F3Louisville Custom GORUCK tough #CorpsOfDiscovery

From the events inception in March 2019, I knew F3Louisville in combination with GORUCK would deliver a CSAUP experience like never before.  I knew if this was done correctly, it had the opportunity to change the direction of our rucking/CSAUP for a long time.  The opportunity to help plan, develop, market, and execute this event is something I’ll never fully be able to put a value on.  Thank you F3 for providing a freed to lead blank canvas, a training ground for leadership that is simply unmatched.

Early on I recruited Huggies to help with the financials of collecting money and paying it out.  A huge responsibility as we collected $3,500 from registrations and that money needed to be managed and distributed in a timely manner.  Huggies killed it (as usual).

My next job was to recruit help with planning the actual ruck itself.  From evolutions, to route and weight.  Skid was the perfect choice in my mind, being the senior GRT in our PAX also having done several events with our Cadre.  He knew what to expect.  He assisted on several calls with Cadre Stephen, and I was constantly in his ear about all things GORUCK.

Last but certainly not least I needed a couple 100% dedicated shadows.  To help with event set up logistics and safety during the event.  I literally couldn’t have done better than MyBoyBlue and Duckling.  They were extremely instrumental on event day and during the actual event. They spent hours on the phone with me, making sure they knew exactly what to do on game day.  At the last minute I also asked Duckling to be event photographer.  Even though he knew nothing about photography, he spent an hour at the camera store learning how to use the camera.  Thanks to him we have something to look back on and remember the event.

At the last minute we needed a truck to transport supplies from Middletown to Ashland park.  Weedwacker stepped right up and filled a logistics gap that was needed.  Thank you brother!!

There is one person that this event or the idea of it simply wouldn’t be possible.  Winnebago, our F3Nation RuckQ.  This dude walked me through every step with getting this thing set up with GORUCK.  From finding a date to getting a cadre on board.  He was also instrumental in the planning.  I probably called and texted him 100 times over a 3 month period.  He never seemed bothered and was eager to help.  I could thank him 1000 times and it wouldn’t be enough.  He’s a true HIM.

I just mentioned that Winnebago helped me get a GORUCK cadre to sign on for our event.  That was Cadre Stephen (F3 Coulter).  Stephen went out of his way to make sure the event was to our liking, making it truly a custom event.  It was his idea to honor the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Corps of Discovery.  He was probably annoyed at the amount of times I made suggestions or changes to the plan.  But he never let it be known that he was.  The grace and honesty which Stephen carries himself with is something I think we can all learn from.  I think we did.

Without each one of the HIM above, none of this happens.  F3Louisville is a group of leaders, making something like this so much fun to do.

 

PAX

PK, Steemer, ToolTime, Tony Malito, Flounder, Chestnut, Worm, HotWheels, Diablo, Viking, Fanny Pack, G-String, Valdez, Scuba Steve, Jolly Rancher, Pew Pew, Plumb Bob, Catfish, Mr. Kotter, Kzryzewski, McAfee, Nino, Airplane, Huggies, Dynomite, MeterMaid, Rosie, Smock (FNG), Kilo, Duckling (Shadow), My Boy Blue (Shadow), Coulter (Cadre FNG)

29 Total GRTs

2 Shadows

1 Cadre

 

Starting point

 

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Ashland Park Clarksville, IN

 

The pax began to arrive around 8:30 PM, anticipation at an all time high.  The camaraderie was evident from the start.  Cadre Stephen commented to me that this is unlike any event he’s ever been part of.  That it immediately didn’t have a feel of a normal GORUCK type event.  He Knew he wasn’t going to have a problem forming the gourd of 29 into a team.  We were already team, we were more than a team, we were brothers.  He acknowledged this during his first address to the group.

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Scuba in blue hat

Cadre for whatever reason singled out Scuba Steve during roll call.  I think it was because he noticed a bit of nervousness in his voice and a smirk on his expression.  He nominated Scuba as Platoon Leader.  Charging him with the task of choosing 1 assistant Platoon leader, and 3 Team leaders.  Scuba choose Pew Pew as APL.  McAfee, HotWheels, and Worm as team leaders.  The remainder of us were instructed to form into 3 teams of 9, behind the 3 different team leaders.

Cadre called leadership over for first task instructions.

1st Task

There was a cache of items hidden behind a wall at the bottom of the hill near the river.

  • 6 logs
  • 6 five gallon buckets
  • 3 ropes
  • 3 60 lb sandbags
  • 3 Jerry Cans

Each team was instructed to grab; 2 logs, 2 buckets, 1 rope, 1 sandbag, 1 Jerrycan.

Instructions

  • fill the buckets up with water from the river.
  • Use the rope to suspend the buckets from the logs
  • tie the logs together
  • make it to the top of the hill to have your apparatus inspected.
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Correct. Buckets attached and suspended from the middle of two logs

 

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Incorrect.  Logs not tied together. Buckets not suspended from rope.

Teams were frantically rushing into the river to fill buckets.   Quickly realizing this was a difficult task to fill 5 gallon buckets in 6 inches of water.  Some helped other teams out by filling the buckets from other buckets.  Some tied some rope to the bucket and tried to fish it out to deeper water and pull it back in.  This strategy proved to fail, the bucket came back filled with mud rather than water.  Mud is heavy.

Now trying to figure out the best way to suspend the buckets from the logs.  HotWheels team (picture above) was incorrect with their apparatus.  Not connecting the logs together.  However they made it to the top of the hill first and had 2 buckets filled with water.  Worms team copied Wheels and made it to the top second.  Team McAfee, correctly suspended the water from the logs, but used poor knots.  Half way up the hill a bucket slipped from the rope and spilled out completely.

Team McAfee last to the top with the least amount of water and a poor apparatus.  Meant they were the worst of the worst.   Penalty was to barrel roll down the hill, rucks on.  Sprint back to the top.  Dizzy a bit, each team was tasked with correctly configuring their apparatus for the next move.

Movement to GRC house

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2 miles from Ashland Park to George Rogers Clark homestead

Teams were instructed to move with their apparatus, 60 lb sandbag, and 6 gallon Jerry can 2 miles to the George Rogers Clark house.  Navigation Kilo.

The route to the GRC house took us right past our first Lewis and Clark historical site at the Falls of the Ohio.  A statue of Lewis and Clark shaking hands stands at the entrance to the Falls.  This is “Clarks Point”.

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Statue at Falls of the Ohio.  Lewis on Left, Clark on right.

William Clark and Meriwether Lewis left from Clarksville on October 26, 1803 to begin the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase.  The departure site was the home site of George Rogers Clark, older brother of William Clark.  The Clarksville and Louisville areas are where they recruited, enlisted and trained the “Corps of Discovery.”  The departure site is also referred to as “Clarks Point” and “Falls of the Ohio.”  Lewis and Clark returned to Clarksville in November 1806.

The next stop would be a couple miles down the road at the GRC house where water in the buckets was measured to determine a winner between the teams.  Team Worm came out on top with the most weight and green water in their buckets.  It would be nice to point out the the water was in fact green.  The Ohio River algae levels were at an all time high.

GRTs were given a brief 10 minute break and then off for the next movement.

Movement 2 to LMPD river house

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5 mile movement through Clarksville, across Big4 bridge and to LMPD house

 

During this movement we begin to see the weight the PAX is carrying begin to take its tole.  The Jerry cans seem to be the least favorite of the bunch.  Thankfully McAfee and ToolTime had the forethought to bring along some carry straps to make this less of a burden.  Allowing for 2 man carry.

 

APFT test

At the bottom of the Big4 bridge, Cadre Stephen gave us a brief break to talk to us about how Lewis and Clark recruited the men they would enlist in the Corps of Discovery. They choose several of these men right here in Louisville, KY. They went on to hold tryouts, attempting to find the most fit men for the expedition.

Cadre Stephen decided to find out which of us GRTs would have made the cut (Hint, none of us). He administered an Army Physical Fitness Test.

  • 2 minutes max pushups
  • 2 minutes max sit-ups
  • 2 mile run

All this work was to be done with ruck on.

The effort was tremendous, showcasing that brotherhood and never leaving anyone behind. Worm stayed with Mr. Kotter the entire 2 mile run, never leaving his side and pushing him to finish. Kotter crossed the finish line to a loud roar of cheers and high fives. Later in the night Kotter would return the favor. Picking up another GRT when they were feeling low. We had each other’s back all night and it was evident in many ways.

LMPD river house

Prior to the event YHC needed a place to safely leave a stash of sandbags and slosh pipes for the second half of the ruck. Kzryzweski was able to use his connections as an LMPD officer to allow us to stash our pain tools in the river house.

At this point we would ditch the apparatus of the logs and the buckets and pick up more weight. At this point the coupon weight looked like.

  • 3X 100 lb sandbags
  • 6X 60 lb sandbags
  • 4X 40 lb sandbags
  • 3X 6 gallon Jerry cans
  • 3X 5 ft. Slosh pipe
  • 1X 30lb Steel bat
  • 3X shovel flags

Roughly 1,200 lbs of coupons

PAX at LMPD River House

Movement to Locust Grove

At this point leadership was changed and MeterMaid became Platoon leader. Meter Maid moved me to team 1 with Steemer as team lead. This allowed team Steemer to be in front of the group, allowing YHC to navigate River Road. I was the only one who knew where we were headed.

Coupons got heavy, sandbags were being passed, Jerry cans were still the worst. Still team morale was high, a lot of joking and carrying on. Mumble chatter was positive and uplifting. Always was someone willing to take a coupon or switch on and off when needed.

Meter did a great job of making sure everyone was ok and that the group was together.

Upon arrival at Locust Grove, the pax were beginning to feel the miles they were putting in. Cadre Stephen gave the pax a 15 min rest break. Priorities of work included hydration, nutrition, dry feet and clothes. Plumb Bob literally looked like his soul had been taken. Several Pax tended to him, giving him food and caffeine. Encouraging him to drink water and form a positive mindset. Kzryzewski was also feeling the miles from what I noticed. A few words of encouragement were all he needed to jump right back up and put one foot in front of the other. My Boy Blue will tell you this is the first of a couple times Tony Malito died. I felt like in general the mood at Locust Grove was somber. Guys were at a low point here, not knowing where they were headed next, nor what time it was I think were the main reasons. This was the point of the night where it seemed like leaders emerged. I noticed MeterMaid, Smock, Steemer, ToolTime, Valdez to name a few offering encouraging words. The only bad thing was everyone knew we had to pick up all that weight again. Fill your bladders as full as possible with the Jerry can water was a common theme.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark visited Locust Grove together on November 8, 1806 upon returning from their historic expedition to the Pacific.

Locust Grove is the only verified remaining structure west of the Appalachian Mountains known as a stopping point for Lewis and Clark. It was here that people at the Falls would have had perhaps the first opportunity to learn about what remains the greatest exploration venture in our county’s history. George Rogers Clark, older brother to William Clark, spent the last nine years of his life at Locust Grove, from 1809 until his death in 1818.

Return Movement to LMPD river house

The dark point for many was this return movement. I know it felt like it was never going to end. Cadre Stephen also noticed the morale and Mumble chatter was down. We were becoming more and more spread apart as a group. No one wanted the 100 lb. sandbag.

Cadre Stephen called over his Platoon leader (MeterMaid) and issued a challenge to him about a mile away from the River House. His challenge;

Make it back to the RiverHouse in 15 minutes or less or pick up additional coupons (Logs).

15:01 – 20:00 pax picks up 1 log

20:00 + pax picks up 2 logs

At this point the group was probably moving at a pace of 22 minutes per mile. Cadre Stephen thought at best we would make it in 18 minutes, which would have been a strong effort. What happened next is something that we will never forget.

MeterMaid ran up and down the rank yelling at everyone that we were challenged to make it back to the RiverHouse in 15 minutes. Energy boost, a challenge! At first the pace picked up, one by one you heard shouts in the group. Then Huggies grabbed a 100 lb sandbag, ran through everyone screaming “AGHHHHHHHHH. Let’s GOOOOOOO!!” Juggernaut engaged!

This fired everyone up to start running, sandbags were being traded off while ruck shuffling. The 6 was with the pack, and pushing hard as ever. When no one thought they had anything left, they had plenty in the tank. A challenge was made, and the 6 wasn’t about to let their brothers down. Everyone pushed and exhausted everything they had to the finish line at the River House.

Immediately looking to Stephen for the result, he let us know we had made the MILE in 13:51!!!!!!!! Cheers and hugs all around! This was truly the best moment of the night. We overcame fatigue, and a negative mindset to accomplish something together. Something that will be etched in everyone’s memory forever. I wish I could better describe the look on everyone’s face as we made that push. The way we were communicating and encouraging each other. It was incredible!

Movement to Belvedere York Statue

Coming off a high from “The Mile” the pax was ready for the culmination of this thing. They were all certain that this was the last movement. Across the Big4 bridge and to the endex at Ashland Park. Not so fast my friends. Cadre Stephen had another stop in store and another mental hurdle. When you think you’re done, your mind tells your body that your done. Your work capacity decelerates and its very difficult to overcome. This is exactly what happened. During the 2 mile movement from River House to York statue, I’m pretty sure some foul language was hurled at YHC.

Belvedere at York Statue

After arriving at the York statue Stephen elaborated a bit on York. The slave and childhood friend of William Clark was an integral part of the Corps of Discovery. He was also the first African American to vote. His vote was counted equally with the rest of the Corps when the decision was made to return to the Nez Perce and camp for the winter on the journey back from the Pacific Ocean.

Final Movement and sunrise

Morale at an all time high the pax could literally see the endex in sight. However, the walk across the second street bridge seemed like it was never going to end. It was a beautiful painful walk, and the sun was shining bright on the end of our journey.

Endex!

Elation and exhaustion at Endex! Some decided to take a load off and some decided to put on a Viking hat and a white robe. It was really cool to see the look of accomplishment on everyone’s face. Probably the best Name O Rama and COT I’ve been part of.

Some Pax invited their families to endex to celebrate and enjoy breakfast together on a beautiful morning. Everyone enjoyed a beer and or coffee and bagels. Someone in a Viking hat was shotgunning beers (Stud).

I’m really not sure how to put into words my final thoughts on the first ever F3Louisville GORUCK tough class 3232. So I will just use one word.

BROTHERS!!!!

Picture montage

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