Crow Creek challenges Airmen

Airman 1st Class Wesley Arrambide, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron flight 3, takes a dive into a muddy puddle during the ‘Team Pain’ portion of this year’s Crow Creek Challenge June 27. Members of the 90th Security Forces Group competed in 14 different stations this year in hopes of becoming the best squadron over all (Photo by Shelly Raffl).

Airman 1st Class Wesley Arrambide, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron flight 3, takes a dive into a muddy puddle during the ‘Team Pain’ portion of this year’s Crow Creek Challenge June 27. Members of the 90th Security Forces Group competed in 14 different stations this year in hopes of becoming the best squadron over all (Photo by Shelly Raffl).

Airman 1st Class Thomas Peterson, Senior Airman Cliff Howie, Senior Airman Richie Phillips and Airman Ryan White, all of the 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron, carry a log during one of the “Team Pain” events (Photo by Shelley Raffl).

Airman 1st Class Thomas Peterson, Senior Airman Cliff Howie, Senior Airman Richie Phillips and Airman Ryan White, all of the 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron, carry a log during one of the “Team Pain” events (Photo by Shelley Raffl).

Airman 1st Class Joshua Smith, 790th MSFS response force flight 3, checks his compass during the navigation portion of the Crow Creek Challenge. Security forces were tested on a number of events throughout the day (Photo by Shelly Raffl).

Airman 1st Class Joshua Smith, 790th MSFS response force flight 3, checks his compass during the navigation portion of the Crow Creek Challenge. Security forces were tested on a number of events throughout the day (Photo by Shelly Raffl).

Airman Andrew Vautrin, 90th Security Forces Squadron, carries one of his teammates in a fireman carry during this year’s Crow Creek Challenge June 27 at the training complex. Airman Vautrin’s team took 2nd place out of 21 teams (Photo by Shelley Raffl).

Airman Andrew Vautrin, 90th Security Forces Squadron, carries one of his teammates in a fireman carry during this year’s Crow Creek Challenge June 27 at the training complex. Airman Vautrin’s team took 2nd place out of 21 teams (Photo by Shelley Raffl).

Airman 1st Class Steven Tayfel, 90th Security Forces Squadron, pieces together an M-4 rifle blindfolded. The score was determined by the time it took to successfully disassemble and reassemble the weapon (Photo by Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee).

Airman 1st Class Steven Tayfel, 90th Security Forces Squadron, pieces together an M-4 rifle blindfolded. The score was determined by the time it took to successfully disassemble and reassemble the weapon (Photo by Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee).

Senior Airman Daren Marshall, 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron, searches blindly for an ammo box in the surrounding area. Members of the team were required to low crawl while patrolling the roped-off section (Photo by Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee).

Senior Airman Daren Marshall, 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron, searches blindly for an ammo box in the surrounding area. Members of the team were required to low crawl while patrolling the roped-off section (Photo by Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee).

Members of the 90th Security Forces Squadron don gas masks while participating on the ruck-march portion of Crow Creek Challenge. The task included a quarter-mile run and four rucksacks at the end with varying weights. The contest was considered complete when the rucksacks returned safely to the starting line (Photo by Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee).

Members of the 90th Security Forces Squadron don gas masks while participating on the ruck-march portion of Crow Creek Challenge. The task included a quarter-mile run and four rucksacks at the end with varying weights. The contest was considered complete when the rucksacks returned safely to the starting line (Photo by Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee).

Staff Sgt. Eric Smith, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron, empties the last 40-pound jug of water into the water buffalo in the water re-supply event. The Airmen had to fill up the jugs and run over to a supply container and top it off with water (Photo by Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee).

Staff Sgt. Eric Smith, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron, empties the last 40-pound jug of water into the water buffalo in the water re-supply event. The Airmen had to fill up the jugs and run over to a supply container and top it off with water (Photo by Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee).

Airman 1st Class Bill Rhodes, 90th Security Forces Squadron, rushes toward the finish line with a sandbag-filled rucksack in an effort to beat the clock. This event tested the physical strength and agility the Airmen possess (Photo by Airman Alex Martinez).

Airman 1st Class Bill Rhodes, 90th Security Forces Squadron, rushes toward the finish line with a sandbag-filled rucksack in an effort to beat the clock. This event tested the physical strength and agility the Airmen possess (Photo by Airman Alex Martinez).

F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. -- An event that started in the summer of 1994 has now evolved into a competitive ability test that requires strength, agility, general knowledge and teamwork to complete successfully.

There have been 14 Crow Creek Challenges including 2007 and training for 2008 can begin.

"It's the biggest event that this group puts together yearly," said Senior Master Sgt. Sammy Gardner, 90th Security Forces Group superintendent of standardization and evaluation. "It's a great event and the only recognition some of these Airmen get."

The intense nature of the challenge requires months of training and studying. Members of the 90th Security Forces Squadron, 90th Missile Security Forces Squadron, 790th MSFS and the 90th Tactical Response Force each have their squadrons represented in the challenge by a fire team.

The fire teams for the challenge are made up of four Airmen, who volunteer from each of the squadrons' individual flights to undergo the strenuous training involved in the preparation for this event.

"Everybody is high tempo," said Staff Sgt. John Hill, 90th SFG and former competitor for the challenge. "It's a good opportunity to show the pride of being part of security forces. You pretty much just beat your chest and show everybody who you really are."

Twenty-five teams competed in this year's event, with ranks ranging from airman to staff sergeant.

"It's all focused to give recognition to the younger troops," Sergeant Gardner said. "E-6's and up are here to help, but we want the less experienced troops to receive these war-training skills to help them when they deploy."

25 stations included tests such as self-aid and buddy care, night-vision goggle operation, grenade accuracy and claymore setup. Each team was graded on their performance and knowledge of the task.

"Everybody knows what sort of task to be studying for," Sergeant Gardner said. "They know in advance that they are going to have to put together an M-4 rifle. But what they don't know is we're going to ask them to do it blindfolded."

Each station has a cadre assigned to it that presents the tasks with a specific scenario. The fire team may have trained to put on their protective gear as fast as they can, but the cadres might tell them that in an accident they lost an arm. For the whole task, the Airman would have to use his left arm only.

"The scenarios will add a level of difficulty and stress to the assignment," Sergeant Gardner said.

Although some of the combat tasks seem unnecessarily hard, each scenario serves its purpose.

"I'm impressed with the variety of combat skills presented in this event," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Sullivan, Air Force Space Command command chief. "Even though it's a competition, every Airman who participates gets better at what they do and receives great feedback on what to improve upon from the cadres."

The overall squadron winner of  the 2007 challenge was the 790th MSFS with 1st place going to the response force,2nd place going to the 90th SFS, and 3rd place going to 790th MSFS combat response force.

"Depending on how well the team works together and their leadership, other achievements are awarded too," Sergeant Gardner said.

The outstanding leader award went to Senior Airman Pedro Palmer, 790th MSFS. The outstanding member award went to Senior Airman Nathan Smith, 790th MSFS. The 'top gun' award for the best shooting at the rifle range went to Staff Sgt. Eric Smith, 90th MSFS.

The toughest event in the challenge, 'Team Pain,' went to flight six of the 790th MSFS for completing 14 repetitions of the four-man pushups, the fireman's carry and the log tote.

"Winning the Crow Creek Challenge isn't just about the skills you have or the knowledge you posses," Sergeant Gardner said. "The winners also get bragging rights for a full year."

90th SFG members are encouraged to keep up their training and be ready to participate in next year's challenge.