Kentucky Guardsman “Ironman”

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Story by Capt. Stephen Martin, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Officer

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rick Kimberlin, a member of "Wildcat Dust-off" Det. 1, 2/238th General Support Aviation Battalion, completes the Louisville Ironman Triathlon in 13 hours and 40 seconds Aug. 28, 2011 (photo by R.W. Kimberlin).

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Over the course of eight months, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rick Kimberlin swam, biked and ran a combined total of nearly 1,700 miles to prepare for the 140.6 mile Louisville Ironman competition in August.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” KimberlinĀ  said.

For this first-time triathlete, a personal drive to achieve led him to the starting line of this year’s Louisville Ironman.

“I wanted to be challenged,” he said. “I heard about this race and thought that this is probably the hardest thing on Earth to do, so I signed up.”

This coming from a Soldier who’s deployed three times overseas as well as being an Instructor Pilot, Maintenance Test Pilot and Aviation Safety Officer for the Kentucky National Guard.

On Aug. 28, Kimberlin was one of thousands of athletes who completed the Louisville Ironman triathlon. Finishing in 13 hours and 40 seconds provided a score decent enough to land him in the top 50 percent of all his competitors.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rick Kimberlin, a member of "Wildcat Dust-off" Det. 1, 2/238th General Support Aviation Battalion, trained for eight months in preparation for the Louisville Ironman Triathlon Aug. 28, 2011 (Photo by ASI Ironman Photography).

Kimberlin, who’s assigned to the “Wildcat Dust-off” Detachment 1, 2/238th General Support Aviation Battalion and a full-time instructor pilot at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Frankfort, Ky., stays in shape for his military duty by training daily. But beyond the physical demands of the triathlon, he needed mental and emotional support to finish the race.

His Family, friends and fellow aviators all supported him throughout the training as well as along the race route, including 2nd Lt. Jonathan Strayer, a member of the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade. Strayer works in the same office with Kimberlin and took his Family to cheer the Guardsman on.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rick Kimberlin, a member of "Wildcat Dust-off" Det. 1, 2/238th General Support Aviation Battalion, transitions from the bike to the run during the Louisville Ironman Triathlon Aug. 28, 2011 (Photo by R.W. Kimberlin).

“It was inspiring,” said Strayer. “It’s made me want to embark on a goal of my own.

Also in attendance, were members of Kimberlin’s unit.

Leading by example and striving for excellence is how Capt. Jimmy Caniff, commander of the Wildcat Dust-off unit, describes Kimberlin’s accomplishment.

“Rick’s done nothing but inspire our entire unit,” said Caniff. “It’s a huge accomplishment and I know we’ll set higher goals and push ourselves farther because of his example.”

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