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Guardian Challenge continues for security forces

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- (from left to right) Senior Airman James Rowin, Staff Sgt. Jesse Guerra, Senior Airman Will Benson and Airman 1st Class Tom Donahue, all from the 91st Security Forces Group, run as they close in on the finish line on the obstacle course at Shriever Air Force Base, Colo. on the last day of competition during Guardian Challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Danny Monahan)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- (from left to right) Senior Airman James Rowin, Staff Sgt. Jesse Guerra, Senior Airman Will Benson and Airman 1st Class Tom Donahue, all from the 91st Security Forces Group, run as they close in on the finish line on the obstacle course at Shriever Air Force Base, Colo. on the last day of competition during Guardian Challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Danny Monahan)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- [Editor's note: This article was written and published before the 2006 Guardian Challenge results were posted.] 

The 91st Space Wing security forces team competing in Guardian Challenge have participated in tactics, marksmanship and the obstacle course. 

After finishing up, Rough Riders everywhere should be proud, said Col. Marty Whelan, 91st SW commander. 

"This was an awesome performance," he said. "This was a no-quit performance and they're doing more than their part to bring back the Blanchard [Trophy]." 

Some Rough Rider observers became a little green after watching the security forces members. 

"Twenty-five years of security forces and this makes me envious," said Chief Master Sgt. Ronald McCarthy, 91st SW interim command chief and 91st Security Forces Group superintendent. "I wish I could jump up and join right on in with them." 

Before the results were released the team thought they performed well. 

In the tactics portion, three of the four team members were killed by enemy combatants, but the sole survivor, Airman 1st Class Thomas Donahue, still completed the mission.
"It just goes to show you that all of us can get taken out, and the junior member can still go ahead and get the job done," he said. 

In the marksmanship competition on the second day, the team felt they did much better than the day before. 

"I think we did outstanding," said Senior Airman James Rowin, 91st SFG and team member. "This was almost like another day of practice." 

Even with approximately 60 people watching and a half dozen cadre members surrounding them as they fired at their targets, they were seemingly unphased.
"At first there is some pressure with the waiting, but once you start firing it all comes naturally." 

As far as Guardian Challenge goes, the team seems to be enjoying themselves. 

"This is a phenomenal experience," said Staff Sgt. Jesse Guerra, 91st SFG and team leader. "I'm a cop, so I am always surrounded by cops, but down here I get to mingle with other great people from our wing I don't normally get to. This is an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life." 

On the third day the team performed in true Team Minot fashion. Running through an obstacle courses of monkey bars, scaffolds, rope swings and more, the team needed to run one mile to the finish line after the dozens of obstacles. 

With a quarter of a mile to go, the team leader went down and collapsed to the ground. Without hesitation, the other Airmen picked up their sergeant and made sure of one thing - Start as a team and finish as a team. 

"No one gets left behind," said Airman Donahue. 

The team said they are very proud of their accomplishments and even more proud to represent Minot. 

Guardian Challenge members return to Minot Saturday.
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