Camelback Mountain, Pennsylvania -- Teamwork is a cornerstone to a successful operation as well as long-lasting friendships.

Along with a group of friends he met at a gym while attending New York's Columbia University as an Army Fellow, Col. Randall Wickman, commander of the 189th Infantry Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, competed May 17 in the Civilian Military Combine held at Camelback Mountain in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania.

Wickman says he met his teammates for the CMC during a time where the country saw its greatest nightmare unfold on national television, 9/11. He said the men and women he attended class with during 2011 to 2012, rallied to support him as he deployed to Afghanistan a year after leaving Columbia.

"I ran the event along with great friends and colleagues," he said. "I flew back (to New York) to join them and compete together as a team. It's important to me because so many of them were there on 9/11 and this is our way of connecting with that and their way of getting involved."

Competing in this kind of event seemed to be somewhat common for Wickman as he equates it to Army training. "The race in the Poconos was like a military obstacle course except the obstacles were at the top, middle and bottom of a huge ski hill, so you kept running up and down the hill between stations."

One obstacle for the event was "The PIT," a five-minute, "As Many Reps as Possible" shoulder press, kettle bell swing, and box jumps tested endurance. Within his team, Wickman had to rely on his friends as a support system in order to complete the mission and finish strong.

For Wickman, the nation's 9/11 tragedy forged a long-lasting friendship that has joined him with a group of individuals, and the competition strengthens that bond.

The event slogan was, "Pride of an Athlete. Heart of a Hero."

Events held across the country aim to bring military and civilian athletes together for shared awareness and are bound by mutual respect for service men and women, those who support the military, and communities that reach out for the cause.

The race is mostly obstacle course-based, including water immersion events, a wave pool, low crawling over ice and rocks, hill sprints, a rope climb, cargo nets, balance events, and generally covers 4 to 6 miles.

Fort information on more CMC events across the country, see

Page last updated Mon June 16th, 2014 at 15:20