THE SCENE: YHC took the reigns for this sim. While there’s never a good time to wake up at 0200, doing it after a dinner party on 4 hours of sleep is an especially bad time. YHC arrived at startex at 0240. O Positive was there waiting. Cars started flowing in a few minutes later. By 0255, we were all mostly assembled at startex and ready to go, although we were missing a couple HCs (they know who they are).
GORUCK events, and especially GrowRuck events, are team-centered, leadership-development events. It’s not about which single PAX is working the hardest; it’s about finishing together and learning something about yourself along the way. YHC’s goal for this sim was to simulate some of that teamwork/leadership dynamic and get some good miles under weight.
73*, gloomy, but lit by a full moon
F3 WELCOME & DISCLAIMER: YHC welcomed the PAX and disclaimed all liability for injury. None of us are professionals. Don’t hurt yourself, but don’t sell yourself short.
Bruce started us off with a gear check. Guys mostly had what they needed, with the exception being extra headlamp batteries (2 infractions). It was great to see that some PAX brought extras of some items to cover. Just as we were finishing up gear check, [Redacted] comes strolling up grumbling about Army terminology. One (1) late PAX resulted in an additional infraction. The penalty was 10 8-count body builders per infraction, paid in full. Bruce then led us through some PT (SSH, IW, man-makers, ruck-to-shoestrings). Next we did a circuit of merkins on one curb, bear crawl to the opposite curb (staying together as a team), merkins, bear crawl back.
The PAX reassembled in two lines. In order to get the full experience (and really for a good gear test), we dipped our lower extremities into Hyde Lake to get our shoes and socks nice and soaked. [Redacted] said he’s never been wet at a GORUCK event, but others present remember the Great Monsoon of GrowRuck 05. At this point, YHC asked the PAX to stow their watches. [Redacted] responded, “Soybean, you’re starting to really chap my [expletive].”
YHC singled-out the PAX who had never completed a GORUCK event and randomly assigned a Team Leader (TL – Orange Julius) and Assistant Team Leader (ATL – Tomb Raider). TL was responsible for navigation, safety, communicating orders, pace, and spacing. ATL was responsible for keeping count of PAX and coupons. Our coupon inventory included: Two (2) 60-lb sandbags, one (1) 80-lb sandbag, one (1) ~35 lb water can (leaky), and one (1) 35-lb kettlebell. The PAX made a quick stop at the cars to retrieve the Med Ruck, then headed off.
Our first objective was to pick-up supplies at Wolf River Greenway (1.25 mi). YHC did not provide a map or directions. TL did not know the way, but eventually found a PAX who knew where we needed to go. From the jump, [Redacted] was seen shaking water out of the jerrycan. When we approached the Wolf River Bridge, PAX were instructed to bear crawl across. PAX carrying coupons had to lunge walk. In an unfortunate lapse in judgment, YHC grabbed the 80-lb sandbag just before the bridge and had to lunge walk that bad boy across. We all suffered. On the other side of the bridge, Bruce was at the front yelling that he didn’t know where to go. At the very last minute, instructions were passed forward on which way to turn at the fork.
We arrived at Wolf River Greenway parking lot several minutes ahead of schedule. PAX took a breather, then YHC instructed TL that there were two railroad ties planted in the area that we needed to pick up and transport. TL grabbed four PAX to retrieve the logs and prepare for departure. Bruce gave us all a quick lesson on handing off sandbags without losing much pace.
YHC also took this opportunity to share my COT content on Candor, which is “graciously telling the hard truth and demanding to hear it from others.” See Q Source here. In the spirit of candor, we took a minute to give TL feedback on his performance. The PAX shared some positives and opportunities. TL took these words to heart, and we prepared for our next movement.
Our next objective was Regel Pharmalab (~3 mi). This ended up being quite the adventure. It’s basically a straight shot down Wolf River Blvd, but it took us most of that distance to figure out how to rotate logs and coupons with some efficiency. We ended up being divided into four, 4-man teams. Two teams on each log, and two teams with the coupons. Then the log and coupon teams swapped out. It was a terrible three miles, and we kept a terrible pace.
We arrived at the empty lot across from Regel, dropped the coupons, and reformed our ranks in the luscious, dewy grass. YHC had tapped Shoestring for a short beatdown here before making the return trip. Shoestring looked over at me and said, “I really don’t want to do what we’re about to do.”
He then instructed us to form two lines, laying on our stomachs, with your feet on the shoulders of the man behind you. We did a number of push-ups in this position on his “up” and “down” commands. This was also terrible. When we were done, [Redacted] stood up and said to the man in front of him, “Your grundle smells like a grundle.”
Next, Shoestring had us low crawl across the field (~80 yards) with all coupons and one of the logs. This is where we discovered that the supple-looking grass was actually evil botanical razors, likely one of Slicnut’s R&D projects to try to keep ruffians from the other side of Kirby from playing on Germantown’s grass. During this exercise, YHC inadvertently grabbed a soft pile of dog poo with my bare hands. Good times.
Our next objective was to ruck back to startex via the greenline (~4.25 miles). We left the dumb logs in the dumb grass because we were going to have to keep a pretty brisk pace. Lots (and I mean lots) of confusion and complaining about the coupon rotations. TL decided to call for rotation every 2 minutes, which was a great call. However, somehow weight wasn’t rotating up and down the line like it should have. [Redacted] shared all of his feelings about it, but failed to inspire any improvement. He did succeed in dumping the rest of the jerrycan water out on the Wolf River bridge.
We made it back to startex at 0700, did a quick count and name-o-rama, and took a pic. Several of us headed to Mothership (Uncle Rico’s VQ) – some drove, some rucked, Nature Boy sprinted with his ruck. The ruck to/from startex was 8.5 miles. Adding the ruck to Mothership ended up around 9.5.
COUNT-OFF & NAME-O-RAMA
17, no FNGs
CIRCLE OF TRUST/BOM:
Candor. Reject subjective feelings. Give and seek honest feedback from your brothers.
The PAX came out strong. I think more than half of our group had never done a GORUCK event, so this was probably the closest they’ve experienced. Ruck workouts during the week are great, but you can’t fake several hours under weight and the toll that takes on your mind and body. It was interesting that even the GRTs among us were complaining about being sore and chafed after the event. I thought I had all that figured out!
T-CLAPS to: Orange Julius for leading the group; Tomb Raider for always trying to take coupons from someone; Rabbit for working through a cramp on the last leg; Giant for rallying on the last leg; Bruce and Shoestring for playing cadre for a minute; and everyone else for coming out to suffer and get stronger together.
1) Be ready to take the reigns if you’re assigned a leadership position. You may have to adapt your standard leadership style based on the needs of the group.
2) Be creative with moving/rotating coupons, and communicate the plan to all PAX. It took us a while to come up with a good rotation plan, and even then it was far from perfect.
3) Be aware of the guy next to you and bear his load. It’s inevitable that someone is going to struggle during GrowRuck – physically and mentally. We’ll need to pick each other up. If a guy is lagging behind in the back, go check on him.