Thursday, August 18, 2016

Go Ruck Light Des Moines 8.13.2016 Class 1264

I first heard of GoRuck about 2 years ago. GoRuck is a gear company founded by Special Forces Soldiers that primarily specializes in guess what? That's right rucksacks. To better promote their product through "good livin" GoRuck "cadre" facilitate a variety of rucking/selection style events around the country. The events are patterned on Special Forces selection and are of varying lengths and time durations. Check out the website at . Anyway ever since I heard about the events I wanted to try one. So finally I signed up for the shorter event the GORUCK Light. It is billed as a 4-5 hour event where you will ruck 7-10 miles. There is a minimum packing list and ruck weight requirement. There is also the requirement to bring a team US Flag with a pole that can support "the weight of freedom" and a team weight. About 2 days before the event our cadre, Cadre Cleve posted a overhead photo of our starting point along with the departure time. Thats it, reminds me of when I went to selection and they would write stuff on the white board with no explanation.

Google maps made it pretty easy for me to identify the start point as the beach at Greys Lake in Des Moines Iowa, and off I went. I arrived about 30 minutes early and saw a few folks that were obviously there for the same purpose. I got dressed, peed about 30 times because I was hydrated,nervous or old. I leave the reason up to you to decide. I grabbed my ruck and the flag that I had brought and went to the formation area. At 1400 15 of us lined up in two ranks and laid out the contents of our ruck for inspection. Cadre Cleve and Cadre Zak inspected us and told us to ditch any watches or phones. They would not be needed. Once we were packed back up two Team Leaders were designated and off we went. I was carrying the flag initially. I forgot to mention that our instructions were to get to a certain way point about 2 miles distant in under 40 minutes. Also in addition to our rucks we had a 120 lb sandbag, an 80 pound sandbag, two 60 pound sandbags and our 15 pound team weight that also needed to accompany us for the entire journey. We also had to stay within one arms length of the person in front of us.

I won't describe every step but suffice to say that many memories were brought back as we constantly rotated through carrying the heavy sandbags in addition to our rucks. I truly felt as if I was back in selection at least for those 5 hours. The crushing weight got heavier and heavier as we marched farther and farther. We eventually incurred the additional task of carrying one of our teammates and their ruck as a "casualty." I could see fatigue starting to make cowards of a few people as they were slower and slower to rotate in. Taking just that few extra seconds of a break. I also saw some studs who stepped up and shouldered more than their fair share. about a third of the way through we stopped for a PT session which culminated in about 100 yards of bear crawls and crab walks. This kicked my butt and it ended up for me being crab ass drags.There was also a brief talk about leadership during this "break."

A little further along the cadre stopped and had us link arms. We all walked about knee deep in a random pond. There they had us do more PT in the water or a "hydrological survey". I actually enjoyed this as the water did wonders to cool me off on a hot day. Little by little we wound our way back to the start point. About a mile out the cadre informed us we had 8 minutes to make the end point. So after pushing along for 4 hours we had to push harder to make the linkup time. At that point I was again carrying the flag and I was running with it like a guidon as my teammates followed close behind carrying the sandbags on their backs.

Once we finished we again lined up in ranks. The cadre handed us our GoRuck patches and we took a team picture. After I got my patch I coined Cadre Zak. All Go Ruck Cadre were in Special Operations as I was. Cadre Zak in his intro talk had said he had spent his career in 10th SFG(A). My old unit. He was shocked. Cadre Cleve looked at me and said "way to be the grey man." This was a compliment as it meant I had not been a spotlight Ranger nor had  I drawn attention to myself by being a slacker. No higher praise for a special operator. After wards Cadre Zak and I exchanged bonafides,war stories and "hey do you know this guy?" until I had to leave.

All in all this was a fun event. I will probably be doing another one in the future. I am looking for competitive events to replace my ultrarunning as it looks like my body won't allow me to do that any longer. But I still have the desire to compete if only against myself. As Cadre Cleve said "Just because it is light doesn't make it easy."

Monday, August 8, 2016

There is a Funeral Today

 There is a funeral today. A funeral that I should be at but can't. A funeral that shouldn't be taking place. My friend Grahm Geigle is being laid to rest. Grahm left us a week ago suddenly. I am not sure why what happened, happened but it was life cut short way too young. Grahm was a Father, Service Connected Disabled Veteran,Volunteer and he was my friend.

I first met Grahm through a veterans service organization called Team RWB. I was one of the founding members of the eastern Iowa chapter and Grahm contacted me after he inquired about joining. We conversed over email and phone and eventually he became a field team leader in his area and our Veterans Outreach Director. We would meet every few months and go for a run and talk about life. Usually we ran along the Mississippi River early in the morning before the sun came up. It showed Grahm's dedication that he would meet me at 0430 in the AM before he had to go work at the Rock Island Arsenal. After Grahm's military service he worked as a civilian on the Arsenal still helping military members.

And that is what embodies Grahm's life. I have not found one person he ever interacted with that has said anything but what a wonderful guy he was. And he was passionate about our nations veterans. Besides Team RWB, Grahm was also involved with Team RubiconWounded Warrior ProjectLive Uncommon and other charitable organizations. Grahm was a force of change in his community and in the veteran's community in eastern Iowa.

I am going to miss my friend. I feel that I should have been there for him and somehow we have failed him. I charge you to get involved in your community. Do it for Grahm, do not let his memory fade away.

Blues Skies my friend see you on the high ground.

Thursday, August 4, 2016


They use the words like a club. "White Privilege", the very mention of the two words negates your opinion. You can't possibly be correct, because you have privileges that you don't even realize you have. If you deny it then you are ignorant or worse a racist. It must be true just look at the definition.

"White privilege is a form of racism that both underlies and is distinct from institutional and overt racism. It underlies them in that both are predicated on preserving the privileges of white people (regardless of whether agents recognize this or not). But it is also distinct in terms of intentionality. It refers to the hegemonic structures, practices, and ideologies that reproduce whites' privileged status. In this scenario, whites do not necessarily intend to hurt people of color, but because they are unaware of their white-skin privilege, and because they accrue social and economic benefits by maintaining the status quo, they inevitably do."

Crom help you if you are a white middle aged male. You are surely the devil in that case. Individuals that fall in this demographic have no valid opinion. This is the state of our society. Where even good people must somehow be evil due to circumstances of their birth. Isn't that what the fuss is about? But its ok if you are evil and white. So evil you don't even realize you are evil. And ignorant because otherwise you would know what is good for you. Although we do not intend to hurt anyone we obviously do because we exist. The so called discriminators have become the discriminatees.

I spent 22 years of my life in service to this country. As the saying goes I wrote a blank check payable up to an including my life. I served with many individuals of all colors and ethnicities. I never had any issues. I wonder when it was I became a racist?

I currently still serve in a public service capacity. I spend my days and nights responding to calls for emergencies. I take care of people. I patch them up and comfort them on what for many of them is the worst day of their life. They call I respond. It doesn't matter what color or ethnicity they are.I wonder when I became a racist?

I patrol the streets in a squad car. I try my best to make the streets safe for citizens.It doesn't matter what color or ethnicity they are. I profile criminal activity not skin color. I wonder when I became a racist?

I have worked hard since I was 14 years old. When I was 14, I had 2 jobs. It has been a rare occasion in my life when I worked less than 2 jobs. Currently I see my family only a few times a week as I work overnights and days to provide for them. I wonder when I started taking opportunity away from others?

I have 4 College degrees. I have 2 Associates, a Bachelors and a Masters. I got them all while going to school nights and weekends at the same time as I was working fulltime and providing for a family. I completed some coursework while in a hostile fire area. I drove 250 miles to turn in my homework over spotty internet in a third world shithole. I wonder when I became ignorant?

It is pretty obvious that my privilege got me where I am. Heck being able to write this blog post shows my privilege, as people of color surely cannot freely express their opinions with out being in fear of retaliation. Some will read this and call me racist, some will say I don't understand the term. Some will claim that all cops are targeting minorities. Some will claim that until wealth and power are redistributed they will not stop protesting. Some will ask if I fear for my safety every time I interact with law enforcement.

I say all those people are self absorbed,self hating assholes. I say those people are dividers that have no intention of working to make things better. I say those people look at everything through the lens of black and white and perpetuate the racism by applying race to every scenario. They want to rebel against "the man". They want to be hip and stylish and condemn police brutality even if they have to manufacture it. I say this because that is my privilege.