Shreveport LA - Barksdale Air Force Base Fitness Center, 0650 Thursday April 5th. In the center of the gym stood senior command leaders and two Olympic Rowing Team members. The first ever Air Force Global Strike Command Rowing Challenge was just moments away...
All eyes were on a single concept2 rowing machine, and the man strapping in, as American300‘s Robi Powers started whipping up the crowd. “ In just seconds this challenge will start at all 5 command bases... it’s going to be a race to London for some, personal fitness improvement month for others, but mostimportantly an exercise in teamwork for all... ‘cause this man has put a $ 50,000 first place prize up on the table for the base that rows the most from now till May 5th.” The man being referred to, Lieutenant General James Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, worked with his team to smack down 50k in quality of life funds... pouring incentive on the presence of 5 olympic ring colored rowing machines placement in the command's Fitness Centers around the country. Machines that were about to be rowed on in unison for a month.
With just seconds to go, until 0700 the commands’ top leader, Lieutenant General James Kowalski was ready to go. Olympic Gold medallist Dan Beery passed him the rowing machines handle and the room went into a launch sequence “ ... count it down with me.... 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... GO!” The General was rowing at Barksdale AFB. At the same time, Airmen at the commands 4 other bases... ( Malmstrom - Minot - F.E. Warren and Whiteman AFB’s) were pulling with all their might... The Air Force Global Strike CommandRowing Challenge was underway.
“The goal is to see as many members of the command find time during the month of April and first 5 days of May to get to the gym and row at least 500 meters... put their names in the ‘book’ while helping propel their base machines to maximize total meters rowed. We’ve spoken with thousands of Global Strike Command Airmen over the past 10 days. There are many troops planning on helping their base win the overall challenge, while also attempting to become the one ‘London Seat’ awarded to the top individual who rows the most. This is just like what Sean and I went through to make our Olympic men’s 8 teams... head to head, day after day, relentless pursuit of a dream rowing.” said, Olympic gold Medalist and World Record holder Dan Beery. Dan along with fellow Olympian and Hall of Fame rower Sean Colgan, are members of American300's tour, visiting all five of the commands bases this past week.
The fact that the machines are on loan to the command from American300, and will go with Sean, Robi and Dan to London along with one hardworking Air Force Global Strike Command airmen/rower to be presented by American300 to the British Armed Forces rowing clubs, was something not lost on one combat decorated leader, Command Chief Master Sergeant Paul Tranetzke, of Minot AFB’s 91st Missile Wing. “This rowing challenge is new school Air Force smart, as a base we’re pulling together to achieve a base wide common fitness goal... we’re competing against our other bases in a head to head month long contest... with the winning base grabbing 50k in QOL funds” he said, adding “ ...that American300 then takes the machines we rowed on... pulled on and donates them to the British Armed Forces is a powerful statement for many of us. I’ve served with our coalition partner Britain on many occasions, survived through some very tough times with our UK friends, and smile knowing the machines will end up in their care.
“It’s all about teamwork, wingman’ing up and getting out and doing something together” commented Colgan, “ I know for a fact that there will be days over the next month when airmen waiting to row will find themselves in the gym talking with other airmen they’ve never meet, due to the all base combined
nature of this challenge... LRS meets SFS, AGE meets TRF... it’s all good cause I’m gonna be HOR driving in my POV thinking about all of you USAFGSC STUDS the whole time!” he said with a huge smile. Laughter erupted around him as Airmen had grown accustomed to Sean’s endless attempts at learning ‘the lingo’ while on tour.
The American300 NEVER QUIT SERIES is bringing some of the biggest and brightest names in ‘Can Do... Four Wheel Drive... Life Throws Us Curveballs... Let’s Hit Home-runs’ to Air Force Global Strike Command bases over the year to come. Next up on the Never Quit Series will be decorated U.S. Army Ranger Master Sergeant Howard ‘Mad Max’ Mullen, who will be visiting Barksdale-Malmstrom and Minot AFB’s during the middle of April... till then, GET YOUR ROW ON!
PHOTOS - STORIES - VIDEOS - SURVEY at: www.American300.org
American300 is a 501c3 all volunteer nonprofit organization focused on increasing the resiliency and strength of our Armed Forces Members around the World. No federal endorsement of sponsor or nonprofit is intended. Comments on this story should be directed to American300's Robi Powers - firstname.lastname@example.org