GPS Wing Takes WARFIT Crown in Challenge Against SYSW
By Capt. Garrett Knowlan, GPS Wing
/ Published January 22, 2008
Los Angeles Air Force Base -- Gen Douglas MacArthur once said "On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days and other fields will bear the fruits of victory." Two of Team SMC's premier units have taken this to heart and will be living out that ideal right here at Los Angeles Air Force Base.
The Global Positioning Systems Wing (GPSW) and Space Superiority Systems Wing (SYSW) conducted their first-ever GPSW-SYSW WARFIT Challenge< Jan. 11. Occurring once every two months, the challenge is designed to build Wing camaraderie and foster fitness through a series of recurring challenges. The kick-off competition proved to be a huge success. The two Wings competed in five events: dodge ball, soccer, basketball, sand volleyball, and a six-person 3-mile relay. Drawing support from both organizations' military, civilian, and contractor force, nearly 200 competitors and spectators joined the festivities. The stakes were high, with the winner being anointed the "GPSW-SYSW WARFIT Warrior" and the loser claiming the "GPSW-SYSW WARFIT Weenie" title for the next six months.
The Battlefields of Friendly Strife
Rivalries do not form overnight, but this one nearly did. It all started when Col. Don Wussler made the move from SYSW to GPSW, as the vice commander. After getting settled in, Col Wussler laid the gauntlet down to his former wing, hoping to create a little friendly rivalry among the wings. Capt. Garrett Knowlan (GPSW) and Capt. Dave Wisniewski (SYSW) were left to run with the idea and plan the competition. Capt Knowlan stated "As we planned this event, our team wanted to create something bigger than a one time occurrence. With a little effort, we knew we could build a competition that could begin a tradition that would last for many years. This is how we decided to create a WARFIT Challenge with high stakes -- trophies to be displayed in respective front offices, and a Bragging Rights Ceremony social in which the wings could celebrate after the events." GPSW and SYSW have set up a recurring challenge every two months. Every six months, the wing that wins 2 of the 3 events will be deemed the "WARFIT Warrior."
After weeks of planning, practicing, and a little bit of taunting, the two wings assembled on the battlefield (LA AFB Fitness Center) ready to compete. Following the opening ceremonies and warm-ups, the teams hit the fields in soccer, dodge ball, and sand volleyball. GPSW took an early lead winning dodge ball 3 games to 0, volleyball 2 games to 0, and taking soccer in a 6-0 victory. Dodge ball was possibly the most interesting of the three with 40 athletes launching miniature kickballs in all directions, but GPSW somehow managed to have the last man or woman standing, emerging victorious. Capt .Knowlan led his GPSW soccer team to victory, scoring 4 goals with the help of Capt. Lewis Vaughn, who put away 2 more. While the overall victor was decided, GPSW still had more to prove in the bragging rights department as the relay and basketball events kicked off. The relay proved to be one of the closest and exciting events as the GPS IIF Squadron Commander, Lt .Col. Shawn Brennan sprinted the last ½ mile of the race with Capt Wisniewski of SYSW nipping at his heels. While Capt Wisniewski made an early move for the win, Lt .Col Brennan's marathon legs prevailed as he passed the young runner on the final stretch to win by 3 seconds. Ending the day's events, GPSW won in basketball 37-27, decisively winning the challenge with a 5-0 record. In his "victory speech", Col. Wussler stated "this event was fantastic, regardless of the outcome. SYSW and GPSW should be proud of their accomplishments. I'm sure both wings have already drawn a big circle around the date of the next challenge."
While GPSW was the winner this round, SYSW Vice Commander Col. Gary Henry vowed that GPSW will be in their sights for the March challenge stating "GPSW, you have awoke the sleeping giant--we will be coming for you." Despite the trash talking and friendly strife, the true value of these new series of competitions goes beyond traditional rivalry. The GPSW "Green Monsters" and SYSW "Wolfpack" have formed a newfound friendship, centered on friendly competition, and the Wings will regularly meet, compete, and expand inter-wing camaraderie.