5th ASOS tackles Lowlife Challenge in preparation for Chaos, Lightning Challenges

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Callie Norton
  • 62d Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 5th Air Support Operations Squadron held the Lowlife Challenge, here, June 22, 2023.

Throughout the competition, tactical air control party members and special warfare mission support Airmen with the 5th ASOS participated in a series of strenuous mental and physical challenges including an obstacle course, tactical shooting, monster mash and land navigation.

The goal of the Lowlife Challenge is to strengthen TACP members in their core competencies, as well as select top performers for the Chaos Challenge, where two teams from the 5th ASOS will compete at the U.S. Pacific Air Forces level.

Time was of the essence throughout the day, as teams of two took their place on the obstacle course before transitioning to tactical shooting. On the range, participants were timed as they fired three shots with their M4 weapons systems, followed immediately by their M18s, and finished with another three shots with their M4s. Time and accuracy made up their scores.

“There’s a myriad of things we can do in these challenges to stress the operators,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Hahn, 5th ASOS commander. “Putting them out there in a competitive environment gets their blood pressure up and drives them to achieve great things. It’s another way to add positive stress to these guys.”

Moving on to the monster mash, all teams completed a three and a half mile run with weighted plates, in under an hour, while simultaneously performing cognitive testing. Among the stations that followed, Airmen were tested on casualty evacuation, weapons breakdown and assembly, visual reconnaissance, map symbols, pocket laser range finder/defense advance GPS receiver, electronic countermeasure-resistant frequency-hopping system, intelligence and geography. 

“When you get out on the battlefield, and you’ve gone through iterations of high stress situations, maybe that will put another arrow in their quiver,” said Hahn.

The squadron ended the day with land navigation, where they were given only a compass, protractor, map and markers to locate as many designated coordinates as they could and find their way back within an hour and a half.

“We have Chaos Challenge coming up in about four and a half weeks, so they won’t have as much anxiety leading up to that,” said Hahn. “When they see the courses again [they’ll think], ‘piece of cake, let’s knock this out and we can focus on winning.’”

There, teams from all over the Indo-Pacific region will go head-to-head, seeking the opportunity to move up to the Air Force-wide competition, the Lightning Challenge.

Competitions such as these serve to honor the TACP and SWMS career fields and those who served before them. For the 5th ASOS, this legacy runs deep.

“A huge part of our heritage at the 5th is Master Sgt. Auchman,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Nathan Rice, 5th ASOS senior enlisted leader. “To not show that connection that our support people have had hugely in our career field over the years would be a foul.”

Master Sgt. Steven Auchman was the maintenance superintendent for the 5th ASOS, who paid the ultimate sacrifice while deployed to the city of Mosul, Iraq in 2004.

After a couple years of hiatus, the squadron’s Lowlife Challenge was brought back this year to incorporate the invaluable efforts of their support Airmen, as well as prepare TACPs for their future missions down range.