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Air Force Eco-Challenge Winners Showcased in Screening

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An Air Force Team comprised of three pararescuemen and a communications officer outlasted 21 other military teams to claim the Armed Forces Championship Eco-Challenge in Alaska this past June. Their feat will be showcased at a special sneak preview screening of the USA Network special primetime event Friday at the National Press Club here.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is sponsoring the special screening, Eco-Challenge: US Armed Forces Championship, which will air around the world on the USA Network, December 5th, 9 p.m. ET.

Twenty-two four-person teams from across the Armed Services participated in Eco-Challenge, a grueling race across 150 miles of the world’s most unforgiving terrain, which included mountain climbing in the Alaska Range, orienteering across the rugged tundra, mountain biking down the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and rafting deadly glacier-fed rivers.

The winning Air Force Team, Team Speedy Mail, included TSgt Ken Fournier, a pararescueman with the 38th Rescue Squadron, Moody AFB, Ga.; SMSgt Skip Kula and David Shuman, both PJs with the 210th Rescue Squadron at Kulis ANGB, Anchorage, Alaska; and 1Lt Rebecca King, a communications officer, 611th Air Communications Flight, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. They covered 158 miles in 61 hours and 7 minutes.

Their closest competitor, an Army team, finished more than two hours behind. Altogether, of the six Air Force teams, four finished in the top eight. The Army entered 12 teams, the Marines, three, and the Navy, one.

The show, produced by Mark Burnett, founder and executive producer of Eco-Challenge, is narrated by Charlton Heston and captures the experiences of the teams as they battle the elements, injuries and sleep deprivation for the chance to represent the U.S. Armed Services at Eco-Challenge 2001.

The race was held as a benefit for TAPS, the national organization made up of all those who have lost a loved one in the armed forces. Since September 11th, TAPS has taken on the mission of assisting over 3,000 family members of those killed in the attack on the Pentagon, many of whom will be attending the screening.

The event begins at 6 p.m. at the National Press Club with a reception where guests will be able to meet the producer and talk with some of the competitors. The screening begins at 7 p.m. with a discussion to follow.