Ramstein Airmen place in Army cross-country event

Staff Sgt. Brian Hill
Kaiserslautern American

Seven Ramstein Airmen recently returned from Darmstadt, Germany, where
they participated in the Army Combat Cross Country Championship.

The annual event consists of a 7.6K off-road run in full gear – web
belt, canteen, ammo pouches, first aid kits, and rifle – totaling about
40 pounds.

According to Senior Airman Daniel Staggs, 435th Munitions Squadron
inspector, he and his six fellow Airmen were the first Air Force team
to compete.

“The camaraderie was awesome,” said Airman Staggs. “The Army was very hospitable and very impressed (with us).”

The team found out about the event through an MWR flier.
Staff Sgt. Trevor Vander, 32nd Air Operations Squadron NCO in charge of
training, said he went to this event expecting just a normal 5K
cross-country run, but with full gear.

“This was not the case,” he said. “It was almost surreal – foggy
everywhere, running with a weapon in hand with brothers-in-arms from
the Army.”

The run began on cobblestone streets, but the course soon led off into a forest on small roads and 12- to 18-inch footpaths.

“We were running through high grass, jumping logs and dodging tree
limbs,” Sergeant Vander said. “It was a gratifying feeling to keep
passing all of those tab-wearing Rangers and Airborne troops while
running the melee.”

While participating in the event, the Airmen were given a better perspective of a Soldier’s conditioning.

“I definitely gained a new respect for the Army (seeing their) ability
to run so fast in these conditions,” said Sergeant Vander.

In the end, each of the seven Airmen finished the run and the team reached 12th place (out of about 25 teams).

“When you crossed the finish line you felt awesome,” said Airman
Staggs. “It was the best time I ever had. We plan to do it again next