Col. Gerald Goodfellow, Squadron Officer College commander, and Col. Scott Yancy, SOC vice commander, compete in the Viking boat race portion of The Great Squadron Officer College Tourney designed to enhance camaraderie, problem-solving skills and fitness through teambuilding challenges at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., Aug. 15, 2014. The teams were composed of military instructors at the college who don’t often work with one another. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melissa Hay)
Capt. Johanna O’toole, 36th Student Squadron instructor, holds the legs of Capt. Joel Houseman, 36th STUS flight commander, during the wheelbarrow portion of The Great Squadron Officer College Tourney at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., Aug. 15, 2014. The tourney is designed to enhance camaraderie, problem-solving skills and fitness through teambuilding challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello)
by Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello
42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
8/22/2014 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Instructors and leadership representing each squadron and command staff at Air University's Squadron Officer College participated in both physical and mental competitions Aug. 15 during the triennial Great Squadron Officer College Tournament" at Maxwell.
SOC created the day-long event to build camaraderie and bond as a school before classes began Aug.18.
"We don't have a lot of time to bond," said Capt. Jeff Brown, a SOC flight commander. "When we were charged to create this event, we meant to strengthen our bond as a school and unify us as instructors."
The six officer and enlisted teams battled the 100-degree-heat competing against each other and the clock during three phases: Field challenge activities, a warrior challenge and a Viking Boat race.
"Normally we'd have a golf tournament or something similar, but we wanted something more," said Maj. Ed Talley, a SOC flight commander and Great SOC Tournament chairman. "All of the instructors were involved in the event planning to pick the activities. Even the planning phase forced them to figure each other out on an interpersonal level and come together as a team."
The instructors eventually agreed on six separate activities: Wheel barrel race, football toss, three-legged-race, water balloon toss and a warrior challenge with the culmination event being a Viking Boat race.
"The events were picked to be challenging yet quick since the teams were competing for the best over-all time," Talley said. "The final event is the Viking Boat race. Each squadron was charged with building a boat capable of traversing at least 600 meters over land and at least 70 meters of water using only cardboard and duct tape. The kicker was that each squadron commander and director of operations would be the 'crew' to man the boat. So, the squadron had to build a boat within the specifications that was not only capable of floating but carrying two people - with the added pressure of those people being the instructors' senior leaders."
Though only one team could be declared the Great SOC Tournament champion, the SOC commander and captain of his own Viking vessel, felt all teams proved victorious that day.
"The mission of SOC is to educate and mentor junior officers in order to produce future airpower leaders, "said Col. Gerald Goodfellow, SOC commander. "In order to ensure we're producing the hard-charging leaders of tomorrow, we need events like the Great SOC Tournament to make sure all tiers of leadership in SOC are synergized. You all worked together and not only made this event happen, but bonded as instructors to guarantee we remain the USAF's premier leadership development institution. Thank you for inviting me and for all the hard-work and dedication that went into making this fun event a success."
Though not all the boats were sea-worthy vessels, not all the captains went down with their ships and one team proved victorious: