Air Force Academy officer helps Alpha Warrior team take 1st place at competition

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  • U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.

A physical education instructor at the Air Force Academy was on a team of six Airmen who beat-out Army and Navy to take the first Inter-service Alpha Warrior Final Battle, Nov. 17 in Selma, Texas.


Capt. Jennifer Wendland and her teammates, Capts. Mark Bishop of Air Mobility Command and Noah Palicia of Pacific Air Forces; 1st Lts. Stephanie Frye of PACAF and John Novotny of AMC; and Senior Airman Stephanie Williams of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, took the winning trophy by completing the course in 2:17:33.


“The other services brought their ‘A Game’ and were tough competitors, so I knew our win was hard earned,” Wendland said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that each competitor, military wide, showed up prepared to compete and win.”


The Alpha Warrior competition, inspired by the popular American Ninja Warrior TV show, tests competitors’ strength and endurance with more than 20 obstacles.


Wendland said the competition was “grueling.”


“The Alpha Warrior Final Battle was an excellent representation of a warrior-type workout,” she said. “The competition between the services was friendly, but the course and the obstacles were fierce and unforgiving.”


The most-challenging part of the competition was “Alcatraz” -- the final obstacle, Wendland said.


“It’s a three-story tower with ascending monkey bars, ropes and nets,” she said. “By the time I made it to [Alcatraz], I felt like I had nothing left.


“My teammates and other Air Force competitors followed me through, giving me tips and encouraging me from the sidelines,” Wendland said. “This was perhaps my favorite part of the entire competition, being able to depend on and trust people I had just met.”  


Army Sgt. Cameron Edwards said the finals revolved around friendly competition and camaraderie.


“It was a very unique time together. We competed not only against -- but with -- each other through the end,” Edwards said.


The two-day competition was hosted by the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center and the Air Force Services Activity. The event featured Air Force finals Nov. 16 and inter-service finals Nov. 17. The Alpha Warrior Program expanded from an Air Force-only event in 2017 to include Army and Navy competitors this year.


“Alpha Warrior and Air Force personnel, the sponsors and volunteers were all incredibly helpful, encouraging and accommodating,” Wendland said. “All the competitors were inspiring and motivating. I’m honored and humbled to have competed and I’m genuinely proud to be a part of the Air Force.”

(Angelina Casarez of Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs, and Ray Bowden, U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs, contributed to this report.)