A-BLAZIN’ Race cultivates, connects Airmen across Columbus AFB

  • Published
  • By Jake D. Jacobsen
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – More than 230 participants in teams raced around Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, May 10 during the A-BLAZIN’ Race completing nine obstacles that included, pushing trucks, flipping tires, swimming, singing and so much more.

Completing the A-BLAZIN’ Race in the fastest time was the 14th Operations Support Squadron team. The Force Support Squadron Avengers came in last place and were awarded the “sloth trophy.” The Ladies of the 80s, a spouse team, won the spirit award for their outfits, spunk and overall singing capabilities at the karaoke battle.

Second Lt. Riley Quinlan, 14th Civil Engineer Squadron Emergency Management Flight commander, was the mind behind the event, and led a team of nearly 50 volunteers to pull off the feat. The race was also followed by a barbeque to celebrate Spouse Appreciation Day.

Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Raul Villarreal, Jr., 14th Flying Training Wing command chief master sergeant, asked Quinlan several months ago to develop an event that would be physically challenging, bring people together and fun to complete. Quinlan gave them a few ways they could do it and ended up going with the most competitive, most fun, outlandish option that was given.

Initially they pitched the max amount of participants for the event to be 130-150 but many more wanted to get in on the fun. Teams represented nearly every squadron, flight and spouses.

“One of the challenges about the event was that we would need a lot of volunteers because a lot of logistics go in with the event,” Quinlan said. “We needed all the help we could find because we ended up settling on nine different challenge locations with multiple water stations set up around the base along with safety and medical being involved and the barbecue following.”

The challenges included a truck push and dummy drag at the gym side parking lot, an alpha warrior challenge, a food challenge at the Chapel, a coin challenge at the 14th Mission Support Group building and so much more.

“We can’t have the mission and moral go on at the same time and they both be the No. 1 priority,” Quinlan said. “But because we had operations decrease at roughly 11, we were able to facilitate a wing-wide moral event like this because we had one number, one priority at that moment which was the moral event. That manifested itself to the point all the group commanders and wing leadership came out and participated in one way or another. That type of image to see an airman first class and a colonel come out and sweat together is a special occasion.”

Afterward, attendees socialized at the end of the event during the barbecue, in honor and recognition of the significant contributions, support, and sacrifices of military spouses.

“It was awesome to see teams consisting of active duty, government employees, and spouses compete against each other,” said Villarreal. “What made the event even better was watching the teams come together at the end connecting as members of Team BLAZE. It was a great way to celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day at the same time.”

The A-BLAZIN’ Race allowed for a great way to cultivate and boost morale for Airmen and connect with everyone across the base. The tremendous amount of spouse support during the race and at the barbeque, showcased the strength of community at Columbus AFB.

Being the first event of its kind at Columbus AFB allows for new improvements and different ideas for the next possible event that Airmen can look forward to.