Lt. Col. Jered Helwig, 710th Brigade Support Battalion commander, recently gave his company leadership teams a chance to participate in a unique physical training opportunity at Remington Pond.
Capt. Andrew Bigelow, 3rd Brigade Combat Team preventive medicine officer, supported the training.
“The operational environment in Afghanistan demands the utmost physical and mental toughness,” he said. “Physical strength and endurance are essential, and each Soldier should be committed to battle-focused fitness geared towards real-life combat situation, not just the Army Physical Fitness Test.”
At 6:50 a.m., 710th BSB Soldiers received a briefing about the occasion. Teams consisted of two officers / NCOs from A, B, C and Headquarters companies; Helwig and Command Sgt. Maj. Shelton Williamson comprised the last team.
Armed with life vests, paddles, and canoes, teams would complete four cycles for the fastest time possible. Each cycle involved four events: the overhead canoe press, bodyweight squats, canoe paddle and the trunk monkey carry.
To start the cycle, each team would lift the canoe overhead and conduct 25 repetitions of overhead presses, 35 body weight squats, launch the canoe into the water and row out to A Company 1st Sgt. Anthony Kittles, some 400 meters out.
Once teams reached the turnaround point, they canoed back to shore and grounded the vessel for the last event of the cycle: the trunk monkey carry. Each member of the team dragged a five-gallon water jug with a rope attached up the beach. Once the water jug returned to its original destination, the next cycle would begin.
Quickly and efficiently, Capt. Chris Urynowicz and 2nd Lt. Ben Haas from HHC took the lead. While the other teams tried to catch up, HHC managed to hold on through each cycle and came in as the victors with a time of 34 minutes. The team from C Company finished in second place, 55 seconds behind HHC. After a quick after-action review, teams were released and returned to their companies.
“After that experience, I died just a little on the inside,” said 1st Lt. Chris Blaner from A Company, in speaking to participants the next day.
The grueling, yet enjoyable workout may be a sign of things to come for a leader’s future physical training plans.
(Willison serves with C Company, 710th BSB.)