Lakenheath personnel and jets are built for speed

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Campbell
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Did you ever wonder how fast you could run the 100 meter dash or any other track and field race? Well a few members of RAF Lakenheath were able to find that out this year during time trials held at the base track April 9.

The event was held to see if any participants qualified to represent the United States Air Forces in Europe and Air Force track and field team. There were 36 entries registered for the RAFL time trials and they competed in various events ranging from 400 meter hurdles to the long jump.

Airman 1st Class Sean Winter, 48th Medical Operations Squadron pediatric medical technician, explained, "Being blessed enough to compete with the best of the A.F. provides each one of us one more opportunity to show how great the A.F. can be. All I can do is my best."

This event would not have been possible without the coordination and leadership of Maj. George Onyenyeonwu, 48th Medical Group senior group practice manager.

"I just wanted to give back to the community and help create an opportunity for Airmen in the local area to try out for the A.F. team," said Major Onyenyeonwu.

The venture took four weeks of coordination. Major Onyenyeonwu had to contact the high school and the track and field coach for approval and equipment needs. The fitness center also held a pivotal role in this event since they needed to place new sand in the long jump pit, along with many other coordination and supply aspects of the competition.

Col. Cassie Barlow, 48th Mission Support Group commander, also had a part in this, as she is the USAFE delegation chief. She has worked closely with USAFE, the fitness center, school and Major Onyenyeonwu for this event and the upcoming track and field meet.

"I'm honored to be able to represent the A.F. at the Allied Command Track and Field Championship," Colonel Barlow said. "I look forward to watching the competition and cheering on our athletes who have worked very hard to prepare for the competition. I look forward to meeting the athletes and representatives from the other countries."

Lakenheath members have been preparing for the 2010 Allied Command Headquarters Ramstein Track and Field Championships, which are scheduled to take place June 1-3, at RAF Cosford. Members of the team have undertaken lots of personal training as well as some group sessions headed up by Major Onyenyeonwu. This is a chance they might not have had if not for the efforts of several people behind the scenes.

One volunteer is a member of the team, Staff Sgt. Maybelle McKinney-Martin, 48th Medical Operations Squadron physical and occupational therapy technician, stated, "I'm honored to help support the team and represent the A.F."

According to Major Onyenyeonwu, this event could lead to future opportunities for the people who are representing the A.F. in the meet. He should know since he has been an A.F. representative for many events because of his running abilities. Some of his achievements include: 1998 100m & 200m World Champion; Nike World Masters Games, Eugene, Oregon; 2002 4 X 100m Relay Gold Medal, Air North Track & Field Championship, Germany and the 2002 4 X 100m Relay Gold Medal, World Masters Games, Melbourne, Australia.

Because he wants to give back to the community, Major Onyenyeonwu is working to make this an annual event available to members of the A.F. in the United Kingdom. He would like to hold it roughly around the same timeframe every year.

"I have already initiated a move to have an established meet here at Lakenheath yearly starting next year through the fitness center," said Major Onyenyeonwu.

The 2010 RAF Lakenheath team members include:
Major George Onyenyeonwu, Team Captain, 48th Medical Group
1st Lt. Alan R. Rodriguez, 48th Comptroller Squadron
Staff Sgt. Benjamin A. Opare-Abetia, 56th Rescue Squadron
Staff Sgt. Zachary D. Burnash, 48th Civil Engineer Squadron
Staff Sgt. Maybelle, McKinney-Martin, 48th Medical Group
Airman 1st Class Sean T. Winter, 48th Medical Group
Airman 1st Class Jeremy S. Scott, 48th Force Support Squadron
Airman 1st Class William A. Yankowski, 48th Fighter Wing

For more information about the Air Force track and field opportunities visit: