HomeNewsArticle Display

Warrior Day 2016...Flying Yankees take to the field

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, East Granby, Conn., participate in a base-wide Warrior Day event May 14 at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby. The annual event is a reward for hard work and is meant to help boost morale and encourage team building for the unit’s Flying Yankees. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, East Granby, Conn., participate in a base-wide Warrior Day event May 14 at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby. The annual event is a reward for hard work and is meant to help boost morale and encourage team building for the unit’s Flying Yankees. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, East Granby, Conn., participate in a base-wide Warrior Day event May 14 at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby. The annual event is a reward for hard work and is meant to help boost morale and encourage team building for the unit’s Flying Yankees. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, East Granby, Conn., participate in a base-wide Warrior Day event May 14 at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby. The annual event is a reward for hard work and is meant to help boost morale and encourage team building for the unit’s Flying Yankees. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, East Granby, Conn., participate in a base-wide Warrior Day event May 14 at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby. The annual event is a reward for hard work and is meant to help boost morale and encourage team building for the unit’s Flying Yankees. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, East Granby, Conn., participate in a base-wide Warrior Day event May 14 at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby. The annual event is a reward for hard work and is meant to help boost morale and encourage team building for the unit’s Flying Yankees. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, East Granby, Conn., participate in a base-wide Warrior Day event May 14 at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby. The annual event is a reward for hard work and is meant to help boost morale and encourage team building for the unit’s Flying Yankees. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, East Granby, Conn., participate in a base-wide Warrior Day event May 14 at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby. The annual event is a reward for hard work and is meant to help boost morale and encourage team building for the unit’s Flying Yankees. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, East Granby, Conn., participate in a base-wide Warrior Day event May 14 at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby. The annual event is a reward for hard work and is meant to help boost morale and encourage team building for the unit’s Flying Yankees. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

Connecticut Air National Guardsmen assigned to the 103rd Airlift Wing, East Granby, Conn., participate in a base-wide Warrior Day event May 14 at Bradley Air National Guard Base in East Granby. The annual event is a reward for hard work and is meant to help boost morale and encourage team building for the unit’s Flying Yankees. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs)

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- The rain finally let up and clear skies gave way just in time for Warrior Day at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Connecticut.  The base-wide event featured two rounds followed by the top four teams battling it out in an all-out ruthless tug-of-war battle.  This is the 4th time the Flying Yankees of the 103rd Airlift Wing have held this event in an effort to bring Guardsmen together and engage in friendly competition.
     In recent times, the Flying Yankees have been going through a massive conversion, welcoming eight C-130 Hercules aircraft to the flight line.  Needless to say, amongst their hard work, events like this give unit members time to unwind and refresh their strong rapport.  Each section is encouraged to show their spirit.  The 103rd Force Support Squadron arrived dressed as pirates, while the Little Wing/Medical Group arrived in red white and blue to show off their patriotic enthusiasm.
     "This event brings squadrons together that don't spend much time together," said David Zelaya, the Warrior Day committee leader.  "It builds strong morale as well as team-building skills all the while enjoying competition."
     At the day's end, the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron prevailed, but not before enduring the four events that were held in each round.  One event was a life-sized foosball field where each individual who competed held connected horizontal poles with both hands and, while working as a team, had to try and score goals against the opposing team.  Another event featured in round one was called the guided mine field.  No, real mines were not used, instead the officials scattered cones that the competitors had to navigate while blind folded being guided by a Wingman.  By the time it was the 103rd Logistic Readiness Squadron's turn, they had figured out that it was much more time efficient to risk it and high knee at high speed through the field in hopes that none of them would step on mines.  They blew the competition away in this category, scoring a 42.
     The 2nd round featured events such as the tire flip, dodge ball and the ski walk.  The ski walk event required four members to walk in line with long pieces of wood under each foot.  Using attached ropes, competitors had to raise each piece of wood in unison in order to reach the finish line in a timely fashion.  The civil engineer team scored the most points in this event with 11.
     "The best part was watching everyone turn off the serious switch and having a good time out there," said Kevin Schaffner, the team leader of the Little W team which also included the medical group.
     The top four teams made it into the last phase of the competition, the tug-of-war.  All eight events in which they had previously competed meant nothing at this point.  This last competition relied on brute strength, stamina and the flat out hunger to hoist the warrior day trophy over their heads.  That is exactly what CE demonstrated as they took first place.  Each team included 10 of their strongest members to dig into the dirt and compete for the trophy.  Followed by CE, the operations group came in 2nd, then LRS, and in fourth came the 103rd Security Forces Squadron.  Sadly, FSS came in last place, but it is important to note that they won the trophy for exhibiting the most spirit.  Also noteworthy, Little W did not finish last.
     Base-wide morale-boosting events such as this let Guardsmen get away from the working environment and enjoy some serious team building.  Considering all the hard work the 103rd Airlift Wing's Flying Yankees have put in during the mission conversion, the day was well-earned.