'Amazing Race' raises morale in Afghanistan

U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs
Story by Tech. Sgt. Oshawn Jefferson

Date: 06.03.2010
Posted: 06.03.2010 12:10
News ID: 50796
'Amazing Race' raises morale in Afghanistan

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SMART, Afghanistan – Airmen and Soldiers with the Zabul Provincial Reconstruction Team took time out from their critical mission, May 29, to participate in their own version of 'The Amazing Race' to boost morale, build team cohesiveness and most of all have fun.

"Everyone seemed to have a good time," said Senior Airman Cassie Webster, Zabul PRT medical technician and coordinator of 'The Amazing Race' morale day activities deployed from Hurlburt Field, Fla. "Today was about breaking away from missions and just enjoying a day of PT and good competition."

The competition, which featured 11 four-person teams, featured sharp shooting, horseshoes, a Humvee-push, a bottle cap match game, push-up competition, brain teasers and lots of cardio.

"Man when I was pushing that Humvee, I was tired," said Senior Airman Xavier Baker, Zabul PRT communications specialist, deployed from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. "I had a good time though and we laughed a lot."

One Airman, could not stop laughing at the way some people got into the competition.

"People were accusing each other of cheating and pointing fingers at each other … it was hilarious," said Senior Airman Joshua Valind, Zabul PRT security forces, deployed from Dyess AFB, Texas. "After we got started everybody was into it. Everybody wanted to win."

In the end it was the all Guard and Reserve Army team of Staff Sgt. Tom Beattie, Sgt, James Wilson and Spc. James Mann, deployed from the Pennsylvania National Guard's 110th Infantry Battalion in Connellsville, Pa., and Spc. Shana Watson, a reservist deployed from the 404th Civil-Affairs Battalion at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., who finished the competition in a time of 28 minutes and 57 seconds.

"It was great to get out here with my teammates and have a good time," Watson said. "To have my teammates cheer me on and push me to the finish was awesome. These are some of the guys I go on missions with and the same people I work with every day. It was good to see people outside of uniform and just being themselves for a day. I had a great time and of course we won."

The top three teams took home the coveted Bunyad Trophy, which means foundation in the Afghan Pashtu language, representing the foundation the Joint team is helping to build here for Afghans in the region.

"Today was about laughing and remembering the fun things and freedoms we fight for each day," said Maj. Luis Otero, PRT Zabul chief medical officer deployed from Travis AFB, Calif. "Today was a good day. One team may have come out on top of the competition, but today, as far as team-building goes, the whole Zabul PRT won."