The Pax: Baby Face, West Side, Banjo, Boomer, Flo, Ha-Ha, I-Beam, Sunshine, Mufasa, Sneakers, Saint 2.0
QIC: Cadre Danny, Cadre Flash
It would not get any better than this. 11 Alpha PAX were bound for GrowRuck05 in Chattanooga, TN. This is a brief summary of what happened. There was more, but after 14 1/2 hours, details have been inadvertently neglected.
Friday night 3 vehicles containing this select group of HIM would depart the Alpha region bound for Chattanooga, TN. First stop is the location of where the 2nd F is scheduled to be held – 2 Sons Kitchen. We meet the rest of the GrowRuck05 PAX, Dredd and OBT, the founders of F3. F3 TN was represented by Chattanooga, Memphis, Knoxville, Johnson City and Nashville. After a brief discussion and talk by Dredd and OBT, we depart for our respective hotels, to get some much needed rest for the next day, knowing we would not sleep for another 33 hours or so.
Up at 6 am, we depart and drive 20 minutes or so to RiverMont park. On time, at 7 am, true to F3 culture, Dredd and OBT are ready to lead the workout, and depart some wisdom on leadership as was promised the night before.
There is footage from the COT, which YHC will attempt to locate and make a late edit.
Following this was a breakfast of Biscuits and coffee, and more of 2nd F. This would morph into the outdoor classroom where Dredd and OBT would give some of the best Leadership talk YHC has heard – all first hand experience and relevant and real world application. This is treasure! YHC took notes, and at the time of this writing had not located the notes. YHC is committed to finding them and will upload as an attachment.
After arriving back at the hotel, some attempted to get some sleep and others watched football to while away the time. Closer the time, the PAX was agonizing over what to pack and wear for the event. We knew it would rain, and be cold at some point, but how many layers to start with, change of clothes to carry and how much food to take took hours of deliberation. At the end of day, make a decision and stick with it. We were set, and ready to depart for the awesomeness of a GoRuck Tough Challenge.
We would meet at the aquarium at 1730, for an 1800 start. When we arrived, there were PAX unsure of where to be. This is when The Alpha steps up – Sneakers had learned earlier in the day the man with the Star is in charge, because he took charge, and moved the group down the hill to the correct meetup place.
No time pieces were allowed so we don’t know the exact time (around 6 pm), but out of nowhere our Cadre, Cadre Danny and Cadre Flash show up. Impressive resume of over 40 years of Special Operations and Special Forces of US Army and Marine Recon between them. A few orders were barked, we performed an evolution of box jumps to top, bear crawls, crawl bears, derkins and more. Anyone was invited to leave if they so desired, but we all stayed put. This was not the Alamo where one was leaving – we were all in it. Boomer reported that one had tried to leave, but thought better of it.
Schooled in Army Structure – leadership, drills and marching. Company, Squads, Fireteams. Squad leaders and Fireteam leaders would remain the same, with Platoon Leaders, Company Commander, 1st Sergeant and Platoon Sergeants rotating. Count was important. Every man had to know how many was in the Company, totaling 68.
At some point, while being schooled in US Army Infantry structure and drill, repeating falling in, marching and countless PT sessions, the rain came in. A cold, downpour, which dropped the temperature by what felt around 20 degrees, hit us while being made to stand attention, almost taking away your breath. At that point you couldn’t ground your ruck to get your rain gear, so we were soaked. This is how we started.
When in motion, we were always in the same formation. 1st Platoon in the lead, 1st and 2 nd Squads forming the heads of the 2 columns. 3rd and 4th Squads behind them. 2nd Platoon would then form up after that in the same fashion.
Double time it out of there, and for the next many hours we would see Chattanooga as no one had seen it before – from under a Ruck with 67 other of the best of the F3 nation. Carrying coupons, bear crawls, box jumps, crab walks were the order – for how long or how many, no-one knows. We followed orders. We had to know the count of the PAX and would learn a hard lesson for not knowing it. The wind was relentless,and we continued on.
At some point we had arrived at an open field – more infantry tactics.Two man team work: fireman’s carry, buddy drag, Burpee Broadjump, cover and move, squadron movement, squadron wedge.
Once we left there, more forced march, with bridge PT. Our next mission was to the log extraction point.
We were then told we were off the find the “delicate pieces of equipment we were to retrieve and deliver”. After a while, we came to some docks and would have to do recon to discover where and what they were (we surmised we would find the logs we were expecting). 1st Platoon found theirs – a huge monster of a log, The Beast from the Depths. 2 nd Platoon were able to find 2 logs, that were not quite that noteworthy. After what seemed like many hours the 2 were dumped, not worthy of keeping, just thrown from a bridge into a river, far below. But not “the Beast” – it had a special place to be delivered to. On and on we went, 30 paces, rotating “Team Shorty” with “Team TallBoys”. On and on, unkown distance, unkown time. Go until you get there, the good news being that it would not be a foot further. We were finally able to deliver it to the side of a road to what looked like an abandoned area of town. Someone would be waking up with a monster log in their yard that was delivered overnight!
Picture of the monster from the depths log (extracted from the Tennessee River). The picture does not do justice to sheer monstrosity this was.
From there to a school track – some more teaching and instruction, and then the Army PFT test. Push ups, sit-ups and 2 mile run (there was time for 1.5 mile). Still cold and shivering, the run help helped warm us up a little, but after Rucking for 11 hours, you were not able to muster your best times and counts, but we did it.
Double time it to the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, where we would assembled for the Sunrise Service, and what a Sunrise it was! Dredd talked about the importance of believing in someone greater than ourselves, and how we’re to think of ourselves last. White Shoe gave a powerful testimony and Cadre Flash also had some words of encouragement – powerful stuff. We also completed evaluations of our squad buddies.
Double time it back to the Aquarium.
Once formed up, again, Flash told us we were getting an hour of PT named for what was done in the submarines in WW2 – the short card (look at it here – http://officercandidatesschool.com/blog/2014/08/11/challenge-marsoc-short-long-cards/
). About face, and there Cadre Danny, with some more talk and lessons, and we couldn’t ground our packs fast enough, so repeated it a few times until he was satisfied. Fatigue is no reason not to move or think sharply. We were finally patched.
The graduates of GRT 2505, GrowRuck05 :
The Alpha PAX: