Guardian Challenge kicks off

Teddy Roosevelt impersonator Tech. Sgt. David Larrison, 91st Operations Squadron, rallies his fellow Rough Riders at the 2006 Guardian Challenge kickoff April 20. (U.S. Air Force Base photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Boitz)

Teddy Roosevelt impersonator Tech. Sgt. David Larrison, 91st Operations Squadron, rallies his fellow Rough Riders at the 2006 Guardian Challenge kickoff April 20. (U.S. Air Force Base photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Boitz)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- It’s been two years since the last competition, so the cheers and bully sticks were louder than ever during the 2006 Guardian Challenge kickoff at the 91st Space Wing Bully Dome here April 20.

The 91st SW will be defending their 2004 Guardian Challenge title and try to hold on to the coveted Gen. William H. Blanchard trophy for another year when they compete at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., from Aug. 13-18.

“I want to thank all of Team Minot for the great turnout at the rally and for standing behind our competitors from the 91st SW and 5th Bomb Wing as they go into competition next week,” said Col. Dan Adams, 91st SW commander.

Competitions begin here May 5-8.

Colonel Adams also congratulated each Airman for making the cut to represent the defending champion Rough Riders at the 2006 Guardian Challenge competition.

The Minot competitors make up several teams including combat crew members, helicopters, codes, mechanical shop, power refrigeration electronic laboratory, missile handling, electro-mechanical, security forces and communications.

“Making the 2006 team is a special accomplishment,” said 1st Lt. Amy Grant, 91st Operations Support Squadron. “It provides me the opportunity to take part in a long-standing missile tradition, while allowing me to represent Minot in the process.”

In addition, Lieutenant Grant said they are confident they will hold onto Blanchard trophy.

“We are very prepared,” she said. “Our trainers have done an excellent job ensuring we’re ready for the demanding competition that awaits us.”

Staff Sgt. Michael Hardenburg, 791st Missile Security Forces Squadron, also feels this year’s team has a good shot at winning the upcoming event.

“By the time [Guardian Challenge] rolls around, Minot’s team will adapt and overcome any situation they bring,” he said.

As for last year’s cancellation of Guardian Challenge, the 2006 Guardian Challenge team coordinator feels it will have little effect on the team’s performance.

“We are prepared to do our jobs every day with or with out the year-long break,” said Lt. Col. Greg Sava. “The Blanchard is staying at Minot.”