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NEWS | Jan. 5, 2022

Army civilian, Army Reserve chief warrant officer 3 wins CBS' ‘Tough as Nails’ championship

By Walter Ham 20th CBRNE Command

A U.S. Army civilian won the Season 3 championship on the competition series “Tough as Nails” on CBS.

Lia P. Mort from the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-based 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command prevailed in the finale to take home the grand prize of $200,000 and a 2022 Ford Super Duty truck.

During the 10-episode competition, the contestants also took on a series of team tasks in pursuit of awards equaling $60,000. Serving as team leader, Mort led her “Dirty Hands” team to victory over the “Savage Crew” team.

“Leadership has taught me to value every team member,” said Mort, a self-described “Jill-of-All-Trades” who is originally from Lititz, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Richfield, Pennsylvania. “A team’s success relies on each member knowing where they fit and how they are making a positive contribution.”

In addition to serving in the military, Mort has been a firefighter, health care worker, warehouse worker, commercial tractor trailer driver, chicken hatchery worker, horse farm laborer and retail hardware clerk. She has also worked in various construction trades.

In September 2021, Mort reported to 20th CBRNE Command, the U.S. Department of Defense’s premier deployable all hazards formation, as an Army civilian in Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Team 1. She previously served as a civilian at the 20th CBRNE Command from 2010 to 2017.

WMD Coordination Teams deploy around the world to support combatant commanders, supported commanders and lead federal agencies.

Mort served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an electronics cryptographic repair technician at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from 1986 to 1990.

She later joined the U.S. Army Reserve after 9/11 and became a technical intelligence technician and small arms repairer with the 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion.

Currently a U.S. Army Reserve chief warrant officer three, Mort has deployed to Iraq. She also deployed as a civilian with WMD Coordination Team 4 to support the 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and Task Force Paladin in Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012.

Mort said her service and experience helped her during the wide variety of challenges on the show that took the contestants from farms and race tracks to mountains and military installations.

“My experiences in the Marine Corps and in the Army have taught me a lot about how to approach any challenge in life: to stay physically fit, have a positive attitude, keep calm in chaos, get a lot done with what is available and to be open-minded and willing to adjust on the fly,” said Mort. “This contributed to the success of my ‘Dirty Hands’ team.”

“The highlights of the show were meeting so many amazing people, having the opportunity to try all the physically and mentally taxing challenges and learning so much about myself and others,” said Mort.

The Season 3 champion said the toughest challenge was the finale.

“It was physically exhausting and I had to keep my mental focus to stay calm, steady and smooth,” said Mort. “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”