MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. — Marine Corps Sgt. Colin M. Bell, an aviation supply specialist with Aviation Logistics Squadron 16 here, beat the competition during an episode of Discovery Channel’s “One Man Army” television show that aired Sept. 2.
The show pits four competitors, also known as “operatives,” in a test of speed, strength and intelligence for a $10,000 prize. “Each episode tries to have all branches of services represented,” said Bell, an Ann Arbor, Mich., native. “I competed against an Army captain, an Air Force major and a Dallas police officer. I was, of course, representing the Marine Corps.”
The show begins with four operatives competing in a physical one-on-one challenge. The two winners of the first challenge then compete in a final, intelligence-based competition toward the cash prize and title of One Man Army.
Bell’s appearance on the show featured competitors negotiating a tough obstacle course for their first challenge.
“We had to start off by repelling down a rope, grabbing ammo cans, navigating through a barrier, then carrying some progressively heavier ammo cans up a hill,” Bell said. “We ended by firing a pistol at various targets, which was difficult at that point because we were really out of breath. It was hard to control your breathing. I came out about eight seconds before the other guy and first in time.”
The final competition involved the operatives hanging upside-down from a rope tied around their feet while they unlocked four safe combination codes. The codes were made up of various types of puzzles, requiring contestants to focus despite being upside-down. Every safe contained a piece of a weapon that the contestant had to put together and use to shoot at the rope holding them up.
“Up until that point I had won every challenge, but the way that they aired it, it really seemed like I was quite a bit behind,” Bell said.
Bell finished opening the last safe while his competitor, the Air Force major, still had two safes remaining to open.
“My favorite part of the show was the moment when I opened that fourth safe,” Bell said. “I realized that I was actually about to win. I didn’t really get nervous for the challenges, but I did get anxious. As soon as it started though, I put on my game face and got tunnel vision. That’s when it gets easy.”
Bell has trained with this kind of focus on other competitions outside of the television shows as well. He has taken first place among all military participants in the last four triathlons he has competed in, and is currently preparing for another.
Bell’s ultimate goal, he said, is to become a professional triathlete within the next three years.
The television show’s producers told Bell he may have an opportunity to appear on “One Man Army” again.
“They did tell me possibly in the future they might do an all-star episode that I would get to be a part of,” Bell said. “That would be great, and I would definitely go back.”
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)