- When: Workout date: 01/27/2018
- QIC: Group PAX
- The PAX:Mrs. Jessica Swendsen (Wife of Eric “Big Wheel” Swendsen, RIP)
On the afternoon and early evening of January 27, 2018, 11 PAX and honorary F3 PAX member Jessica Swendsen came together as a team in the cold, cleansing rain to participate in the Goruck Light Challenge set in Galveston, Texas. Although the Goruck Light is the “shortest” of the Goruck events, it was by no means easy, as the PAX soon learned at the start of the event. YHC served as the imbedded journalist with F3 Team 2546, and reports as follows.
Cold and Rainy, 55-60 degrees, thick fog
[SAMPLE:] YHC is not a professional. F3 workouts are voluntary and FREE – you are here voluntarily #YouAgainstYou. Modify as needed. Notify the Q or rest of Pax of any serious medical conditions #PushYourselfButDontHurtYourself.
Cadre Garrett is a 35-year-old Bostonian with a great spirit, warm smile, and lazer-focused intensity. We learned at the start of Goruck that he signed up with the Army so that he could do his part to respond to 9/11. He went on to receive the Green Beret a few years later, and then completed the Army’s rigorous combat diver certification course, which he described as the toughest qualification in the U.S. military. Thereafter, he served in active combat in multiple theatres around the world for approximately 10 years, primarily based in Okinawa. He later served as a Green Beret instructor at Fort Bragg’s special warfare school. In short, a very intelligent, very professional, and very qualified veteran of our U.S. Armed Forces.
Garrett is very good friends with the founder of Goruck. When he left service, he signed on as one of Goruck’s founding operators, and he assisted with bringing in other retiring operators to Goruck while at the same time writing the SOP for all Goruck courses, including “Goruck Selection” which is the equivalent of Green Beret hell week compressed in 2 days (5% passage rate). We all found him to be very friendly and welcoming. Regardless, he wasted no time in pushing us and shaping us into a solid team.
The PAX first mobilized from Katy, North Houston, the Hogg, and League City, and we all met up at the assigned AO a quaint park just next to the Galveston Pier ) at 1400 for the Goruck event. Upon our arrival, our PAX met with all of the other participants, and our total team of 23 got their gear ready.
At 1400 sharp, Garrett walked up to the team and introduced himself. The entire group then shifted over to a large sloping (and very muddy) green field at the park, and the Group was separated into 4-person teams in a rectangle formation. Garrett then performed an equipment check, and all were required to confirm 1) their weight, 2) water, 3) ID, and 4) $20 bill.
The fun then began with Garrett’s welcome party. The first event was a team relay at the mud field, with all teams competing against each other. The first relay was a bear-crawl through the muddy field approximately 50 feet forward and back. Then that was followed by a crab-walk. The next set was a 2-man wheelbarrow relay. Finally, once these were complete, each team ran to a series of picnic tables and the four team members picked up each table and took it on a tour of the park. Once complete, the “welcome party” ended, and we prepared for the first ruck. In short, the welcome party was like a typical “shock and awe” that one might participate in at an F3 workout (if you have yet to experience a shock and awe, request same from Duggar).
The next evolution was a 3 mile ruck to a local Salvation Army. Prior to the start, Snoop Dog and a Marine were selected to be the team leaders of our Group, and H-Bomb and Lambo were designated as road-crossing Guards. This was a point that Garrett was very hardcore about – road safety. We all then formed a long line of double applesauce, using the Hogg Sack as our main token and with one member holding the American Flag on point. Another note here – some non-F3 members of the Group had difficulty on the Ruck with their packs, and I am proud to report that many F3 PAX took on the extra weight. Good teamwork.
Upon arrival at the Salvation Army, Garrett gave orders to clean the grounds for ½ hour. The team with the most amount of trash would win a “surprise.” YHC’s team quickly assembled a large trashbag full of junk – in the process, YHC accidentally interrupted two individuals in the rear parking lot who appeared to be finalizing the terms of a romantic commercial transaction. Transaction interrupted, YHC and the team collected a full bag of trash – only to find that other teams went beast mode and had uncovered old drilling casing, a large 70 pound tire, and other huge trash accoutrements. At the bottom of the hour, Cruiser’s team was the winner, and for the surprise, Cruiser was allowed by Garrett to lead the entire Group in a full-throttle10 merkin set, packs on.
We then departed the Salvation Army AO with a new present – the 70 pound tire. Boy Scout and Locksmith were appointed as the new team leaders, and we struck off. Again, the F3 PAX stepped up to the plate, providing extra backs for those who had challenges with their packs. A light rain covered us for a portion of this 3.5 mile ruck.
We took 51st all the way to the beach, and then proceeded 1 mile back towards the pier on the wet sand, with the Flag in front. Numerous people honked and waved – they got it. It was thick fog, raining, very cold, and now dark. Regardless, here were a group of people that were having a great time, carrying heavy things, and doing all of the behind the American flag.
At the base of the pier, Garrett lined up the entire Group just above the surf line and we locked arms together with our rucks on. He then told a story. During some of his engagements, he and a team would parachute out of the back of a C-130 about 15 miles offshore, and upon reaching the water they would inflate a boat and proceed toward their mission. Approximately 2 miles offshore, they would ditch the boat, and dive to 20 feet to scuba the rest of the way to the beachhead.
Only then would they truly go to work.
With that image in mind, Garrett sent us all into the 55 degree water for a round of flutter kicks. The Group went on their 6 with their rucks forward, and did flutter kicks while the surf crashed over them. It was truly a ruck baptism, but as cold as the water was, I can only imagine that it was nothing compared to the full underwater ingress/egress Garrett had done with his teams while on active duty. Much respect, Sir.
With our saltwater christening over, we proceeded back to the AO where did one more round of merkins, after which Garrett patched us in to the Goruck community. It was a really special moment, particularly because of the final words of wisdom from Garrett. He noted that “this event is just as important to us [the Goruck Special Forces Cadre] as it is to you.” Simply stated, he went on to explain that many operators have a challenging time readjusting to society after years of combat. Many of them turn inward, which is a quick path to depression. But Goruck helps them greatly- it allows them to reintegrate back into society in a positive way with people who honor their commitment to service. To me, it was another reminder of how much we owe to people like Garrett and all of the men and women of our armed forces who have given so much for us.
Patches applied, Cruiser lead the PAX and a few non-F3 guys in a ball of man. We then did want any sane F3 man would do – we cracked open many beers in the freezing cold, still covered in salt water, rucks and crevices full of sand, and loving every minute of it. Most PAX then moved over to a burger for an extended 2F, and then it was bon voyage for the ride home.
CountORama and NameORama
*F3 Texas GrowRuck*
> Officially in Houston the last weekend in February. Get your hallpasses now and block that entire weekend for all THREE Fs.
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*MDA SCOPE 5K*
> March 24, 2018 – Workout at Hermann Park, then train ride to MDA for 5K. PaceCar will have the Q and will be coordinating F3 team and fund raising to support MDA GI Clinic
*Houston Spartan Sprint*
> March 24th, 2018 – EBERLY RANCH, CHAPPELL HILL TX – More details here.
*Austin Spartan Sprint – All Texas Pax Convergence*
> May 20th, 2018 – REVEILLE PEAK RANCH, BURNET TX – More details here.
For those few of you who have not yet signed on – get onto BAND today, either via smartphone app (links here: apple / android), or via the website. This is our new preferred Comz Channel going forward – download it and join the band called “F3 Houston” to get all the info on F3 Houston. Here is where you can learn who are the upcoming Qs, sign up yourself to be the Q, read our Backblasts for each WO, learn details of our next CSAUPs, and as usual, make fun of the guys in the Pax in general with some good ol’ Mumble Chatter.