CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity’s logistics officer joined a group of elite service members to represent the U.S. Armed Forces Triathlon Team in the 2017 World Military Triathlon Championship in Warendorf, Germany, Aug. 3- 6.
Capt. Mollie Hebda, who was named the top female Marine Corps athlete of the year for 2016 and a gold medalist at the 2017 U.S. Armed Forces triathlon, was the sole U.S. Marine selected to compete in the open category of this year’s World Military Triathlon.
“I feel humbled and honored,” said Hebda. “Before I joined the USMC triathlon team in 2014, I had no idea the opportunities it would open up for me.”
The International Military Sports Council hosts the event and has the mission of building “friendship through sport.”
“To be a part of a small team representing the United States is absolutely incredible,” Hebda said.
Military members from 22 nations fielded teams that tackled a 1,500-meter swim, a 40-km bike race and a 10-km run.
“I enjoy the physical and mental challenge, the comradery with my teammates and discipline it requires to be successful in this sport,” said Hebda.
Endurance sports have been Hebda’s “happy place” from the time her dad started taking her out running at age 3 to when her parents enrolled her in a competitive swim club at age 10, she said. She began running competitively in high school, and continued pushing her limits as a member of the U.S. Naval Academy’s cross-country and track teams.
“There’s always been an urge inside me, even as a young child, to push my body physically and get ‘in the zone’ where mental focus and physical excursion are sync’d,” said Hebda. “It takes a high level of fitness to achieve that place and I am still trying to get there.
“I sincerely enjoy learning from other athletes, especially high performers like those on the Armed Forces triathlon team,” she said. “I’m always realizing there is more I can do to achieve higher levels of success.”
She strives for this same success during her duty hours as well.
“Capt. Hebda is an extremely diligent and hardworking Marine officer, which I see on a daily basis when she is performing her job as my logistics officer, ensuring the scientists and engineers at our command have what they need in order to test and evaluate the Marine Corps’ command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems,” said Col. Robert Bailey, MCTSSA commanding officer. “Now add what she does on her ‘off’ time, with the countless miles she has logged on her bike, on foot and in the water, it really comes as no surprise to me that she is representing the Marine Corps at such a high level and in such a spectacular way.”
Whether competing at the highest levels of international sport or performing her daily logistics duties at MCTSSA, the only elite full-scale laboratory facility operated by the Marine Corps, Hebda trains as she fights, bringing her best to athletic competitions as well as to the Marines she supports.
A subordinate command of Marine Corps Systems Command, MCTSSA provides test and evaluation, engineering, and deployed technical support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems throughout all acquisition life-cycle phases.