|The calm before the storm.|
Well, this is a strange feeling...
That was the thought that went through my head after I flailed my way through 50 8-count body builders. I was light headed and slightly weak. This was the start of our PT for my first GORUCK Challenge. Luckily, GORUCK isn't about one person, but about team. My teammates stepped in for the next exercise (a fast paced short distance run) by taking my ruck and making sure I did not stumble. One of our teammates had a medical background and checked my pulse, listened to my lungs, and made sure I was coherent. I was slightly embarrassed, but grateful for the help. I never thought about quitting, but I sure felt bad about sucking.
|Yup, I'm not feeling so hot.|
The intensity was dialed down a bit after that initial assessment of our fitness. I worked on slowing my pulse by inhaling slowly and exhaling slowly. This helped greatly and I started feeling back to "normal".
|Getting ready for some Good Livin'.|
This particular GORUCK Challenge was led by Cadre Joe Warner. Cadre Joe structures his events so that they are scenario based. We were given the scenario we would be working through prior to the initial physical assessment. The scenario was as follows:
Martial law had been declared due to a major socioeconomic collapse. The dollar had hyper inflated and was basically worthless (think $20000 loaf of bread). This in turn led to people walking off the job including firefighters, police, etc. opening up the door for social unrest. It was up to us, the 1262nd KC Militia, to help restore order by patrolling our neighborhoods and ensuring that there was no thuggery going on. Major Joe Warner was our leader from an Army ODA team and would be training us and then leading us on patrol. We were advised that a gang known as La Fuerca was operating in the area and was led by the notorious "Duck Slayer". We were to achieve our mission with minimal violence, winning the hearts and minds of the citizenry along the way and to learn something as we did all of this.
Thus, our "training" began with the scenario briefing complete and the initial physical assessment (as mentioned above) put behind us. First up was how to move in different formations, bounding movement, hand signals, and flanking an enemy position.
|Practicing our bounding movements.|
We also learned how to setup "comms". This consisted of an exercise that had our squads (three squads of 9) sitting back to back and passing our ruck sacks over our head to each other keeping two in the air at all times. How well we did this would determine how well our "signal" was when Cadre Joe called in.
|Setting up Comms.|
Next up was "demolitions". Again, this was exercise based. We all had to line up single file, get into a push up position with our feet on the shoulders of the person behind us. Luckily, this didn't have to be done in unison. Instead, the line was the "fuse" and only two or three of us had to be up at any given moment. Think "The Wave" at a stadium and you get the idea of the motion we had to do. The person at the end was the explosion and had to jump up and well "BANG!". Hilarity ensued as we tried to get it right.
|A human fuse.|
We were ready to go on patrol after a few more odds and ends of training. We rucked up by Cadre Joe's rental car and had the privilege of carrying some extra weight. These were in the form of two 8 foot (I believe) rounded 4 x 4's with two cinder blocks threaded on each one. We then proceeded out on patrol.
|Yes, Cadre Joe rides a Xootr. What of it?|
We came across our first role players (folks who were shadowing the event) about 30-60 minutes into the march. A woman reported that she had seen some suspicious activity between two Hispanic males and that she heard one of them say "bomb". We were given the direction they went in and headed that way to check it out.
Sure enough, we came across our suspects. An altercation ensued and one of the suspects was shot. The role player played dead and we found a map on him. On the map was marked the word "bomba". My espanol was rusty, but I was pretty sure I knew what "bomba" meant. The intel eventually led us down to the East Bottoms. Cadre Joe pulled out his "Geiger counter" and confirmed that the enormous post (12-16 ft x 4 in x 12 in approximately) was our bomb crate. We had to move it to an evacuation point so that a helicopter could come and haul it off.
So, away we went, hauling the very large log along with everything else mentioned previously. The majority of the route while shouldering the "bomb crate" followed the Missouri river almost all the way to the Isle of Capri. We had to establish comms in order for the helicopter to know where to reach us. We were then informed that we would need to decontaminate because of our exposure to the radioactivity from the crate. We ended up getting our feet wet in a stream and then proceeded to do PT (35 burpees if memory serves correct... it got hazy as the night went on). This served to "decon" all of us and we were out on patrol again.
It was about 4 am when we took casualties. A "sniper" had tagged us and we needed to medevac the wounded. We needed to get to an open field to do this. However, we got turned around a bit trying to get to our destination. This required some back tracking. The sun was coming up as we made it to the landing zone. We again setup "comms" and our casualties were gone. We briefly had a bit of fun by participating in an exercise that had us spilling our guts about a funny/embarrassing point about us and doing a jig when it was fnished... while running. We rucked up and moved on out on intelligence suggesting the Duck Slayer might be by some white structures around one of the art museums.
Our patrol led us to a Native American teepee exhibit. We advanced on each teepee, but the Duck Slayer was not to be found. We then were told it was time to return to base (the Liberty Memorial). However, we had a time limit to get there. So, on the way, we double timed it on the downhill slopes and did "Indian" runs to keep a fairly rapid pace.
We made it back to the Liberty Memorial. And, lo and behold, the Duck Slayer was there! One of our team members chased him down and literally tackled him on the front lawn. We learned that we needed to perform some physical activity in order to stop his plans after interrogating him. The activity was to line up around the Liberty Memorial Tower and hold our packs over our heads. We then had to perform some exercise and then run down the steps of the Memorial.
|Interrogating the Duckslayer|
My turn came up and I performed my exercise and hoofed it down the stairs. Cadre Joe was waiting with the others and it was fairly obvious that this was ENDEX (end of the exercise). I got to the bottom step and Cadre Joe patched me. The Challenge was over.
|Packs over our heads.|
The stats for this Challenge:
Duration: 12.5 hours
Hours Spent Ruckin': Approximately 8 hours
Total Distance Covered: 16 miles.
Personal ruck weight: 30-35 lbs with bricks and water (100 oz of water is 6.5 lbs. Obviously, this causes your pack's weight to fluctuate as you drink and refill).
|High Five! Great Success!|
I was pretty proud of making it through. However, I was also very humbled. I was one of the weaker links in this group of folks and it made me realize that I needed to take my PT up a notch. I will be getting into better shape for 2015. There's still a lot more GORUCK that I'd like to do.
|We made it!|
Let me know about your GORUCK experience or if you have questions in the comments below. And, as always, please share the blog with others.