and physically.”
It was a team from the 89th MP Bde. headquarters that stole the show, completing the course in less than 33 minutes. The four-person team – Maj. Mark Katz, Maj. Dustin Phillips, Sgt. Maj. Dianna Smith and Master Sgt. Jesse Mejia, each member being physically fit – was challenged by the obstacles on this run.
“I think the most challenging events were the 600-meter liter carry and the swim,” Katz said. “The water was up to your neck, so you either swam or tried to find good footing to propel yourself forward.”
In addition to participating in the event, Schildman also helped coordinate donations and sponsorships from outside businesses and organizations to make the Dirty Bird happen.
“This is the first of what will become an annual event, which we will use as a fundraiser for the MP Ball,” Harrison said.
Fourteen teams and about 100 individuals took part in the competitive portion of the mud run. With Family support and participation, the total number of attendees reached even higher.
“It turned out better than I expected; we had roughly 250 participants total,” Harrison said. “And it can only get getter from here.”
Harrison explained the importance of events such as the Dirty Bird.
“This is a great opportunity for Soldiers and Families to have fun,” Harrison said. “Families are the best support system Soldiers have, so we wanted to create an event that would include Families and give them something to bond over.”
Harrison himself expressed his desire to include his Family in future events.
“I would give anything to be able to bring my daughter out,” he said.
Katz, along with the other team members, volunteered when the opportunity presented itself as they knew it would help lower-enlisted Soldiers attend the upcoming ball. Along with the other participants, more than $1,000 was raised during this inaugural event.
“It was a good esprit de corps event and definitely a challenge that I enjoyed,” Katz said. “This was my first mud run and I glad to support it.”