The Air Force may have called the incident a training exercise, but a Build-A-Bear on steroids made waves on social media this week after strolling up to the Sheppard Air Force Base entrance and blessing the gate guards with a hodgepodge of heaven-sent dance moves before making a break for the bare necessities of base access and a life of aiming high.
“Wherever I wander, wherever I roam. I couldn’t be fonder of my big home.”
Unfortunately, Mark Wahlberg’s thunder buddy for life didn’t wander very far onto the Wichita Falls, Texas, installation before drawing unwanted attention.
After finishing a dance traditionally accepted as a greeting in stuffed bear culture, the adorable teddy took off, nimbly weaving through traffic barriers and cones with the grace of a thousand ancient Mesopotamian belly dancers before graciously moving onto the sidewalk to avoid blocking traffic.
Stunned to the point of paralysis by the bear jig, a transfixed guard eventually snapped out of the bear dance trance as the teddy dashed down the road.
“Gate Runner! Gate Runner!” the bewildered guard howled, leaping into action and bolting into the night after the perpetrator.
Closing ground on the suspect, the officer delivered a form tackle that would have made Bobby Boucher of “Waterboy” fame tear up with pride, but eye witnesses reported the teddy managed to slip from the officer’s grasp just after the camera stopped rolling.
It hasn’t been seen since.
Maybe it was a simple gate-crashing exercise, as base officials told 1063thebuzz.com. Or maybe it was an adorable friend of the people, exercising its God-given right to life, liberty and a pursuit of honey.
The run took guts — literally — the bear’s cotton entrails decorated the pavement as the sprint intensified, but it disregarded the searing pain accompanying such an injury to continue its death-defying sprint to a better life.
This bear stands for everything the Air Force believes in. It flew through the gate. It fought for a better life. And in the end, it won our heartfelt admiration.
We salute you, Teddimus Maximus von Bearenstein, wherever you may be.
Base authorities, meanwhile, are still on the lookout for the suspect.
While raw camera footage showed the incident, its Usain Bolt-like speed and Barry Sanders elusiveness made capturing a clear photograph of the suspect difficult.
Authorities have released a sketch, seen below, in the hopes that anyone with information will come forward.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.