Face of Defense: Marine Becomes ‘One Man Army’

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.

Marine Corps Sgt. Col­in M. Bell, an avi­a­tion sup­ply spe­cial­ist with Avi­a­tion Logis­tics Squadron 16 at Marine Corps Air Sta­tion Mira­mar, recent­ly beat the com­pe­ti­tion in an episode of Dis­cov­ery Channel’s tele­vi­sion show “One Man Army” that aired Sept. 2, 2011. Bell won the title and a $10,000 prize.
Marine Corps pho­to by Lance Cpl. Eri­ca DiS­al­vo
Click to enlarge

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)

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