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Flying Yankee Warrior Day breeds friendly competition and teamwork

Senior Airman Emmanuel Santiago, 103rd Public Affairs photo journalist, holds the feet of Lt. Col. James Guerrera, executive officer with the 103rd Airlift Wing, as he tries to get as many sit-ups accomplished as he can during the second annual Yankee Warrior Day. The event which was held on May 3, 2014, at the Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn., allowed Airmen an opportunity to compete against each other during various events for a chance at winning a trophy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

Senior Airman Emmanuel Santiago, 103rd Public Affairs photo journalist, holds the feet of Lt. Col. James Guerrera, executive officer with the 103rd Airlift Wing, as he tries to get as many sit-ups accomplished as he can during the second annual Yankee Warrior Day. The event which was held on May 3, 2014, at the Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn., allowed Airmen an opportunity to compete against each other during various events for a chance at winning a trophy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

Airman First Class Amy Dziewaltowski, a logistics planner from the 103rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, takes off as fast as she can during the ammo-can run at the second annual Yankee Warrior Day at Bradley Air National Guard Base,  East Granby, Conn., May 3, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

Airman First Class Amy Dziewaltowski, a logistics planner from the 103rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, takes off as fast as she can during the ammo-can run at the second annual Yankee Warrior Day at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn., May 3, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

Staff Sgt. Selva Cabrera with the 103rd Force Support Squadron carefully transfers an uncooked egg onto her teammate’s spoon during the second annual Yankee Warrior Day at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn., May 3, 2014. The event included various team challenges to promote esprit de corps and physical fitness. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

Staff Sgt. Selva Cabrera with the 103rd Force Support Squadron carefully transfers an uncooked egg onto her teammate’s spoon during the second annual Yankee Warrior Day at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn., May 3, 2014. The event included various team challenges to promote esprit de corps and physical fitness. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

Senior Master Sgt. John Gasiorek keeps a close eye on his watch, tracking the time it takes for the 103rd Maintenance Squadron team, led by Staff Sgt. Davitt Keenan, to flip the massive tractor tire down the course and around the cone. This was a new event added to the second annual Yankee Warrior Day that took place May 3, 2014, at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

Senior Master Sgt. John Gasiorek keeps a close eye on his watch, tracking the time it takes for the 103rd Maintenance Squadron team, led by Staff Sgt. Davitt Keenan, to flip the massive tractor tire down the course and around the cone. This was a new event added to the second annual Yankee Warrior Day that took place May 3, 2014, at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- The Airmen of the 103rd Airlift Wing gathered at what was once the base softball field to engage each other in a unit-wide contest of physical fitness and skill during the second annual Flying Yankee Warrior Day May 3, 2014.

This year, the winning team was the 103rd Security Forces Squadron, commanded by Maj. Chris Pagoni.

"The security forces troops endured a ton of physical pain to earn their berets, so taking the Warrior Day trophy was expected," said Pagoni. "Losing the tire flip but winning the "corn-hole toss"-- now that was unexpected."

According to Senior Master Sgt. John Gasiorek, first sergeant for the 103rd Airlift Wing, the event's primary purpose was to promote esprit de corps through friendly competition.

Each team, comprised of squadrons and flights, identified themselves with unique T-shirts and rallied together, raising their collective spirits in the hopes of taking the number one spot.
The energy out in the field was palpable, and according to Gasiorek it is something that actually makes him smile.

"You have each individual team cheering one another on. You will see commander's challenging their people to outscore other squadrons," said Gasiorek.

"Security forces always seems to be the team people set the bar at. The tire flip for example was security forces first event and they scored a respectable 2:06. The logistics readiness squadron was striving to beat the score and did with a 2:00," said Gasiorek. "Later in the day the civil engineer squadron destroyed both scores with a 1:43 which was unbelievable to watch due to the nature of event."

Beyond the tire flip, there were other various relays and games of skill such as a bean bag toss and free throw basketball shoot, as well as games of physical fitness like the "burpee" challenge. This challenge required Airmen to complete as many burpees as they could within a time limit. Burpees consist of going from a standing position, dropping to a squat, kicking your feet back and extending your arms to lay flat on the ground, then returning to the squat position and finally jumping from that squatting position.

"What I like best about warrior day is that you get to see everyone come together--people you don't really get to see that much," said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Doughty, an aerial porter with the 103rd Logistics Readiness Squadron. "It brings out the competitive side in people."

"The whole event came to a climax at the end with the tug-of-war between the top two scoring teams-- security forces and the civil engineers. The whole base seemed to come to a standstill to stop and watch the final event. It was a great Saturday drill," said Gasiorek.