Thirty-one members of the Nebraska Air National Guard student flight competed against members of the Nebraska Army National Guard's Recruit Sustainment Program, Aug. 3, 2019, at the Army National Guard's Greenlief Training Site near Hastings, Nebraska.

The Student Flight-RSP Challenge was designed to bring together the two groups on newly-enlisted members of the Nebraska Army and Air National Guard and give them a chance to compete in a physically competitive event.

The Nebraska Air National Guard's Student Flight is made up of newly enlisted trainees who have not yet attended basic training who spend their monthly drill weekends preparing for the challenges they will face as basic trainees. The Nebraska Army National Guard's RSP is similarly organized for newly-enlisted Army trainees.

"Our main goal is just to get our newer Airmen trainees ready to be successful, not only in basic training and tech school, but ultimately in the Air National Guard," said Peavy.

The challenge consisted of a five-kilometer ruck march, obstacle course and a physical fitness test.

The competition kicked off at 10 a.m. as the Student Flight and the Nebraska Army National Guard's RSP broke up into teams of six. The Student Flight teams and a several Army RSP teams started at the ruck march, while the remaining Army teams started with either the PT test or the obstacle course.

According to the competitors, each event had its own challenges.

"[It was] more mental than anything, to push yourself and if you still don't feel like you can do it, just maybe take a breath or two and just keep pushing forward," said Branden Prestridge, a student flight member who will soon be working as a Nebraska Air National Guard fuel systems specialist.

Keagan Ruth, a student flight member going into supply, said this challenge gave her an opportunity to test her limits.

"It made me feel a lot stronger than I was. I didn't think I would be able to do as much as I could," said Ruth. "It pointed out the things that I need to work on the most, like the push-ups."

For the ruck march, which was slightly more than three miles long, the Student Flight members each carried a 35-pound ruck sack. The Airmen then worked their way through four selected obstacles before completing the final PT test. The test consisted of a minute of push-ups and sit-ups and a final one-mile run.

Although this event was a competition between the Nebraska Army and Air National Guard, it was also a chance for the two branches to work together.

"A lot of our operations throughout the globe, as well as here in Nebraska for our state missions --floods, fires, things like that -- require joint operations. So, getting to know each other at the entry-level ultimately will make us more successful later on," said Tech. Sgt. Joshua Peavy, a Nebraska Air National Guard production recruiter and retainer.

Before finding out the results of their hard work that day, the look on the faces of each trainee was that of pride and exhaustion.

"I think we have mixed emotions. I think some people are very exhausted, not expecting the physical activity of it, and then I think other individuals really were able to embrace it," said Peavy. "If you look around most people are pretty happy; they're talking, they're tired, but I think they're really proud of themselves that they were able to complete everything here."

With Army's RSP taking 2nd and 3rd place, it was the Nebraska Air National Guard's student flight that won the overall challenge by just one point.