Subscribe
Technical Sgt. Amunda Rivers rows his board in a relay race Wednesday at the Erwin Professional Military Education Center on Kadena Air Base. More than 70 technical sergeants are attending the NCO Academy at Erwin PME Center.

Technical Sgt. Amunda Rivers rows his board in a relay race Wednesday at the Erwin Professional Military Education Center on Kadena Air Base. More than 70 technical sergeants are attending the NCO Academy at Erwin PME Center. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

Technical Sgt. Amunda Rivers rows his board in a relay race Wednesday at the Erwin Professional Military Education Center on Kadena Air Base. More than 70 technical sergeants are attending the NCO Academy at Erwin PME Center.

Technical Sgt. Amunda Rivers rows his board in a relay race Wednesday at the Erwin Professional Military Education Center on Kadena Air Base. More than 70 technical sergeants are attending the NCO Academy at Erwin PME Center. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

Airmen compete in a relay type race Wednesday. The 15-man teams in the relay race tried to fill tubs using a piece of sponge.

Airmen compete in a relay type race Wednesday. The 15-man teams in the relay race tried to fill tubs using a piece of sponge. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

Airmen squeeze the water sponges out into tubs during the relay race.

Airmen squeeze the water sponges out into tubs during the relay race. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

In the final event of the Olympiad at the Erwin Professional Military Education Center, technical sergeants spell out the word "team."

In the final event of the Olympiad at the Erwin Professional Military Education Center, technical sergeants spell out the word "team." (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Soft rapping on a thick wood door taps out the prisoner’s message in the same code familiar to prisoners of war.

A three-man team, dripping sweat in the hot dark hall, press their ears to the door, struggling to distinguish the prisoner’s taps above the noise of heavy breathing and other knocks and raps heard in the hallway.

Finally, they decipher the message: the location of the key to unlock the door.

They race away to be the first to complete the mission of freeing their Prisoner of the Olympiad.

This was one of the culminating events for the NCO Academy’s Olympiad at Erwin Professional Military Education Center on Kadena Air Base last week.

About 75 technical sergeants from bases across the Pacific competed in five 15-man teams in events designed to test their physical fitness and mental acuity, said Chief Master Sgt. Annette Henderson, the center’s commandant.

The Olympiad was one of the final events for class 07-6, scheduled to graduate Wednesday from a six-week course.

The course is designed to train the technical sergeants in combat leadership, managerial communication, unit management and military professionalism, said instructor Christina Cournoyer.

But the key lesson is teamwork, which was essential during the Olympiad, Henderson said.

“This is great for the whole class,” said Technical Sgt. Dorian Matros, a student. “It’s all about teamwork and keeping them motivated.”

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up