Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

‘Iron Mike’ ready for battle

Capt. Jesse Johnson, 21st Force Support Squadron (left), helps Staff Sgt. Josh Kennedy, 21st Space Wing Office of the Staff Judge Advocate paralegal, into his suit of armor March 1. Sergeant Kennedy accepted the role of “Iron Mike,” the 21st Space Wing’s mascot, and will represent the wing during upcoming Guardian Challenge events on Peterson Air Force Base May 19 to 22. Held every two years, Guardian Challenge is the premier space and cyberspace competition in the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Larry Hulst)

Capt. Jesse Johnson, 21st Force Support Squadron (left), helps Staff Sgt. Josh Kennedy, 21st Space Wing Office of the Staff Judge Advocate paralegal, into his suit of armor March 1. Sergeant Kennedy accepted the role of “Iron Mike,” the 21st Space Wing’s mascot, and will represent the wing during upcoming Guardian Challenge events on Peterson Air Force Base May 19 to 22. Held every two years, Guardian Challenge is the premier space and cyberspace competition in the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Larry Hulst)

by Monica Mendoza

21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  — Ladies and gentlemen, a knight is born.

Staff Sgt. Josh Kennedy, 21st Space Wing Office of the Staff Judge Advocate paralegal, raised his sword in victory and vowed to represent the 21st SW with honor and chivalry during the 2010 Guardian Challenge competition.

Sergeant Kennedy accepted the role of “Iron Mike,” the wing’s mascot, after a brief interview and tryout March 1. As Iron Mike, Sergeant Kennedy will don a 50-pound chain mail shirt, a suit of armor, a helmet and, of course, he will wield a knight’s sword.

“I feel like I possess those qualities – honor, duty and discipline – and I am definitely passionate about it,” Sergeant Kennedy said.

Sergeant Kennedy is just the knight the 21st Force Support Squadron was looking for, said Capt. Jesse Johnson, 21st FSS sustainment services flight commander.

“We really want someone who can get out of their shell,” Captain Johnson said.

As the wing’s mascot, Iron Mike will be part of an entourage that represents the wing during the guardian challenge events and awards ceremony May 19 to 22 on Peterson AFB. This year, cyberspace competition is new to guardian challenge, the Air Force Space Command’s space and cyberspace competition. About 300 people from nine AFSPC wings and one center will compete in events ranging from space operations and cyberspace defense exercises to obstacle courses.

Leading up to the competition, Team 21, the 21st SW booster club, will host three guardian challenge fundraisers to support the 21st SW team and host the competition.

Iron Mike has been part of Air Force events since 1966 when he was created by the 317th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. The mascot retired to the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, when the 317th deactivated in 1969. But, Iron Mike was brought back to life in 1996 when the 21st Space Wing adopted the knight as its official mascot. Iron Mike will face off with other wing mascots during the Guardian Challenge ceremonies.

“I can be the one to cheer on the competitors and encourage them,” Sergeant Kennedy said about his new role.

Guardian Challenge Team 21 fundraising events

The Team 21 booster club is having fundraiser events for the Guardian Challenge team. Events include:

n 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. March 23, bowling tournament, at the Peterson Bowling Center, Building 406. Cost is $10 a person. POC is Senior Master Sgt. Don Russell, 556-5296.

n 8 a.m. April 13, golf tournament, Silver Spruce Golf Course. Price is $50 per person and includes 18 holes of golf, cart and lunch; lunch only costs $7. String and mulligans will also be available. POC is 2nd Lt. Brian Belongia, 556-7836.

n April 27 to 30, silent auction. Items located in Building 350 lobby. POC is Lt. Col. Charles Tuck, 556-6104.

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