Soldiers and civilians in the 617th Contingency Contracting Team, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, got down and dirty during the second annual Makahiki Obstacle Course Race at Kualoa Ranch National Park, Kaneohe.

The 617th CCT is an element of the Expeditionary Contracting Command's 413th Contracting Support Brigade. Unit members decided the locally sponsored fundraiser would be a good way to build esprit de corps while helping to save the park.

"There were ten challenging obstacles to overcome," said Capt. Kasandra B. Tharp, a contingency contracting officer with the 617th CCT, about the mud-laced 5-kilometer obstacle course. According to Tharp, one challenge had participants climbing a rope over a 15-foot mud wall.

"The ropes and the walls were covered in mud," she said. "At another obstacle we had to low-crawl under wires and through mud. All the obstacles had mud as their variance. It was a good experience, because it was an opportunity to build team cohesion with our civilian counterparts. It was great to see the level of participation for this kind of event."

Tharp said there were more than 2,000 participants.

"While the race did track times to indicate the top three finishers, the emphasis was on participation and completion," she said. "Though the 413th did not come in first, all members completed the course together as a team and displayed the commitment and spirit intended for the challenge."

Fellow team member Staff Sgt. Charles Sykes agreed.

"It was a good bonding experience for civilian contracting and military staff," he said. "The event demonstrated the commitment and team spirit embraced by the entire 413th CSB."