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Marines, Soldiers, civilians compete at first joint base Urban Warrior Challenge

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall added another page to its historic legacy June 27 with an inaugural Urban Warrior Challenge that brought Marines and Soldiers together for a day of friendly physical competition.

“You might not know it, but you’re part of history today,” Col. Fern O.  Sumpter, JBM-HH commander, told the Marines, Soldiers and civilians who assembled at 7 a.m. on the Combat Fitness Test Field on the Fort Myer portion of the joint base. “This is the first ever Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall fun day, where both the Army and the Marines are coming together as a family, as a team, for a little bit of friendly competition and a whole lot of fun.”

“The most important thing you need to know is there’s the dunk tank and I’m going to be in there at 12:30,” said Col. Anthony S. Barnes, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall commanding officer. “I don’t think anybody here is strong enough; I’m just saying.”

The challenge pitted seven, seven-person teams – comprised of Marines, Soldiers and civilians – against each other in a variety of athletic events. Barnes and Sumpter jointly led the command group team as it participated in everything from a three-legged race to a pie-eating contest to a sandbag relay to a tug-of-war.

At the end of the competition, the bloodstripes brought home first place, followed by DMO and slaughterhouse.

“Don’t worry about me,” joked Sumpter at the end of the event. “I have the entire weekend to recover. I’m leaving it all on the field today.”

Marine Staff Sgt. Jeremy Andres helped organize the event, which had one major purpose: To allow participants to have some fun.

Andres and his committee worked for about three months to get the event from the planning board to the athletic field.

“There was a lot of planning that went into it, with all judges and team members, that’s what made it successful,” he said.

But the day didn’t end when the challenge was over. Hamburgers, hot dogs and barbecue chicken were served up for lunch as families gathered to enjoy the day and learn a bit more about what their Soldier or Marine do while at work, said Erica Ramos, Marine Corps Family Team Building trainer at JBM-HH.

“This helps to educate kids a little bit about Marine Corps culture — why we do things the way we do them, and they have the opportunity to have some fun, do some cammo face painting, taste some MREs, meals ready to eat, the Marines get engaged, get active with them,” she said.

Children at the event also participated in physical fitness drills and took part in a cake cutting ceremony with Barnes and Sgt. Maj. Craig Cressman, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Henderson Hall.

Representatives from both D.C. United and the Washington Nationals were on hand with giveaways.

“It’s the first one; it’s one of many to come and I just really enjoyed being out here with our Soldiers and Marines,” Barnes said.

“I’m really proud of what all of us have done to bring this day to fruition, but then also what we do every single day as Marines and Soldiers,” said Sumpter.