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ACC wins three trophies in Defender Challenge 2018

Medals rest on an Airman from Air Combat Command (ACC) during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 13, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The ACC team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Medals rest on an Airman from Air Combat Command (ACC) during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 13, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The ACC team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Staff Sgt. Paul Rosales, 55th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, heaves an ammo container during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 13, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The ACC team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Staff Sgt. Paul Rosales, 55th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, heaves an ammo container during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 13, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The ACC team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Airmen from Air Combat Command (ACC) sprint to the starting point of a relay during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 13, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The ACC team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Airmen from Air Combat Command (ACC) sprint to the starting point of a relay during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 13, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The ACC team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Senior Airman Jeffrey Lewis, 822d Base Defense Squadron fireteam lead, performs burpees during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 13, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The ACC team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Senior Airman Jeffrey Lewis, 822d Base Defense Squadron fireteam lead, performs burpees during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 13, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The ACC team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Heiser, 49th Security Forces Squadron flight sergeant, fires an M4 carbine during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 12, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The Air Combat Command team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Heiser, 49th Security Forces Squadron flight sergeant, fires an M4 carbine during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 12, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The Air Combat Command team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Heiser, 49th Security Forces Squadron flight sergeant, lifts a simulated victims over his shoulder during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 12, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The Air Combat Command team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Heiser, 49th Security Forces Squadron flight sergeant, lifts a simulated victims over his shoulder during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 12, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The Air Combat Command team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Staff Sgt. Paul Rosales, 55th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, lifts a simulated victim into the back of a humvee during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 12, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The Air Combat Command team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Staff Sgt. Paul Rosales, 55th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, lifts a simulated victim into the back of a humvee during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 12, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The Air Combat Command team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Staff Sgt. Paul Rosales, 55th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, catches his breath during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 11, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The Air Combat Command team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Staff Sgt. Paul Rosales, 55th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, catches his breath during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 11, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The Air Combat Command team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

An Airman from Air Combat Command (ACC) loads a magazine during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 11, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The ACC team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

An Airman from Air Combat Command (ACC) loads a magazine during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 11, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The ACC team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

Senior Airman Jeffrey Lewis, 822d Base Defense Squadron fireteam lead, rips open a packet during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 11, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The Air Combat Command team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)
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Senior Airman Jeffrey Lewis, 822d Base Defense Squadron fireteam lead, rips open a packet during the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 11, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Teams representing all twelve Air Force major commands, the Royal Air Force Regiment and German Air Force participated in the friendly competition, which tested their capabilities in dismounted operations, combat endurance and weapons tactics. The Air Combat Command team won second place in the overall competition, combat endurance and weapons challenge. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Taryn Butler)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-CAMP BULLIS, Texas --

Air Combat Command (ACC) placed second overall, ultimately collecting three trophies, at the 2018 Defender Challenge, Sept. 10-13, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas.

The weeklong all-star competition pitted 14 six-man security forces teams from all U.S. Air Force major commands, Great Britain and Germany. Each of the entities were evaluated during dismounted operations, combat endurance relay and weapons competition.

“We may not have gotten first, but we came in here pretty positive we were going to place top three,” said Senior Airman Jeffrey Lewis, an ACC team member from Moody’s 822d Base Defense Squadron. “It’s an honor to place top two. It’s a great feeling for all of us.”

Back after a 14-year hiatus, the competition is an opportunity for Airmen to show what they are capable of, to build their skills and sharpen their tools.

 “The Defender Challenge is about the camaraderie, the bragging rights and about bringing the esprit de corps back to the career field,” said Tech. Sgt. Alexis Rice, competition evaluator. “It’s a big tradition that’s been gone for the last 14 years. We can get back to the basics and bring back the challenge just to see who’s the best.”

Although it’s a team competition, each participant had to be on their “A-game” because the teams were graded as a group and individually. The competition this year was a close call according to the evaluators. Ultimately, Pacific Air Forces’ (PACAF) team reigned supreme and took home first place honors.

 “I was hoping for it,” said 2nd Lt. Chelsey Hibsch, a PACAF team member. “I did not expect to see our name up on there. It’s pretty exciting and overwhelming.”

Throughout the challenges, a little friendly rivalry formed between the two MAJCOMs that propelled them to the top as Hibsch and Staff Sgt. Oscar Gomez, PACAF team member, knew Tech. Sgt. Matthew Heiser, ACC team member from a previous assignment.

“We talked with (ACC) a good bit about the competition,” said Hibsch, regarding the weeks leading up to the competition. “They are definitely tough guys. It was pretty cool to see Heiser and meet up with a strong team like them.”

For Lewis, he said he felt good about how the overall competition ended and wants to make an appearance at the next Defender Challenge in two years.

“Right now, I’m feeling pretty great about it,” Lewis said. “I want to come back and give it another shot. I have to defend second and place first next time, so I’ll definitely be back.”

Below is a full list of the 2018 Defender Challenge winners:

2018 DEFENDER CHALLENGE CHAMPIONS

1st: United States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)

2nd: Air Combat Command (ACC)

3rd: Air Force Materiel Command

 

TOP SHOT

1st: Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rodriguez, Air Force District of Washington

2nd: Senior Airman David Hightower, Air Education and Training Command

3rd: Airman 1st Class Curtis Covington, PACAF

 

OUTSTANDING DEFENDER

Winner: Lance Cpl. Adam Butler, Royal Air Force Regiment

Nominated: Staff Sgt. Oscar Gomez, PACAF

Nominated: OR-6 Robin Schwab, German Air Force

 

COMBAT ENDURANCE

1st: German Air Force

2nd: ACC

3rd: Air Mobility Command (AMC)

 

SADLER CUP (Dismounted Operations)

1st: AMC

2nd: PACAF

3rd: Air National Guard

 

COLEMAN CUP (Weapons Challenge)

1st: PACAF

2nd: ACC

3rd: Air Force Space Command