An American Airman in London

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dan Gage
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
After rowing more miles than it would take to travel across the whole of Great Britain, one member of the Mighty Ninety answered the challenge issued by Lt. Gen. James M. Kowalski, commander, Air Force Global Strike Command, earning himself a trip to London July 14 through 20.

After winning the AFGSC American300 Rowing Challenge, Staff Sgt. Jarrod White, 90th Maintenance Operations Squadron missile maintenance instructor, had the opportunity to spend six days in London.

White was accompanied on the tour by Robi Powers, American300; Dan Beery, 2004 Olympic Rowing Gold Medalist; Sean Colgan, 1980 Olympic Rowing team member; and White's girlfriend Rachel.

The first two days were spent sightseeing around London according to White, staying overnight in the Leander Club -England's oldest rowing club - founded in 1808.

"We bought day passes for the tube [London's underground rail transit system] and got lost traveling around town," White said with a laugh. "It was great though, we saw Big Ben, went to Kingsington Palace and had a chance to see a changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace."

White also had the chance to visit London's World War II Memorial, along with the Royal Air Force Church and RAF Club.

After rowing 981 miles to earn the trip to London, the focus of the trip was the privilege of rowing with the RAF rowing team and presenting them with the five Concept 2 rowing machines used by AFGSC Airmen for the competition in April.

Though it seemed conditions on the Thames River would not allow it, White also had the chance of rowing with members of the RAF.

"England had seen its wettest spring in 72 years so the river condition was 'red' that day," explained White. "Fortunately part way through the day they decreased it to 'yellow.

"I got word to suit up and climb in," White went on to say. "The river was really flowing, going upstream was very difficult but coming back downstream - we were just flying.

"It was really hard but I had a lot of fun," he said. "I was breathing hard and sweating but didn't even realize it."

Though White tries to downplay his efforts, his achievements did not go unnoticed among members of the RAF.

"I didn't think rowing almost 1,000 miles was that big of deal," White said. "When they announced what I had done to get there, everyone was in shock.

"I was rowing an average of 50,000 meters a day," he added. "They told me they only average 20,000, and the thought of what I did was crazy to them."

After the trip, White was excited about the whole experience, and would do it all again, he said.

"I really wanted to go to London and experience this," White said. "It was definitely worth the effort and I would love to go back, I got to meet some great people in the RAF and British Army. Everyone was very nice, stand-up individuals."

He says he is looking forward to future competitions and the only way he would not participate in future AFGSC, American300 challenges would be if he had a troop interested in competing.

"Hopefully there are more events like this in the future," he said. "But if one of my subordinates shows interest and is motivated to win, then of course, I would gladly step aside and encourage them to win as best I can.

"I would do it all again," he concluded.

"I don't think I have any permanent damage," he said jokingly. "It was worth the work, I'm healing up nicely and I'm looking for something new to challenge myself with."