By Staff Sgt. Daniel Martinez
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Airmen hooted and hollered, cheered and exploded with enthusiasm as they vied for the coveted position as Schriever’s Guardian Challenge mascot Feb. 24 in the wing conference room.
Capt. Tyler Hale, 22nd Space Operations Squadron, was selected as the winner of this year’s mascot competition after his raucous display and driving personality clinched the judges’ vote.
“It feels great, I was really looking forward to doing this,” Captain Hale said. “I’ll be there to keep morale up, to keep people cheering for our team. That’s what I’m looking forward to — going out, supporting our guys and watching us win.”
The mascot, a Civil War hero known as “the General,” has become a Schriever mascot tradition during the Guardian Challenge.
“(The general’s) a figure that’s near and dear to the hearts of people who live in Colorado Springs,” said Lt. Col. Lane Gilchrist, 50th Operations Group, Guardian Challenge project officer. “He’s based off of General Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs, and was chosen just by proximity of the base to the city in keeping a close community connection.”
Colonel Gilchrist said the mascot winner had to show enthusiasm and be able to get the crowd riled up with a good cheer.
“As we’re rolling into Guardian Challenge season, he’s going to be the focal point to rally the troops, rally our team together behind our competitors and making sure that we’re all ready to cheer them on,” Colonel Gilchrist said.
Dressed in a Civil War era uniform, the competitors scored points through their cheer, poise, enthusiasm and embodiment of the general.
The judges panel, consisting of Col. Kenneth Allison, 50th Space Wing vice commander, and some of Schriever’s top enlisted and commissioned leaders, took notes and repeated cheers as the Airmen tried their best to bring the general to life.
Captain Hale looked to past Guardian Challenge mascot winners, which includes fellow 22nd SOPS members, as the driving force to find his own niche for portraying the general.
“I did a lot of research, I talked to a lot of people,” he said. “Of course I did research online about General Palmer. Being from Colorado Springs, I already knew a little bit about him.”
Ultimately, the captain said he’s ready to fill the general’s shoes during the competition.
“I’m nervous of course … but I’m there to boost the troops and show them that we’re here standing behind you guys,” he said. “It’s really my job to keep everyone pumped up, to scream really loud and show everyone, ‘Hey, we’re 50th Space Wing, we’re going to win.’”