LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
A specialized undergraduate pilot training student from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, will participate in the 2018 Alpha Warrior contest Nov. 16, 2018.
Second Lt. Rhett Spongberg, 47th Student Squadron specialized undergraduate pilot training student, will represent Laughlin at the joint-service competition, held in San Antonio. The competition is a capstone to the Alpha Warrior’s larger initiative to design state-of-the-art fitness stations called “battle rigs” for military installations to use and compete against each other through the company’s contests.
The stations are designed to enhance fitness training in Airmen, with the occasional support from the Alpha Warrior’s team of fitness gurus—an attraction for Spongberg, who attended Laughlin’s own battle rig competition in April, which earned him the chance to compete in the contest.
“Honestly, I came across the obstacle course at the right time when they were doing the competition on Laughlin,” Spongberg said. “I’ve always been interested in this sort of stuff, so I threw my name in the ringer, trying out the course, and ended up being really good at it.”
Spongberg anticipates the competition to throw out every station and rig the Alpha Warriors have in what he describes as a mix between Crossfit and the television show American Ninja Warrior. More importantly, however, he believes the competition will inspire a higher purpose.
“I expect everyone to be really supportive of each other versus people who are there to compete and win,” he said. “I feel like the point of this competition is more about inspiring fitness and the ability to go do something like this”
Inspiring fitness is important, as Spongberg describes, especially to servicemembers across all branches, professions and requirements. To him, Airmen and service members in general need to be ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.
“The idea of being fit-to-fight—fit to do our job is baseline fundamentals,” he said. “I can’t say every job in the military requires exceptional physical fitness, but I think they require an above average level because we are in the profession of arms.”
Being fit-to-fight, however, doesn’t have to be a painful and unfun experience Spongberg believes. How he stays fit is through partaking in the sports of parkour and hip-hop dancing—two hobbies that he not only loves, but believes gave him a bit of an edge when it came to entering the competition.
“Everyone has their own definition of fitness, but my view of fitness is more about utility,” he said. “I train specifically to learn a new dance move, or to do a new parkour move, or to accomplish an obstacle course like the one at Alpha Warrior.”
As for the competition itself, Spongberg looks forward to the comraderie and the challenges the obstacles will present. Having both the physical fitness and hobby-integrating mindset earned him the ability to represent Laughlin at this year’s 2018 Alpha Warrior challenge.