INL News Release
June 10, 2009

Media contacts:
 John Howze (208) 526-9292
 Nicole Stricker (208) 526-5955

INL team wins Snake River SWAT Challenge

Two Idaho National Laboratory teams dominated the annual Snake River SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) Challenge held in Boise on May 18-19. The official INL-sponsored team won the SWAT Challenge over seven other competitors in the rigorous “super team event.”

Members of the winning INL team are Sherman Campbell, Paul Espinoza, Colt Green, Dave Monk, Eric Nield, Brandon Stucki, Will Toone and John Vranes.

“I am extremely pleased with the performance demonstrated,” said Facilities & Site Services Director Dwayne Coburn. “This is our fourth time to compete at Boise and the first time we have won it.

“This is one of the best ways to take our stature – by testing ourselves against our peers,” Coburn said. “The teams we bested are among the finest SWAT teams in the Northwest – including a team from the U.S. Marine Corps. The entire laboratory can be proud of what they achieved.”

The super team event included each man running a total distance of 5.8 miles through mountainous terrain and completing 26 obstacles or shooting stages. Teams were judged on both shooting accuracy and the time it took them to complete the course. Along the way, they climbed over walls, across barriers, through culverts, carried a heavy log up a long, steep hill on the run, shot one-handed and from awkward positions, and shot at targets placed at unknown distances.

“We’ve been going every year for four years and we finally won it this year through hard work, dedication, proper preparation and the desire to win,” said team leader Nield. “That demonstrates that we are the elite protective team for the elite DOE facility, Idaho National Lab.”

In addition to the team victory, Nield placed first in the individual shooting competition (combined scores of rifle, pistol and shotgun) and Green placed second. And Vranes and Monk placed third overall in the sniper competition.

A second team composed of INL employees participating on their own time and resources took second place. Taking that honor were Jake Jensen, Dave Tomchak, Kris Peterson, Justin Mathewson, Robert Earley, Alon Johnson, Colby Peterson and Adam Boyce.

“The INL Protective Force is very proud of the team's accomplishment,” said Kyle Jorgensen, who oversees the INL’s Special Response Team. “They worked very hard leading up to the competition to ensure success.”

INL is one of the DOE's 10 multiprogram national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of the strategic goal areas of DOE: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation's leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

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From left, INL Special Response Team members Colt Green, Brandon Stucki, Dave Monk, John Vranes, Sherman Campbell, Paul Espinoza, Eric Nield and Will Toone pose with victory plaques from the Snake River SWAT Challenge. The team bested seven other Special Weapons and Tactics teams from the Northwest, including a team of U.S. Marines. (INL photo)
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One of 26 challenges that laced the 5.8 mile course was this large log. Team members had to tote it up a steep hill in the middle of the course – one of several endurance-agility tasks they faced in addition to the shooting competition. (INL photo)
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INL Special Response Team members fire their rifles at one of the shooting stations along the course. Members wore and carried full gear for the competition. (INL photo)
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Dave Monk, center, and Sherman Campbell, left, work their way through a log pyramid obstacle as Paul Espinoza, right, looks on. The Snake River SWAT Challenge course offered many such tests of agility and physical fitness in addition to a wide variety of shooting challenges. (INL photo)
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Dave Monk and Colt Green make light work of a distant target as they fire from the prone position. INL teams have competed in the Snake River SWAT Challenge for four years – and dominated this year’s event with an overall team win plus first place in handgun competition and third place in the team sniper event. (INL photo)

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