Fitness is a family affair: Siblings head to competition

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Capt. Rachel Schaefer, Space and Missile Center program manager and her brother Capt. Cale Simmons, SMC contract manager will represent Peterson Air Force Base at the upcoming Alpha Warrior Final Battle at Retama Park in San Antonio, Texas, Nov.11, 2017. The Alpha Warrior extreme obstacle course features 21 challenging obstacles that Airmen must complete to become a proven Alpha Warrior. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The Air Force’s first-ever Alpha Warrior Final Battle will be held at Retama Park in San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 11, 2017. The top male and female winners from 15-regional competitions, as well as the top 10 male and female competitors with the best runs from across the Air Force will compete for the title of Air Force Alpha Warrior.

Capt. Cale Simmons, Space and Missile Center contract manager, and his sister Capt. Rachel Schaefer, strategic warning and surveillance systems division program manager, are two members from Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, who will compete in this event. Capt. Jeff Schaefer, U.S. Air Force Academy civil engineering instructor, Rachel’s husband, will also join them in Texas representing USAFA.


According to the Alpha Warrior website the extreme obstacle course features 21 challenging obstacles not measured in miles or distance, but instead focuses on completing each obstacle at hand by testing strength and core fitness by pushing the body and mind to its physical and mental limit. The objective is to complete each obstacle on the course and finish with a 100% completion rate to become a proven Alpha Warrior.

Simmons was really excited when he found out he and his sister were both going because they had been practicing together for a couple weeks and were anxious to see how they would fair in the regional competition. He said everything went perfect in the competition and that Peterson AFB had put on a good show.

“Rachel’s husband, Jeff Schaefer, placed 2nd in the event and he will join us for the final,” Simmons said. “All three of us live pretty active lifestyles and go rock climbing often, which is pretty similar to Alpha Warrior.”

To train for Alpha Warrior Rachel Schaefer went rock climbing more frequently, joined a bouldering league, and went to a park with her husband to practice walking and balancing on a playground. They also did work on a slide structure.

“We just did a lot of stuff that resembled the movements we saw on the video of the course,” said Rachel Schaefer.

“I’m excited to spend time with my brother and husband competing at Alpha Warrior,” Rachel Schaefer added. “It should really be fun.”

Simmons competed in the pole vault at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016. He placed second in the U.S. Olympic Trials and 28th in the Olympics.

“I was happy to represent the U.S. and the Air Force on the world stage,” said Simmons.

“In my perspective as an Olympian this is a great way to have fun while still getting in a workout,” said Simmons. “This type of activity is something I seem to be pretty good at and my skills in pole vault transfer well with the agility, strength, coordination, and endurance in the event.”

Simmons also added that he looks forward to the more difficult obstacle course he’ll face in San Antonio.

Alpha Warrior designs state-of-the-art obstacle race equipment called battle rigs and stations. These multi-station devices enhance functional fitness training for individuals and teams. Battle rigs train Airmen’s muscles to work together while making strategic choices. These challenge stations compare to the popular television competition show America Ninja Warrior.

The opening ceremony for Alpha Warrior is at 8:30 a.m. and the Air Force Final Battle begins at 9:00 am. The Air Force awards ceremony is scheduled for 11:00 a.m.