FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Soldiers, Airmen, and Cadets gathered at four in the morning to kick off the second-ever Talon Challenge, at Fort Bragg's Towle Stadium, Mar. 24. The 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade hosted the physical fitness competition.

The 3rd GSAB conducted their first Talon Challenge last year in November. This year the event has brought additional Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from the state of North Carolina and Airmen from Fort Bragg.

Fourteen four-man teams assembled from CAB units, the U.S. Air Force's 18th Weather Squadron, and ROTC cadets from Fayetteville State and Duke Universities competed in the rigorous event.

The grueling three-and-a-half hour competition began with a modified Army Physical Fitness Test, which consisted of push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run. Competitors then carried water jugs and climbed ropes--all while having to answer trivia questions about the battalion's history. The Talon Challenge concluded with a tug-of-war and a calisthenics competition.

Even though cadets from Fayetteville State University fell short last year of winning, that didn't discourage FSU cadets from competing this year.

"It's fun being out here with active duty units doing something that's competitive," said Cadet Tyrell Jackson. Jackson competed in one of the university's three teams and also completed last year.

This year's Talon Challenge also welcomed service members from the 18th Weather Squadron. The Squadron routinely supports the CAB on Fort Bragg and during field exercises.

"It's nice to be invited to be part of the unit and part of this competition," said Senior Airman Steven Ogden with the 18th Weather Squadron.

New to this year's competition is the cadets from Duke University. However, this wasn't the first time Soldiers from the GSAB and the cadets have come together. Earlier this month, leadership from the GSAB conducted physical training followed by leadership development sessions held at Duke.

The cadets and Airmen left without the win, but have set their eyes on the next Talon challenge.

The winning team--from Headquarters and Headquarters Company of 3-82 GSAB--took the coveted Talon Challenge streamer from the previous winner, C Company. The winning team consisted of Capt. Michael Spears, Capt. Zacharie Dumont, 1st Lt. Tyler Tyburski, and Sgt. Veronica Regan.