886th CES takes first place in Firefighter Combat Challenge

by Senior Airman Katherine Holt
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 886th Civil Engineer Squadron took first place in the 435th Construction and Training Squadron Firefighter Combat Challenge at CTS compound Oct. 21 on Ramstein. The challenge was created in the 1970s by the University of Maryland Science Department to test firefighter fitness and capability.

“We started prepping for this competition seven months ago,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Noah, 886th CES team lead. “We worked out twice a day with heavy lifting, cross fit and challenge-specific tasks.”

The challenge consists of six grueling parts that can be done individually, as a two-man relay or as a five-man team.

Competitors had to put on full protective fire gear, sprint to the top of a five-story tower and pull 45 pounds worth of fire hose through the window and sprint down to the bottom floor, hit a 165-pound steel beam with a 9-pound hammer until it moved forward five feet, negotiate through a 100-foot serpentine course, drag a hose 75 feet and knock down a target with a stream of water, and finally drag a 175-pound dummy 100 feet to the finish line.

 “We were skeptical of all of the workouts we were doing,” said Staff Sgt. Justin King, 886th CES team member and first year competitor. “But in the end, it definitely worked in our favor.”

Since the five-man 886th CES team completed the challenge in less than two minutes, they qualified for the competition in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“I am really excited to see all of the great competitors and veterans of the challenge in Myrtle Beach,” said King. “We will be able to pick up tips to get better.”

Noah said it wouldn’t have been such a good ending had he not had a great team of Airmen and supporters.

“It takes a group of dedicated guys to do what we did,” said Noah. “It takes sacrifice, time away from family and discipline. We were lucky to have supporters, family and a great command in our corner.”

Noah and his team gear up for the competition in Myrtle Beach and are ready to give the public a view of what they do on a daily basis and what it takes to be a firefighter.

“We are ready to go out and represent our department, command, Ramstein and the Air Force,” said Noah.