NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Eight Sailors from USS Carl Vinson’s (CVN 70) Auxiliary Division finished a two-day 53-mile Wilderness Challenge Oct. 7 in Fayetteville, W.Va.
Sponsored through the military's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office, the challenge consisted of 60 four-person teams with all U.S. armed services invited to compete.
Challenges included a "duckie" race, a 13-mile whitewater raft race, half-mile swim, a 14-mile mountain bike race, a 14-mile mountain hike and an 8K mountain run through the Appalachians.
“Everyone’s goal was to finish, and this was the first time in six years that all the teams actually completed the challenge,” said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Jonathan Adams. “The thing that made it additionally difficult is that you have to be together as a team when you finish.”
Carl Vinson had two teams. The first consisted of Machinist's Mate 3rd Class (SW) Elliott Newcomb, Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Jaana Hahn, Machinist's Mate 2nd Class (SW) Jose Otero-Rivea, and Adams. The second team consisted of Lt. j.g. Dena Boyd, Senior Chief Machinist's Mate (AW/SW) William Rivera, Machinist's Mate 1st Class (SW) Edward Jones, and Fireman Michael Carpenter.
“It felt great to finish the event,” Adams said. “We started together and we finished together.”
The idea for these Carl Vinson Sailors to participate began in April when Carpenter saw the advertisement for the challenge. He really wanted to participate and organized teams with crew members from the ship.
Boyd said the 53-mile challenge was not something the Vinson teams took lightly, and a lot of training had to be done in order to prepare the two teams for the competition.
“Adams and Otero-Rivera put together a training plan,” said Boyd. “We varied our workouts from running to bike rides and kayaking at parks around the Tidewater area in Virginia. The last Saturday before the challenge, we met at York River State park. We did a five-mile run and a nine-mile bike ride and then kayaked across the river. Most of us felt that day really made the difference once we were at the challenge.”
Throughout the Wilderness Challenge, the Vinson Sailors realized the rewards of teamwork.
“The most rewarding part of the challenge was being in a competition that all eight of us would never have tried before," Boyd said. "What I learned most, and I know the Sailors who were with me would agree, is that when you work together, you will be surprised at what your body will allow you to do both mentally and physically.”
Vinson Sailors also had a little personal competition between the two teams. As the Vinson teams passed each other on the trail, Adams said the competition grew fierce.
One Vinson team finished with a time of 10 hours, 19 minutes, and placed 33rd out of 56. The other Vinson team finished with a time of 10 hours, 21 minutes and placed 34th out of 56.
Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
During RCOH Carl Vinson’s nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship’s services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.
For related news, visit the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.