Lackland AFB Community
AF takes 1st place in 2018 Alpha Warrior Battle competition
Story by A1C Ariel Owings on 02/04/2019
Three Airmen from Joint Base MDL competed in the first inter-service Alpha Warrior Battle competition on the Alpha Warrior Proving Grounds, Retama Park in Selma, Texas Nov. 17.
Alpha Warrior is a company that challenges service members to push their bodies to their limits and promotes all-around physical health. They teamed up with the military and specifically designed courses that developed a new definition of fitness and embody what it means to be functionally fit.
Alpha Warrior supports and encourages the four pillars of Comprehensive Airmen Fitnessmental, physical, social and spiritual fitness, to achieve readiness and resilience.
In their endeavor to bring motivation to being active and better than average, they kept the pillars in mind when constructing the military fitness competition. Each course uses a multi-station device called a Battle Rig that consists of 25-obstacles testing every aspect of ability, the strength of every muscle group, mental fortitude and the body’s ability to push itself.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Mark Bishop, 305th Air Mobility WingKC-10 Extender chief pilot instructor,U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Nickolas Kupper, 305th AMW commander’s action group superintendent, and U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. John Novotny, 423rd Mobility Training Squadron Air Advisory School deputy flight commander, competed in the 2018 Alpha Warrior Competition located in San Antonio, Texas.
The Airmen placed in the top 10 as finalists for nationals, taking second, third and seventh place. After nationals, the top three males and three females from each service competed in Alpha Warrior Final Battle competition. The Air Force team beat the Navy and Army, taking home the championship.
“[Alpha Warrior] wants everyone training on [their equipment] to be functionally fit,” said Novotny. “Everything we do as a [military member] out in the field is all functional fitness.”
Physical fitness has always been an important aspect of serving in the military. The Air Force stresses this importance by incorporating it into Air Force Instruction 36-2618, “The Enlisted Force Structure,” saying that all Airmen will attain and maintain excellent physical conditioning and always meet Air Force fitness standards.
The organization incorporates the four pillars into their challenge with obstacles mixed between those in American Ninja Warrior and CrossFit.
“They are trying to turn military members into actual athletes,” said Bishop. “They did a really good job in 2018 to push that message out and targeting the four pillars of being a resilient Airman.”
Bishop said he remembered when Maj. Gen. Brad Spacy, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center commander at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, walked through the course, foot-stomping that they would have to use every bit of energy and strength they had to push through the finish line.
Bishop knew Notvotny and Kupper, who both qualified for the competition. They trained together and pushed each other throughout the entire process of regionals and nationals.
Kupper said training with the others tapped into his competitive nature and motivated him to be a better version of himself in order to beat them in the challenge. This encouraged the physical and the social pillars of CAF.
“We set goals, we worked extremely hard to achieve them and we worked together to stay focused,” said Notvotny. “It’s way easier to achieve goals when you’re working together.”
Training together built a strong relationship between the competitors and brought a mutual understanding of what each person in the competition was feeling and experiencing.
“In just two to three days we built such a great comradery with others because we were all going through the exact same trials and everyone was rooting for each other,” said Kupper. “It was awesome to be a part of something like this.”
Each year Alpha Warrior collects all the data from each person and region to see how they can adjust the course to make it more difficult on the body while enabling the individual to finish it without giving up.
“I think we are going to continue to see this program grow and develop and this course is going to get more difficult with more challenging obstacles,” said Bishop. “That’s the goal of the Alpha Warrior program. They were really excited to see how well we did but we were a sort of guinea pig on the final course. Everyone passed it, but they want to see how much harder they can make it before people break.”
Their exhaustion and dedicated hard work did not go unrewarded. The top six Air Force finalists were flown to the District of Columbia to present Gen. David L. Goldfein, Air Force Chief of Staff, with the Championship Trophy along with touring multiple historical monuments and facilities.
“Who would have known that months ago when we all decided to push our bodies to the brink of puking, that it would lead us to walking into the office of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and shaking his hand,” said Novotny. “This was an intense experience. The three of us have already began training for the next one.”