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Competion feels "bite" of third straight Guardian Challenge win

A fired-up group of Sharks, led by Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, bring home the trophy for the third straight time May 10 on the Patrick flightline. (U.S. Air Force photo by Chris Calkins)

A fired-up group of Sharks, led by Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, bring home the trophy for the third straight time May 10 on the Patrick flightline. (U.S. Air Force photo by Chris Calkins)

PATRICK AFB, Fla. -- They came.
They saw.
They kicked some Chicken Hawk butt. 

And they proved the third time isn't just a charm, it's also habit-forming.
"Being recognized - three times in row - as the 'Best Spacelift Wing' in Space Com-mand and bringing home the Schriever Trophy is a habit we can get used to," said a smiling Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th Space Wing commander. 

"No one gave anything to this team... they earned everything they won. I could not be more proud of their efforts or accomplishments," she said. 

In addition to the overall Wing award, many of the Shark competitors came home with individual functional awards, according to Lt. Col. Pat Youngson, Guardian Challenge project officer for the 45th Space Wing. 

These included the "Best EELV Launch Team" made up of Capt. Bai Zhu and Capt. Mike Kubiak; the "Best Spacelift Maintenance Team," comprised of Tech. Sgt. Rick Edginton, Staff Sgt. Juan Garza and Staff Sgt. Leighton Hammond; and finally the "Best 14th AF Security Forces Team," made up of Tech. Sgt. Shawn Rhude, Staff Sgt. Steve Conard, Staff Sgt. James Cochran, and Airman 1st Class Jered Dauterman. 

Colonel Youngson said the level of competition was about what he expected, and the sportsmanship displayed showed the true merit of the competition.
"The competition was tough. Each of the wings brought their best and was evident by the tight scores," he said. 

"The 30th Space Wing 'Chicken Hawks' tried their best but the Sharks reacted as if there was blood in the water. It was great to see the Sharks come together for the competition but when the final scores were announced both wings shook hands. In the end, all the competitors knew it is one team, one fight," Colonel Youngson said. "We could not have asked for a better group to represent the 45th and they made all the hard work worth it."
It wasn't just the people wearing uniforms who were impressed with the level of professionalism and spirit of competition. 

"For us civilians, Guardian Challenge 2008 emphasized the challenges that our military space forces engage in and conquer on a daily basis. Presentations and interaction with command and staff personnel were particularly informative regarding the mission of Space Command," said Don Beck, president, CivMil Community Foundation and CivMil Community Relations Council Administrator. 

"There is no doubt whatsoever that our modern military forces are very dependent on the professional excellence of Space Com-mand's forces and our allies. The team's excitement and the exhilaration of bringing home the Schriever Trophy was tops. General Helms and her 45th Space Wing Sharks are certainly the best of the best and are to be congratulated for a job well done," Mr. Beck said.