Female Alpha Warrior returns triumphant
By Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 25, 2019
COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Three years ago the U.S. Air Force partnered with Alpha Warrior to deliver functional fitness training to Airmen and their families across the globe while hosting competitions between the military branches.
Now, several years later, and the Air Force has won multiple Alpha Warrior inter-service championships. The Air Force competed against the Army and Navy Sept. 14, at Retama Park in Selma, Texas, to claim the Alpha Warrior Inter-Service Championship.
Representing Columbus Air Force Base was 2nd Lt. Michelle Strickland, 37th Flying Training Squadron student pilot, who was the top female in the final competition with a time of 25 minutes, 5 seconds, and her time was tied for third overall.
“With the high demands of pilot training, on top of being in the innovation flight where we are doing things a lot differently, for her to be able to keep up such a high fitness level, use her time wisely and still go out there and win that competition is a remarkable achievement to see,” said Maj. Ryan Brewer, 37th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot.
The Alpha Warrior course consisted of more than 30 obstacles where the Air Force team battled and raced across the course for best time.
“The competition was unique in the fact that it wasn’t just the standard physical military training, in fact it might be the hardest physical challenge I have ever done before,” Strickland said. “It pushes the entire body, your muscular stamina and cardiovascular endurance to new limits.”
Half of the courses were permanent obstacles with names like pipe bombs, barrel rolls and “Alcatraz,” a three-story structure. The others were strength obstacles involving sand bags, ropes and weighted sleds.
Strickland mentioned the hardest part of the course was a sled pull where she had to pull a weighted cart with resistance on it without moving from the spot she was standing. She said the easiest part was the spider wall where they had to scale up to the top using their hands and feet with nothing to grip onto.
“It was helpful having my family there to push me as well as the support from my teammates who were there every step of the way,” Strickland said. “In the beginning the Air Force team was just getting to know each other but by the time the final competition hit we felt like a family and encouraged each other the entire time.”
Strickland claimed her diet was an essential part in her physical fitness for the competition.
“Being in pilot training I don’t have as much time to train as I would like, so feeding my body in the way it is designed helps it become more efficient in getting the large amount of stamina I needed to complete a competition like the Alpha Warrior,” Strickland said.
As part of its Alpha Warrior program, the Air Force has set up smaller battle rigs and stations at more than 70 installations around the globe, Columbus AFB being one of them.
Strickland encourages to try training on the Alpha Warrior equipment and ensures people that competing and winning is obtainable if the effort and training is put in.
Learn more about the Alpha Warrior equipment by contacting the fitness center, talking to unit physical training leaders or by visiting the Air Force Alpha Warrior program's website for more information.