Stingers tackle Bulldog Challenge

30 Apr 2004 | Lance Cpl. C. Alex Herron

Twelve Marines from Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 took part in the Eighth Annual Bulldog Challenge at The Citadel in Charleston, April 17.

The Marines, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, were grouped into three teams of four members each, for the seven-mile obstacle course sponsored by the Marine Reserve Officer Training Corps at The Citadel.

“We could have made one really strong team, but instead we made three quality teams,” said 1st Lt. Peter Colby, support equipment, officer-in-charge, MALS-31. “We all trained together so we all helped each other.”

Training for the event was strenuous and none of the Marines knew for sure what the events would be, according to Colby.

“We trained hard, but if I knew what I was getting into we would have trained harder,” Colby said. “We had a few Marines who knew kind of what to expect because they had participated in years past.”

Training included running the barracks stairs, lunges on the football field, completing the obstacle course; all with 50-pound sandbags.

“We were training on what other Marines who had participated said to expect,” Colby said. “I’m sure many people saw us running around with our sandbags and wondered what we were doing  all over the Air Station.”

The training schedule was made more difficult because Marines were deploying and attaching to squadrons.

“We had a problem keeping teams together for the whole training cycle,” Colby said. “This kind of training is secondary to everything we do, so we had to do it on our own time and work around everyone’s schedule. Unlike the college kids we were going against, who could just go to class and train, we have a lot of different things going on.”

Students from many colleges around the country participated in the event along with the Marines and Citadel cadets.

“There were students from Texas A&M University, Purdue University and the University of South Carolina,” Colby said. “The Texas A&M team won by completing the event in 58 minutes. We did it fast but that was just sickening.”

The Bulldog Challenge was a course with 12 events which included 60 pull-ups, an obstacle course and lunging 100 meters. Every event had to be done with three 25-pound sandbags that could not touch the ground.

“The lunges were the worst I think,” said Sgt. Raymond Andresen, work center supervisor, MALS-31. “It might not be hard as a single event, but after you’ve done everything else, the lunges are the pits.”

Andresen was one of the few Marines who had participated before. He has done it every year for the past three years.

“It’s a good event. All the proceeds go to charity,” Andresen said. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment when you finish.”

All the proceeds from the Bulldog Challenge will go to a charity at The Citadel that helps cadets in financial need who want to be Marine officers.

“The money goes into The Citadel Foundation fund and then it is disseminated to the Lt. Therrel Shane Childers and Capt. Benjamin W. Sammis scholarship funds,” said Staff Sgt. Daryl Brown, an active duty Marine going to school at the Citadel. “Childers and Sammis are Marine officers who graduated from The Citadel and were killed in combat operations in Iraq.”

The three teams from MALS were the only ones to participate in the Bulldog Challenge from the Tri-Command area.

“I’d like to see a lot more teams from our area,” Andresen said. “It shows we are involved in the community we serve. One year the Naval Hospital put together a team. I think they had fun. I’d like to see more teams from the Air Station and Parris Island show off their skill.”

The goal for the teams was to finish at least in the top 20.

“I thought if we could get one team in the top 10 and all three teams in the top 20 we would consider our effort a success,” Colby said. “That is just the competitive side of us though. We all finished strong, not dragging across the finish line. So that is all we can ask for such a challenging course. I am proud of all of our Marines who participated.”

The MALS Marines had fun with the event and enjoyed the physical challenge.

“It is a great event,” Colby said. “It is a good challenge. I would recommend anyone who is interested in getting involved next year, do it. It is very fulfilling.”