Crow Creek challenges Airmen
By Airman 1st Class Daryl Knee, 90th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 06, 2007
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.