Team sets new record for AVC3 Iron Aviator competition
Capt. Adam Geer (front), member of Team 9, and Capt. Zachary Foster (rear), member of Team 7 and Iron Aviator individual winner, make their way to the starting point where the ruck march began to get ready for the next event during the AVC3 Iron Aviator competition April 19 at West Beach.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 26, 2012) -- Lake Tholocco isn't just for Family fun, swimming and recreation -- it's also where the Aviation Captains Career Course finds out who has what it takes to take home the title of Iron Aviator.

West Beach at the lake is where Soldiers of the Aviation Captains Career Course gathered to compete in a team effort or individually during the AVC3 Iron Aviator competition April 19, said Capt. Joseph A. Clark, small group instructor for the Aviation Captains Career Course.

Nine teams and six individuals competed in the competition with Team 7, Disc in a Box, winning the team portion with a time of 1:33:44, which set a new team record for the competition, beating the previous record of 1:34:14, said Clark.

Capt. Zach Foster, member of Team 7 and individual competitor, earned the title of Iron Aviator as he finished first in the individual portion of the competition with a time of 1:52:00.

"[My team] already had a good team put together and I wanted to represent our group, so I volunteered [to compete in the individual competition]," he said. "It was one of our goals to be the best team physically and the fact that we dominated the competition is great."

Team 7 took the honor for winning both the team and individual portions of the competition.

Capt. Joshua Dawson, member of Team 7, said that it's the competitive nature of Aviators that prompted the Soldiers to participate in the competition.

"It's always good to have good competition," he said. "We set a new team record [for the competition] and that makes me feel pretty good. We all felt good in our individual efforts and we put the team together, but we didn't think we would do as well as we did."

The competition was comprised of four events that included a 4.5-mile ruck march, 8.8-mile bike ride, 2-mile run and a 300-meter swim in the lake, according to Clark.

"The hardest part for me was the ruck march," said Foster. "I exercise on a regular basis, and I ran and biked to help me get ready for the competition, but I just don't do [ruck march] very often."

During the ruck march, participants must be in full Army combat uniform including boots, M-16 rifle, rucksack and load-bearing equipment assembled with water in canteens and reflective belt on the rucksack, said Clark.

Dawson competed in the swimming portion for his team and said that he prepared by swimming in pools, but it was nothing like having to swim in the lake.

"The swim was a lot harder than I thought it would be," he said. "This was the first time I've swam in open water and it's a lot harder with the wind blowing waves in your face and the currents than compared to swimming in an indoor pool."

The competition is held once every AVC3 class and is based on voluntary race participation, said Clark, but the event requires mandatory participation from those that are not competing.

Another way that Aviators can participate in Iron Aviator without competing is acting as crewmembers for their team, said Clark.

Crewmembers help the competitors transition into the next event of the competition and provide them with water and equipment they might need for the next event, he said.

The Spc. James D. Seigars, Iron Aviator Excellence in Crewing Award was given to the team with the best theme, which went to Team 6 who were presented with an award that read, "Anyone can compete, but few can crew."

Seigers said he came up with the award for best pit crew because the crew members weren't getting the proper recognition for what they were doing for their team.

"It's been a really fun day and it's been a great team-building experience," said Foster. "It's always good to be able to get out of the classroom."

After the winners were recognized, the members of the Aviation Captains Career Course stayed at West Beach to celebrate the day of friendly competition.

"It was a good day and good event, and we had a lot of good participation," said Clark.

Page last updated Thu April 26th, 2012 at 00:00