Military Matters: AFA Commandant’s Challenge

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Air Force Academy’s Commandant’s Challenge requires determination and grit.

The annual team challenge is a chance for squadrons to put what they’ve learned to the test and focuses on the squadrons – that means each team is put to the test when it comes to fitness, leadership and discipline.

“This whole weekend we have Commandant’s, and the Commandant’s Challenge which is essentially an assessment of the squadrons ability to persevere, push themselves and to work together,” said cadet wing Michael Hurst.

The weekend kicked off with a combat search and rescue demonstration where cadets could watch first hand how a rescue mission is performed.

“Some of our aircraft come in and para rescue men demonstrating what they do on a daily basis which is really neat for cadets to see because we’re not always connected to operational skills like that on a daily basis,” said Sara Fishbein, the cadet wing commander.

Using two Black Hawk helicopters, the Air Force’s rescue combat team simulated locating, treating and evacuating a downed airman.

“Perform one of their demos that they do everyday on a daily basis, it’s absolutely extraordinary to see this kind of work being done,” said Hurst.

The two-day military team challenge is a way for squadrons to showcase their best but it’s also meant to evaluate the officer ship of all 4,000 cadets.

“This biggest thing that cadets can take away from that is small team leadership and how important it is to really operate as a squadron,” said Fishbein.

“This is a culmination of all of our training within the past few months,” said Hurst. “Obviously being one of the major training events of the semester. It’s really a crucial point for showing where we’re at as a wing.”

The challenge wrapped up Saturday with a march to Jacks Valley before the top squadron and cadet were chosen for the Commandant’s Challenge trophy.

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