Wednesday, October 1, 2014

GORUCK Light #431: Kansas City, MO September 6th, 2014

Before the fun began.
My wife and I arrived at Liberty Memorial around 2 p.m. for our first GORUCK Light event.  The weather was perfect.  It was in the 70's and sunny.

What is a GORUCK event?  The short version is that it is a teamwork event that involves lots of physical activity.  It is lead by Special Operations Force members, both veteran and active, who teach leadership skills using their experience in the military while performing the different tasks you do throughout the event.

The day started out with a gear check by Cadre Daniel.  There was a 5 burpee penalty for every infraction of the packing list.  The fun then began.  We immediately bunny hopped up and down the steps of the Memorial.  We were directed to march out towards a statue and then stand in formation.  So, off we went. Once we lined up, Cadre Daniel explained how we looked like a bunch of individuals and not a team.  This was bad because GORUCK (with the exception of Selection) is an exercise in teamwork.

Cadre Daniel straightening us out.

We then marched back to the Liberty Memorial steps and performed some more exercises keeping in mind what we had just been told about teamwork.

A little bit of crabwalking never hurt anybody, right?

Oh, did I mention there is a team weight?  Made bear crawling up the stairs a bit tricky.

After we were done with exercises on the stairs we moved onto some other fun drills on the back lawn of Liberty Memorial.

Getting up from one of many PT exercises.

Then, it was off an a march towards the Plaza.  Once we arrived, we worked our way down Brush Creek.  Then the Good Livin' really started as we fished out a log...

Did I mention there were rusty nails in the log?
... and then hoisted it on our shoulders and proceeded to hump it all over the Plaza.

We took turns rotating in and out of positions to give each other some rest.

It was a bit awkward when others were on the side walk... or when there was outdoor cafe like seating.
Stopping for a refreshing squat session in the fountain.

We finally ended the log portion of the session at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fountain.  We cached the log in a natural spot (i.e. we didn't just leave it for people to trip over) and proceeded roughly back the way we came.

I was made "captain" for this last portion of the hike.  About a quarter of a mile out from Liberty Memorial, I was informed by Cadre Daniel that there were "reports" of the enemy ahead, distance unknown, and that they probably possessed chemical weapons.  This is where the SHTF.  We took "casualties" and had to evacuate them towards our pick up point.  However, carrying everyone was a challenge because we had more casualties than able bodied folks who were not carrying packs at this point.  Cadre Daniel had to step in and suggest leap frogging two groups to make it work.

Needless to say, I felt pretty damn stupid the entire time (pride issues, I know) for getting folks in a bind and also for not coming up with a clear plan of action.  Oh well, I learned my lesson (and truth be told, my mind couldn't let the scenario go until I had scrutinized what I would have done differently).  I realize this portion was designed as a "the wheels are coming off" scenario, but I know that I could have handled it better.

Some folks carrying extra packs while others carry "casualties".  My "casualty" had to suffer my poor carry technique.

But I digress.  We eventually made it and were told to line up for more exercises.  This lasted maybe five more minutes and then we were told we had just completed our event (or ENDEX, short for End of exercise).

The last few exercises although we were not sure this was the end.

After 8 hours and 9..6 miles traveled, I earned my GORUCK Light patch and felt pretty good about the whole event.  I met a great crew of folks and will definitely be looking forward to the next!

Have you done a GORUCK event?  I'd like to hear about your experiences with others outside of a Light.  I highly recommend it for a "gut check" type of experience.

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