White chalk dust danced in the air as Airman after Airman battled battering rams, cliff hangers, broken bars, and every other challenge standing between them and the ultimate goal: becoming the Alpha Warrior Regional Competition champion.
Through the Air Force Services Activity Alpha Warrior Program, the 86th Force Support Squadron hosted the Alpha Warrior Tour at Ramstein Sept. 22 to 23. The tour, lasting from April to October 2017, will introduce Airmen at 41 bases — 32 stateside and nine overseas — to the Alpha Warrior Program.
Showcasing the program’s Battle Rig, a five-lane obstacle course designed to test strength, agility, and stamina, were three Alpha Warrior pros and American Ninja Warrior celebrities — Barclay Stockett, Karsten Williams, and Kevin Klein.
“What our armed forces do for us is so significant and we would never be able to pay any of our troops back for what you guys do,” Stockett said. “But being able to do this little thing and bring some smiles and fun to the bases and Airmen, it just makes me really happy. I already appreciate you guys so much, but it just brings so much more appreciation and I’m really proud to be a part of that. It feels like a job that’s way bigger than just us; it’s really cool.”
Ramstein and Aviano Air Base, Italy, Airmen competed against one another to be the top male or female athlete to successfully complete the course. Two Ramstein Airmen emerged victorious to claim the titles, and will move on to the championship in San Antonio, Texas in November.
“I didn’t expect it to happen, I thought someone was going to come along and rip my time up, but it ended up being me,” said the top male contestant Staff Sgt. Cory Aita, 86th Communications Squadron program manager. “I’m super proud and I’m trying to take my family with me to San Antonio and give it my best shot there as well.”
For the top female contestant, Staff Sgt. Brina Rustand, 86th Munitions Squadron munitions inspector, she only had one thing going through her mind while she gripped, swung, and climbed her way through the course.
“It was pretty cliché, but don’t fall,” Rustand said. “Just one more grab, then one more grab, you got this. Slow and steady, don’t rush it. I was trying to make sure every move was slow and calculated. I was going through one step at a time, and before I knew it I was on the final step. It still hasn’t really set in.”
For the three celebrities, visiting different bases and meeting Airmen has been the best part of the tour.
“My favorite part is getting to travel to different Air Force bases, a chance to interact with the Airmen and see what they do on a day-to-day basis,” Williams said. “Really it’s a way to serve them; they serve our country, so it’s a way to provide them a different way of training, to get away from the day-to-day grind, and have something fun to do outside of the normal regiment.”
While the AFSA Alpha Warrior Program is not an official part of the Air Force fitness program, it incorporates the four domains of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness — physical, spiritual, mental, and social.
Every air base visited by the Alpha Warrior program gets to keep the Battle Rig or slightly bigger Battle Station brought to them for the competitions held throughout the tour. Airmen continue to train and exercise on the obstacles, and possibly progress in the sport if they are interested.
Stockett, Williams, and Klein enjoy being able to inspire and motivate people of all ages to challenge themselves and strive to attain a certain goal.
“You can really impact people, especially children,” Stockett said. “I used to be a gymnastics coach for eight and a half years, so kids are my favorite type of people. I get to be a positive influence, especially for little girls. They can look up to me and see that I’m strong, I’m keeping up with the guys, and it’s really cool for me to be that for them.”
The Alpha Warrior program is a new way for Airmen to challenge themselves, build resiliency, and stay fit. The three Alpha Warrior professionals enjoy bringing the program to service members across the world who have dedicated their lives to serving their country.
“I’d like to thank everyone at Ramstein for having us,” Stockett said. “We’re all incredibly honored to be here and give back, trying to bring a fun event to you guys. We just want to thank you for having us.”
For more information about Alpha Warrior and the Air Force program, visit www.MyAirForceLife.com. To check the military leaderboard for competitions, visit www.alphawarrior.com.