By Emily Brainard, Army Flier StaffMarch 25, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Justin Webb took home the title of the Aviation Captains Career Course's newest Iron Aviator March 19 after completing the multi-sport competition in 1 hour, 44 minutes and 1 second.
Logan Collins, Michael Valletta, Jonathan Pickett and Eric Lobdell were dubbed the winning team with a time of 1:33:36.
AVC3 leaders conduct an Iron Aviator once a quarter, allowing all students to participate, according to Maj. Ron Smith, a small group leader for A Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment.
More than 40 participants started at the post car wash to complete a 4.5-mile rucksack march, 10-kilometer bicycle ride and 2.6-mile run to the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility pool, where they capped off the event with a 300-meter swim.
"It's centered around physical fitness," Smith said of the race. "It's also team building and something fun outside of academics."
Webb contributed his success to his passion for running frequently.
"The best part was finishing," Webb said.
He beat good friend and fellow student Dave Hampton, whose time was 1:48:15, though neither seemed to mind. The two admitted all they cared about was taking the top two places.
"If I wasn't going to win, he had to," Hampton said.
Dylan Malcomb and his wife, Katharine, were one of two teams to compete as couples. Dylan, a CH-47 Chinook pilot, rucked and ran, while Katharine took time off from flying UH-60 Black Hawks to cycle and swim.
"We're just trying to come out and have fun," Dylan said.
Katharine, while not an AVC3 student, said she wanted to participate alongside her husband to get back into shape after having a baby three months ago.
"It's also a great bonding event," she said. "We got to do something together."
Black Hawk spouses Michael and Jennifer Bales also completed the Iron Aviator as a Family. They agreed it was a good team building exercise and admitted they are both extremely dedicated athletes with winning on their minds.
"It's fun to be competitive but not compete against each other," Jennifer said.
Dale Hommerding, a member of the third place team, said he appreciated the chance to compete with good friends.
"We tried to pick the strengths amongst our team (for events) and balance them out," he said. "It's as much about the team building as where you finish."
Whether they were racing for prizes or just for fun, behind every great athlete was a dedicated pit crew. Those members helped individual competitors change clothing and gear between race segments, provided moral support and cooked lunch after the race.
"Our whole goal is to keep people motivated and to get them on to the next event," said "Green Machine" team pit boss Steve Abrams.