Nat’l Guard Special Forces Group competition comes to Oak Ridge – Oak Ridger
OAK RIDGE — After push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, a run, and a march carrying loads, competitors gathered beneath a flag waiting for prizes at the Haw Ridge Trailhead.
They came for the 20th Special Forces Evaluation of the Special Forces Group (Airborne) of the Army National Guard.
“I believe it was a huge success. We brought a lot of awareness that we are very active within out community,” Tennessee Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Chris Fairchild said in an interview about the event last Friday, Jan. 22. The Tennessee National Guard hosted the event, even though it was a 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) event. He said the event gave more people the chance to try out for “a prestigious job within the Army National Guard.” He said the event was open for people ages 18 through 35.
“In order to become Special Forces qualified, there’s only a select few that meet the physical and mental standards,” he said. “They were watched all day to see if they have what it takes.”
Fairchild added that the evaluations involved both physical evaluations and how the participants carried themselves.
While Fairchild described the event as a “try-out,” winners still had a few steps to go before becoming Special Forces. A Facebook post from 20th Special Forces Group said competitors could compete for the chance to join the Special Forces or compete just for fun. The first-, second-, and third-place winners in the light and heavy divisions all got prizes. First-prize winners got a special knife and a T-shirt. Second-place winners got backpacks and T-shirts and third-place winners got coffee mugs and T-shirts.
Fairchild said the event started with push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups at D1 Knoxville Sports Training & Therapy on Hardin Valley Road and a talk from Knox County Mayor Glen Jacobs, a professional wrestler.
Then the competitors came to Haw Ridge Park and Melton Lake Greenway in Oak Ridge. At that point, the light try-outs involved a two-mile run. The heavy category involved a five mile run and a 10-mile “ruck march,” which involved carrying a 45-pound load.
The Oak Ridge Fire Department provided the American flag for the end of the day ceremony, suspended from a fire truck ladder.
Special Forces Evaluation Heavy winners were Mateo Garza, first; Samuel Shuler, second; and Samuel Bumhoffer, third.
Special Forces Evaluation Light winners were Jacob Hodgson, first; Bryson Goodman, second; and Chase Roberson, third.
Ben Pounds is a staff reporter for The Oak Ridger. Follow him on Twitter @Bpoundsjournal.