Travis family bonds over fitness competition

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christian Conrad
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – It’s hot. In the middle of a summer that came far too early and that has a history of staying far too late, Travis Air Force Base, California, is hot. Inside the base’s fitness center, the warm, fluorescent atmosphere is heated to a stifling degree by the straining and frantic energies of those who are working out. The gym is split into distinct groups all huddling under what finite space exists beneath the few scattered air conditioning vents. The space separating them becomes a sort of “temperate no man’s land” with gym-goers only traversing its puddles of sweat to fill their water bottles or migrate to a new huddle.

In the middle of all this, though, is a man in a full battle combat uniform fully intent on working out in exactly that, the heat be damned. His name is Master Sgt. Christofer Galbadores, 821st Contingency Response Squadron force protection flight chief and, as of July 23, alpha warrior.

Galbadores, who ran in last Monday’s Alpha Warrior Competition, says working out in his uniform is all about readiness.

“I learned that things are a lot easier when you are comfortable with being uncomfortable,” he said. “When feeling discomfort is the norm, it reduces the amount of stress I may be exposed to in any situation.”

That situation, he continued, may be one where he’s alerted to deploy on just hours’ notice.

The 821st CRS is a squadron within the 621st Contingency Response Wing whose mission is that of “training and rapidly deploying personnel to quickly open airfields and establish, expand, sustain and coordinate air mobility operations,” according to the 621st CRW website.

What this translates to on an individual level is constant upkeep of the four pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness, said Galbadores.

The pillars of CAF are ones long-touted by Air Force leadership as qualities that are pivotal in both an Airman’s well-being and their ability to accomplish the mission. They include spiritual, physical, social and mental fitness, and in Galbadores’ case, can best be represented by four other pillars in his life: Yasmin, Cain, Maximus and Kingston.

Yasmin Galbadores ended up participating in the Alpha Warrior competition alongside her husband. Their three boys, Cain, Maximus and Kingston, were also present, providing an important facet of fanfare to the competing couple.

According to Yasmin, though, being the mother of three boys isn’t always about having your own mobile fan section.

“It definitely keeps you on your toes,” she said. “But it’s also given me an opportunity to show my boys that women are strong too. Staying healthy is important to us as a family and going through the Alpha Warrior course was just another step in keeping so.”

The Alpha Warrior course, which consists of a sprawling mass of metal pipes and obstacles called a “battle rig,” is part of a recent Air Force initiative to encourage base families to take pride in their physical fitness and motivate Airmen to push their limits in respect to being members of a total force.

Just as important as the program’s results is the program itself; the premise of which is how to turn something many people view as monotonous or difficult into something fun and engaging.

“What’s interesting about (Alpha Warrior) is it brings a fun value to working out and fitness,” said David Nolan, Alpha Warrior chief executive officer. “In other words, when you’re doing the obstacles and doing the training, it’s not just going to the gym—it’s a fun way of constantly moving around.”

“Fun” is a subjective word. Despite their high levels of fitness, the course ended up getting the better of the Galbadores couple whose daily workouts include a minimum of 100 pushups and more recently, 50 muscle-ups.

The high temperature of the room combined with Galbadores’ heavy, cotton-nylon blended uniform may have been a factor, though he said the grips of the obstacles themselves didn’t treat him any nicer.

“After one of the obstacles, I had ripped calluses off both my hands—both bloody and stinging,” said Galbadores. “Ultimately, I fell off. I failed, but that’s okay. I took a shot and I know what I need to do now to conquer it next time. With failure comes growth, as long as you continue to move forward.”

Yasmin, who was only the second person to attempt the course out of an approximately 50-person pool, had a similar experience.

“I’m so happy that I tried, and regardless of the results, I gave it my best,” she said.

More than any sense of personal glory, Yasmin said she hopes her sons saw the value in the display and that they learn what benefits come with staying active.

“A parent is always a child’s first role model in every aspect of life,” she said. “Showing them that you can have fun while challenging yourself is important because they’ll never know what they’re truly capable of until they try.”

At six, four and one, respectively, Cain, Maximus and Kingston are internalizing the lessons expounded by their parents in ways only a six, four and one-year-old can.

“Why is it important to exercise,” Galbadores asked them.

“So I can protect my family,” said Cain. “Exercise is good so you don’t have a heart attack.”

“Because I want to get stronger,” said Maximus.

Kingston, the newest addition to the Galbadores family, responded in what is likely a one-year-old’s primary mode of communication: flatulence.

“He’ll get there,” said Yasmin.