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103rd SFS troops up to the challenge

Tech. Sgt. Aaron Bowman from the 103rd Security Forces Squadron cracks his pugilist stick across the face of a competing SWAT team competitor during the physical fitness challenge at the Connecticut SWAT Challenge in West Hartford, Conn. Aug. 26, 2010. The Conn. Air National Guard Emergency Services Team participated in the event, receiving the Top Military Team award. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Josh Mead)

Tech. Sgt. Aaron Bowman from the 103rd Security Forces Squadron cracks his pugilist stick across the face of a competing SWAT team competitor during the physical fitness challenge at the Connecticut SWAT Challenge in West Hartford, Conn. Aug. 26, 2010. The Conn. Air National Guard Emergency Services Team participated in the event, receiving the Top Military Team award. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Josh Mead)

Two 103rd Security Forces Squadron personnel turn to charge back up a hill in gas masks after pulling a weighted sled during the physical fitness challenge at the Connecticut SWAT Challenge Aug. 26, 2010. The PT course this year was held at the West Hartford Reservoir and covered 4.7 miles consisting of 32 distinct obstacles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Josh Mead)

Two 103rd Security Forces Squadron personnel turn to charge back up a hill in gas masks after pulling a weighted sled during the physical fitness challenge at the Connecticut SWAT Challenge Aug. 26, 2010. The PT course this year was held at the West Hartford Reservoir and covered 4.7 miles consisting of 32 distinct obstacles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Josh Mead)

Staff Sgt. Dedrick Baublitz from the 103rd Security Forces Squadron cradles a water-filled PVC pipe up a hill as a member of the Connecticut Air National Guard Emergency Service Team during the Connecticut SWAT Challenge physical fitness test in West Hartford, Aug. 26, 2010. The Guard team took 20th place overall and 10th place in the physical fitness challenge. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Denise Davis)

Staff Sgt. Dedrick Baublitz from the 103rd Security Forces Squadron cradles a water-filled PVC pipe up a hill as a member of the Connecticut Air National Guard Emergency Service Team during the Connecticut SWAT Challenge physical fitness test in West Hartford, Aug. 26, 2010. The Guard team took 20th place overall and 10th place in the physical fitness challenge. (Photo courtesy of Ms. Denise Davis)

08/24/2010 - WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- The 103rd Security Forces Squadron participated in the annual CT SWAT Challenge once again last month and found out the competition is getting stiffer. The events kicked off on August 24 this year and lasted three days. In all, 40 teams participated showing how much the event has expanded since it began six years ago. The winning team travelled all the way from California.

Our Air Guard team took sixth place in the hostage rescue, 34th in the multi-gun challenge, 33rd in the handgun challenge, 32nd in the sniper shootout, 16th in the mystery challenge, 13th in the six-man assault, 10th in the PT challenge and 20th overall. They received the Top Military Team award after rallying the second two days and making up for a difficult start.

The PT Course was 4.7 miles with 32 obstacles this year. Like every other year, support came from all over the base to root for our guys. People even brought their families to watch the events.

One individual stood out in a crowd. In the open rifle shoot, participants had to do pushups to get their adrenaline going and then enter a concealed box and fire from various positions. Master Sgt. James Reynolds took first place out of over 100 competitors and won a Trigicon optic that goes on a rifle. It was quite an achievement for him and a great representation of the squadron.

A lot of preparation goes into attending this event. The team started training months in advance to build team camaraderie and to get them physically prepared for the grueling competition. The team was a good mix of old and new. Master Sgt. Dan Judd coached the team this year and tryouts were held to select new members. It consisted of the standard Army PT test, a two-mile timed run and two minutes each of pushups and sit-ups. Then candidates were taken to the range to do normal qualification shooting as well as a stress fire course. The best scorers were welcomed onto the team.

Returning competitors were, Master Sgt. James Reynolds, Master Sgt. Eric Gilchrist, Tech. Sgt. Aaron Bowman, Tech. Sgt. Richard Marks, Staff Sgt. Christopher Sixt, Staff Sgt. Brian Davies, Staff Sgt. Dedrick Baublitz and Senior Airman Micheal Quagliaroli. Senior Airman Aaron Jerolmon, Senior Airman Cody Remy and Airman 1st Class Daniel Fournier were new additions who learned firsthand just how much commitment and energy this team required of them.

Various training was orchestrated for the team including plenty of time spent at the firing range. They also spent two consecutive days at a specialized gym in Manchester to do intense cross-fit training that Tech. Sgt. Jerry Lashway helped put together. They took the knowledge learned there to make their own exercise drills to practice on and around base.

Bowman, Sixt, Baublitz and Quagliaroli spent the first two weeks of April in SWAT school hosted by the Central Region team. They trained at various locations in Glastonbury and West Hartford. The school was very physical and a great refresher on tactics.

The team is looking forward to making a comeback next year. As always, more information can be found on the official website at http://www.ctswatchallenge.com.