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Hawks gunning for sharks at GC!

Staff Sgt. Javier Mendez places tree branches in his helmet and gear to improve his concealment at the Air Force Space Command Guardian Challenge tactics competition in Colorado on Aug. 14. Sergeant Mendez is with the 30th Security Forces Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Dan Monahan)

Staff Sgt. Javier Mendez places tree branches in his helmet and gear to improve his concealment at the Air Force Space Command Guardian Challenge tactics competition in Colorado on Aug. 14. Sergeant Mendez is with the 30th Security Forces Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Dan Monahan)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Guardian Challenge came to a close after an intense competition week for the 30th Security Forces Squadron Aug. 14-17 at Peterson AFB, Colo.

The challenge is the world's premier space and missile competition. It is the prime peacetime opportunity for Air Force space and missile teams to fully demonstrate the effectiveness of their training and procedures in a highly competitive environment.

The 30th SFS was the final team to complete its portion of the competition. The 30th Operations and Launch groups and 76th Helicopter Squadron competed earlier this year, but went to Peterson to support the SFS Defenders and take part in the closing ceremonies.

At the kick-off of the week's festivities, the teams gathered at the Peterson AFB auditorium to show their pride and competitive spirit. Air Force Space Command leadership, team members, distinguished visitors, mascots and other guests all cheered and chanted for their respective teams.

The Patrick AFB Sharks mascot, Vandenberg's nemesis, poked fun at the Hawks. The shark mascot put a rubber chicken in its mouth and threw feathers into the audience.

Vandenberg retaliated with the team chanting, "Ugh, it smells like FISH!"

The 30th Space Wing commander had his own comment for the Patrick Sharks.

"I couldn't understand why they were eating chicken," Col. Jack Weinstein said. "I do know they'll be eating crow soon enough."

The 30th SFS took part in three tasks to test their expertise. All four team members took part in the tactics, marksmanship and obstacle course events.

"There were no surprises," said Staff Sgt. Javier Mendez, 30th SFS confinement supervisor and GC competitor.

"Our trainer did an outstanding job preparing us for competition. We were on target, on time."

During the challenges, television viewing pits were available so observers could see every move the security forces team made during tasks in large areas, like the tactics event.

Tactics took place in an open area about 1/2 mile by 1/4 mile, so the televisions allowed viewers to watch the team from beginning to end.

"It was amazing to see our team in action," said Capt. Brian Clifford, 4th Space Launch Squadron GC competitor. "I have a greater respect for the security forces team after seeing them during this competition."

Other events that took place during the week were civic leadership roundtable talks, a technical expo, an AFSPC dedicated Sky Sox baseball game and a space and missile forum.

Nearly 25 Vandenberg participants took part in this year's Guardian Challenge.

"Our team trained hard for this competition," Col. Weinstein said. "Guardian Challenge allows us to showcase security forces skills to our communities. These Airmen provide security to the entire Vandenberg population. Watching their determination in competition lets me know we're in good hands and that they are the best in the entire command."

Editor's Note: results were unavailable at press time.