Friday morning – Road Trip.
Eight PAX from Houston (ex-TP, who left earlier on a work trip) started getting jiggy with it at Lep-a-Palooza (Live Music, Free Beer!), departing around 11:45 a.m. for parts known and adventures unknown.
The first stop to relieve bladders and refuel at Bucees proved eventful with Locksmith stocking up on Tecate Light and a Good Samaritan blessing Cruiser, Jackrabbit and others with Michelob Ultra that wouldn’t fit into his overstuffed cooler. The DuggarVahn stalled out on the bridge into Baton Rouge but eventually the well-hydrated PAX arrived and met up with TP for overpriced local cuisine from George’s Under the Bridge.
Friday evening – Baton Rouge, Capital Ruck Tour. Cool and breezy up on the levee.
Cruiser diagnosed fuel problems (along with the general preflight check of the DuggarVahn, earning the additional nickname of Jiffy Lube) so we put some fuel additive in the tank, which reduced the frequency of the stalls, and made our way to the LSU Veterinary School parking lot to await arrival of our fellow PAX from NOLA and NC, plus Frenchy from Tacoma by prepping our rucks, photo ops, relieving our overly hydrated bladders, and jamming to the latest selection from DJ Duggar (greatest hits include I Touch Myself by the Divinyls). Once our fellow brothers arrived, including Dredd and OBT, we all got to know one another before the start of the evening’s ruck, scheduled to begin at 8:30pm.
At around 8:50pm the gathered 21 PAX donned rucksacks and hit the Mississippi River levee walking trail, going downstream for a few miles in search of Cadre Danny and his merry ruckers who began their journey at L’Auberge Casino. We then joined up, turned around, and headed upstream towards the state Capitol building, visible from afar in the night sky.Along the way, Dredd used our time wisely with some hip pocket PT sessions, formation marches, and taught us two sayings:
The sun is the same,
In a relative way.
But you’re older,
Shorter of breath,
And one day closer to death.
She’s full of chalk.
The female of the bovine species is highly prolific,
To the Nth degree.
The above sayings may contain some universal mystical wisdom that is beyond the grasp of YHC’s simple mind; however, the point of Dredd teaching the PAX these sayings was to illustrate the power of the span of control concept, which was to come in handy Saturday night.
The PAX defied temptation and hustled right past the Baton Rouge riverboat casinos and local wildlife to arrive at the State Capitol building. We even picked up an FNG along the way – a high schooler who was impressed by our crew and purpose for the night’s ruck. Rather than have a veteran talk at the Capitol steps, police officers who had rucked with Cadre Danny shared stories of the recent Baton Rouge Police shootings. YHC is unable to convey the raw emotions and power of this testimony; it must suffice to say that there few dry eyes in the assembled crowd of 45 or so. Cadre Danny’s closing message was simple and powerful: Our communities regularly honor veterans who serve us overseas but often we fail to honor the important and dangerous role that police men and women perform to keep us safe here at home – keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
After everyone performed 10 burpees to help Cadre Danny on his goal to collect 1,000,000 burpees, (if memory serves, the participants contributed 450 burpees), the ruckers were patched on the Statehouse steps. If you want to help Cadre Danny get to 1,000,000 burpees see http://capitaltour2017.com/burpees/ and register your burpees.
Once again, Dredd initiated some hip pocket training and started teaching the PAX how to assemble and move in formation, and importantly how each PAX could lead the maneuvers. The point of the training would become very clear in less than 24 hours.
After a few cold beers in the parking lot, the PAX clown carred down to NOLA, with the Houston PAX arriving at the Sheraton Metairie a bit after 2am for some shut eye ahead of Saturday’s events.
Saturday morning – F3 WO and GrowSchool. It was warming up and although a bit muggy, the PAX enjoyed the cool Gulf breezes.
After a few precious hours sleep, 71 PAX assembled at Audubon Park at 8:00am sharp for a Dredd and OBT-led beat down. F3 Houston was joined by our very own The Bishop, who flew in for the morning – strong work, Bish.
Highlights included the Shock and Awe, Dirty McDeuce, Jacob’s Ladder, Poolside, and Turbo from the Northshore leading some crazy pop up push ups where both feet and hands left the ground on the up (or were supposed to). The Houston PAX lost TP to injury near the end of session and Duggar manned up to carry him the last ~200 yards back to the Shovel Flags. One lasting highlight of the weekend: the NOLA PAX have some colorful names, e.g, Landing Strip, Butt Splice, Bag Ass, and Mr. Awesome. Houston, we need to raise our naming game!
The PAX made their way to PJ’s coffee and assembled in the back patio for GrowSchool. Dredd and OBT were joined by GrowRuck 03 coordinators Robber, Bob the Builder (BTB) and Bono (like the U2 singer, not the former mayor of Reno). Key leadership lessons were taught and hopefully absorbed. Below, as best as YHC can recall, are the key bullet points. For more, see the F3 QSource and/or Freed to Lead, and attend a GrowSchool. (Texas Q1 2018)
- Train past gain
- Survival Essentials
- Mission Critical
- Prepare for the expected, be ready for the unexpected
- Command and Control
- When in charge, take charge
- Span of control – can only influence 3 men, do so and send them forth to replicate
- Always be delegating and teaching (Positive Habit Transfer)
- Submission to a Standard through Enforcement and Consequence
- Standard – clear and precise measurement
- Enforcement – an outside force that holds one accountable
- Consequence – own the failure, fail forward
- Get feedback from your men (brief back)
- Low visibility is the time of attack – practice Standing To during times of low visibility
- Hurry, but don’t rush.
- Be ready for a Black Swan
The Houston PAX then loaded up with carbs and fat (pizza), and tried to grab a little shuteye before the main event.
Saturday evening – Custom GoRuck Tough, hot and humid but not as bad as it could’ve been.
City Park in NOLA was bumping. We rallied up with a total of 37 F3 PAX at 17:30 in the Great Lawn and awaited the arrival of Cadre Danny. Without giving away too much of the GrowRuck secret sauce, here are a few highlights (with apologies if YHC’s memory failed):
- Gear inspection
- Assign group leaders
- Practice movements in formation
- Modified AFPT
- Stretch and practice formation
- Find a very big log
- Carry the very big log
- Hide the very big log
- PT down Bourbon Street
- PT at the Super Dome
- Discuss what it means to be American
- Retrieve the very big log
- Carry the very big log back to its home (with musical provided by a local citizen on his way home from the bars)
- Salute Old Glory, get patched, BOM, drink some beers, rinse off the creosote, and eat some beignets.
Throughout the night, group leaders were swapped out, and leadership lessons were reinforced through movements, exercises, and hip pocket sessions.
Special shout outs to:
- NOLA and North Shore PAX who helped organize, especially Local Qs Heisenberg and Turbo.
- GrowRuck leaders from NC – Dredd, OBT, Bob the Builder, Bono
- Cadre Danny
- And last but not least, the Shadows (Locksmith, TP, Bogie) who followed the PAX through the night in NOLA deserve a special shout out for keeping the PAX well-supplied – a crucial component in the NOLA heat and humidity.
When it was all said and done, the Houston PAX grabbed some more pizza and beer at the Mellow Mushroom (#tomatopizza), and Locksmith took us home.
The PAX tested themselves this weekend, and men got stronger and wiser.
Looking forward to the next one.