Spc. Christopher Salinas, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 6th Engineer Battalion, lights the Arctic Sapper Winter Olympic Games fire March 14, signifying the start of the games. (U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson)
Army Lt. Col. Marc Hoffmeister, commander of the 6th Engineer Battalion (Combat) (Airborne) presents Capt. Chelsea Frehulfer of the battalion’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company with a gold medal for her firstplace finish in the biathlon
competition. The battalion began its Arctic Sappers Olympic games on March 14, with Soldier skills and family fun contests, to celebrate the end of winter and the unit’s
recent retrun from deployment.. (U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson)
3/23/2011 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- From their beginnings as a competition for the citizens of ancient Greece and surrounding countries, the Olympic Games have developed into a worldwide event.
On Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the Soldiers of the 6th Engineer Battalion (Airborne) have taken the spirit of the original games to create their own athletic championship: the Arctic Sapper Winter Olympic Games.
Taking their inspiration from Olympic pageantry, the battalion's color bearer led the company guidon bearers towards a pyre which they lit with a torch, symbolizing the opening of the games March 14 behind the Buckner Physical Fitness Center.
To the Arctic Sappers, the flame represents the strength of will to battle enemies in the world's harshest environments. The flame stands as a symbol of strength, a solitary source of heat in an otherwise barren, arctic landscape.
The Arctic Sapper Winter Olympic Games is a two-week series of competitive and family-friendly winter events for the Arctic Sappers and their families.
The events include an Ahkio sled pull, 10-man tent setup, a biathlon, a 10-kilometer snowshoe march and a two-week combatives tournament.
The events that include family members are slalom ski and snowboarding, arctic orienteering, broom ball, snowshoe softball, snowman building, a snow tube race, cross-country skiing, and a alpine touring race.
"I'd say the best reason for having the opening ceremony like this is really to build some excitement with the families and the Soldiers," said Army Capt. Dave Frehulfer of the 6th Engineer Battalion operations section, and host of the ceremony.
"They see it on paper, they hear it briefed, but actually having a ceremony puts a face on what we're trying to do here.
That's to get people outside, enjoying late-winter sports -- and a lot of this stuff we use as arctic sappers," Frehulfer, a Lehighton, Pa. native, said.
The reason for the event is twofold, according to Army Lt. Col. Marc Hoffmeister, the battalion commander. "It's an