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Six candidates selected to represent AETC in Defender Challenge

(left to right) Senior Airman William McLaughlin, 502nd Security Forces Squadron, Capt. Nathan Spradley, 902nd SFS, Technical Sgt. Cory Irvin, 37th Training Support Squadron, Senior Airman David Hightower, 56th SFS, Officer Jonathan Vance and Master Sgt. James Murray of the 802nd SFS, pose for a photo after being chosen as the representatives of Air Education and Training Command’s Defender Challenge team July 27, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Defender Challenge is a Security Forces competition that pits teams against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events.

(left to right) Senior Airman William McLaughlin, 502nd Security Forces Squadron, Capt. Nathan Spradley, 902nd SFS, Technical Sgt. Cory Irvin, 37th Training Support Squadron, Senior Airman David Hightower, 56th SFS, Officer Jonathan Vance and Master Sgt. James Murray of the 802nd SFS, pose for a photo after being chosen as the representatives of Air Education and Training Command’s Defender Challenge team July 27, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Defender Challenge is a Security Forces competition that pits teams against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sean M. Worrell)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman William McLaughlin, 502nd Security Forces Squadron, climbs an obstacle during the Air Education and Training Command’s Defender Challenge team selection July 23, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Medina Annex, Texas. Defender Challenge is a Security Forces competition that pits teams against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman William McLaughlin, 502nd Security Forces Squadron, climbs an obstacle during the Air Education and Training Command’s Defender Challenge team selection July 23, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Medina Annex, Texas. Defender Challenge is a Security Forces competition that pits teams against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sean M. Worrell)

U.S. Air Force Airman Master Sgt. James Murray, 802nd Security Forces Squadron, jumps over an obstacle during the Air Education and Training Command’s Defender Challenge team selection July 23, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Defender Challenge is a Security Forces competition that pits teams against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events.

U.S. Air Force Airman Master Sgt. James Murray, 802nd Security Forces Squadron, jumps over an obstacle during the Air Education and Training Command’s Defender Challenge team selection July 23, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas. Defender Challenge is a Security Forces competition that pits teams against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sean M. Worrell)

Air Education and Training Command Security Forces members wear gas masks as they preform physical exercises during AETC’s Defender Challenge team selection July 27, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Defender Challenge is a Security Forces competition that pits teams against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events.

Air Education and Training Command Security Forces members wear gas masks as they preform physical exercises during AETC’s Defender Challenge team selection July 27, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Defender Challenge is a Security Forces competition that pits teams against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sean M. Worrell)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman William McLaughlin, 502nd Security Forces Squadron, performs a physical training exercise during the Air Education and Training Command’s Defender Challenge team selection July 27, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Defender Challenge is a Security Forces competition that pits teams against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman William McLaughlin, 502nd Security Forces Squadron, performs a physical training exercise during the Air Education and Training Command’s Defender Challenge team selection July 27, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Defender Challenge is a Security Forces competition that pits teams against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sean M. Worrell)

U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Cory Irvin, 37th Training Support Squadron combat arms training and maintenance instructor, inserts a magazine into his M-4 rifle during the Air Education and Training Command’s Defender Challenge team selection July 23, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Medina Annex, Texas. Defender Challenge is a Security Forces competition that pits teams against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events.

U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Cory Irvin, 37th Training Support Squadron combat arms training and maintenance instructor, inserts a magazine into his M-4 rifle during the Air Education and Training Command’s Defender Challenge team selection July 23, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio-Medina Annex, Texas. Defender Challenge is a Security Forces competition that pits teams against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Sean M. Worrell)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --

The top security forces defenders from across Air Education and Training Command gathered at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis and JBSA-Lackland Medina Annex July 23-27 for the opportunity to represent AETC in the upcoming Air Force Defender Challenge.

Set to take place Sept. 10-14 at JBSA-Camp Bullis, the Air Force Defender Challenger will be taking place for the first time in 14 years and will pit security forces teams from Air Force major commands, Great Britain and Germany against each other in realistic weapons, dismounted operations and relay challenge events.

The team with the most combined points will win the Sadler Cup, named after Maj. Gen. Thomas Sadler, who served as Air Force chief of security police from 1975-1977. 

Six of the 15 applicants were selected based on their performance on the obstacle course, marksmanship, leadership and overall physical conditioning.

"The tryouts were physically and mentally demanding," said Capt. Nathan Spradley, 902nd Security Forces Squadron director of operations and Team AETC captain. "I think the biggest thing for me at the end of the week was that it was difficult to whittle the 15 down to six because at that point we had become a team. Everyone nominated was the best our career field had to offer across the command."

The six members selected to represent AETC at the 2018 Air Force Defender Challenge are: 

Capt. Nathan Spradley, 902nd SFS, JBSA-Randolph, Texas

Master Sgt. James Murray, 802nd SFS, JBSA-Lackland, Texas

Tech. Sgt. Cory Irvin, 37th Training Support Squadron, JBSA-Lackland Medina Annex, Texas

Senior Airman William McLaughlin, 502nd SFS, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas

Senior Airman David Hightower, 56th SFS, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona

Jonathan Vance, 802nd SFS, JBSA-Lackland, Texas

In the weeks leading up to the event the members of Team AETC will return to their home stations to work on their physical conditioning and marksmanship skills. On Aug. 27 the team will regroup to train together in the days leading up to the event.

"This event represents camaraderie across the career field and it's a way to sharpen our skill set," said Spradley. "Everyone taking part in this event is going to be a better warrior Airman. They will be more confident and able to train others on what they have learned here."

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