Battle of Battleships strikes aquatic center

by Airman 1st Class Trevor Rhynes
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe Analyses, Assessments and Lessons Learned (A-9) team beat out all competitors to win the Battle of the Battleships competition hosted by the Aquatic Center May 18 on Ramstein.

Battle of the Battleships is an annual competition hosted by the 86th Force Support Squadron where teams construct boats out of cardboard and duct tape then race them to and from the other end of the pool. This year, USAFE A-9 beat out the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center dermatology team for the quickest time.

“We were trying to give all of the participating military members a chance to have a good time while representing their units,” said Ashley McNamara, 86th Force Support Squadron programmer. “It’s a great chance to work on team building, while still having a few laughs. We also wanted to see the crazy stuff that people would come up with.”

Coming up with a winning design required research from previous competitions.
“Our team researched lessons learned for different boat designs, followed by an in-depth study of the different aspects of our chosen design,” said Capt. Adam Messer, USAFE A-9 theater analyst. “We did continuous Red Teaming throughout the design and build phase and executed a rigorous assessment during the race on Friday.”

Messer said his team wasn’t sure what to think while coming up with the design for their boat.

“Being the first time we made a duct tape cardboard boat, we didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “Our displacement calculations told us the boat would float, but we were unsure of the structural integrity. We came up with two courses of action for race day.”

Their first plan was to have three paddlers in the boat, the second was to have two people paddle.

“During (course of action) selection, we found that when the third paddler got in, the boat began to sink,” he said. “We then implemented plan two. Our third paddler resorted to bailing water out of the boat until the race began.”

Some teams were in it to win it, others for the thrill of the event, but at the end of the day the teams put on a good show.

“I was expecting more people to sink, but I was wrong,” McNamara said. “Every team, whether or not they flipped, made it back to the finish line. The teams we had put on such a spectacular show that my previous expectations didn’t even matter.”

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