SAVANNAH, GA – A crowd of runners quietly lace their running shoes while they gather along the edge of Forsyth Park in downtown Savannah. The runners, arriving in pairs with their spouses, quietly stretch worn muscles for a race to test themselves and their ability to work in teams against one another.
Soldiers, Families and friends of the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) “Night Stalkers” took off through historic downtown Savannah for the first ever Night Stalker Amazing Race event, Sept. 11.
The race, originally conceived as a Night Stalker couples team-building exercise, soon evolved into an opportunity to learn more about the city the battalion calls home.
Lt. Col. William T. Golden, battalion commander, 3rd Battalion, 160th SOAR (A) and race participant, said the race was one of many events during this week of Night Stalker activities to bring Families together.
“This week, we don’t fly but instead conduct organization events where we bring out our spouses and learn about the place we live,” Golden said. “Savannah has a huge outreach to our organization and all too often, we work behind our gates and forget about that.”
The race pitted 21 teams of couples from within the battalion through a series of stations along a 1.2-mile stretch, beginning at Forsyth Park and moving through the historic Savannah squares.
“We chose the city squares because of their numerous monuments and historical facts; they offer a good class in history about the city,” said Sgt. 1st Class Didemo Sanchez, a platoon sergeant from 3rd Battalion, 160th SOAR (A).
During the event, the couples raced to one of the five city squares where they were greeted by an awaiting Night Stalker with a trivia question.
As the teams correctly answered the trivia questions, they moved on toward the next station and continued the process toward the end. Once all the questions were answered and the teams returned from their excursions throughout the city, they received a loud applause from the Night Stalkers at the finish line.
“Events like this are great because it gives Families time to spend with their Soldier during work to do something fun,” Sanchez said. “Looking at all the couples and seeing them work together from start to finish and seeing them smile definitely made this experience worth it.”
From the couples, one team emerged the winners of the race. Capt. T.J. Menn and his wife Jennifer came in first with a time of 35 minutes to take the title of overall winner of the event.
“We didn’t think we were going to win,” T.J. said. “The night before the race, my wife told me we needed to “set our expectations for tomorrow” because she didn’t want me pushing her to win [in case they didn’t take first].”
The outcome wasn’t decided by T.J.; however, Jennifer led the pace for the run, with him trying to keep up with his sprinter wife.
“You know how these guys can be when it comes to competition,” she said. “I viewed the morning more as a date.
The Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 160th SOAR (A) continue events to strengthen their bonds betweens Families, Soldiers, and friends during the final days of their Week of Night Stalker Activities.