AL ASAD, Iraq --
Traditionally Halloween is as the day when people spend a couple hours behind a mask dressed as their favorite ghoul or character, but for some it was an opportunity to demonstrate their competitive spirit.
Instead of donning Superman or Dracula costumes and trick-or-treating, Marines on Al Asad’s Southside participated in the MIDAS Southside Challenge hosted by Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 Detachment A, Oct. 31.
“Our (officer in charge), Lt. Col. Bunker, wanted to get some type of event that included multiple events and competition,” said 1st Lt. Ryan Alter, the coordinator of the event and KC-130J pilot for VMGR-252 Det. A. “We wanted something that would keep the Marines active, break up the monotony and boost morale.”
The MIDAS Southside Challenge was designed to provide some competition for the service members who work in the Southside squadrons.
“We didn’t go base-wide, because this was the first time that we did this and we are still trying to figure it out,” explained Alter. “We are hoping that everything goes well and we can do it again and open it for everyone.”
The challenge, which included a swimming relay, 400 meter relay, ping-pong tournament, volleyball tournament and boxing matches, was spread throughout the day.
“It was our maintenance day, so we had time to do (the competition),” explained Alter. “We spread out the events so that the other squadrons could have time to compete within their work schedule.”
The squadrons submitted a team for each event. The teams were awarded points for their place in the event; first place was given three points, second place two points and third one point. The points were totaled at the end of the day to determine a winner.
The teams dove into the competition at the Al Asad pool, where they held the first event; a swimming relay. The four-man teams alternated to swim a total of 20 laps in the fastest time possible.
Next the teams put their table tennis skills to the test in a ping pong tournament. Later they served up their skills in a volleyball tournament. Those looking to test their endurance competed in the 500 meter relay.
“I thought it was a great event and better than doing a regular Halloween event,” said Cpl. Jason Lonadier, a KC-130J electrician with VMGR-252 Det. A. “It was better to get to compete with all the Marines.”
Although Marines did not have to put on make up to look like a blooded boxer, some still had the opportunity to demonstrate their best Rocky look. The competition was highlighted with the final event of the day; boxing.
At the end of the day, VMGR-252 Det. A was crowned the MIDAS Southside Challenge Champions… until next time. The winners were presented a trophy that has C-130 parts on it and their name. The trophy will be held by VMGR until the next competition, or until someone can dethrone them.
“I had a great time,” said Lonadier. “It was great to get together with other Marines and have some competition.”