December 7th, 1941, “A date which will live in infamy”. Those were the words proclaimed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on December 8th, 1941 as he addressed a joint session of Congress. It’s hard to imagine what the nation and the families of those stationed at Pearl Harbor were going through in the days and weeks following the attack.
As we all know, this was a surprise attack and there was no official declaration of war on the U.S. until the following day. That same day, congress quickly approved a declaration of war on Japan. Three days later, Japanese allies Germany and Italy also declared war on the U.S. The U.S. reciprocated and declared war on Germany and Italy and we were officially in World War II.
We are all painfully aware of the atrocities that occurred during WWII and we are all very proud to be part of a country that stood up for what was right, defended ourselves and came out victorious. Personally, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in a war as a soldier or to have one of my boys sent off to fight. Who knows where we would be if there had been a different outcome and the brave men and women that served on our behalf weren’t successful. Gratitude, Remembrance and Honor are about all we are able to offer and it was very humbling to do so with the F3 Brotherhood.
Nino, Kilo, Diablo and I discussed a vision for the future state of F3 to be where it is difficult to tell where the 1st F ends and the 3rd F begins. Nowhere is that manifested more than in the monthly ruck events. I sent Kilo a text after Saturday’s Ruck saying that events like that make me, “freaking high on life”. It’s hard to explain to those on the outside exactly what it is that makes our group so special but it’s easily understood by those that are part of it.
This was the first ruck event I had been involved in planning and to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect. I will tell you that it was a great experience to partner with McAfee on this event. He and I have sharpened each other over the last couple of years and it was nice to team up and combine our efforts for group. I will also tell you that it was a learning experience researching Pearl Harbor, mapping out the course, etc. If you get a chance to lead a ruck or any type of event I highly suggest taking a stab at it.
I was surprised that we actually had 18 HC’s the night before. To me, that meant there was a chance we might get 25!! I went to bed Friday night at 7:45 to make sure I was ready. I woke up at 3:00a.m. got ready and headed to Vets to meet Viking and Meter Maid and what I thought would be a few others. To my astonishment, the parking lot at Vets was off the hook! I knew then it was going to be one for the ages.
We came pulling up to The O and the energy and mumblechatter were buzzing. We proceeded to the tennis courts to get a headcount, do a disclaimer and start the show. I started off with some facts and figures about Pearl Harbor and informed the PAX what would lie ahead. We then started the welcome party:
188 SSH IC to honor the 188 aircraft that were destroyed in the attack. (Props to McAfee for leading this count……wow)
Following the SSH, we broke off into two platoons: USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma – the two battleships destroyed during the attack. USS Oklahoma(led by McAfee) started out of the tennis courts to retrieve the team weights and start on the 1st movement. Shortly after they were underway, USS Arizona followed suit and we were off. The 1st movement was a 2.5 mile heavy ruck to Brown Park. In tow, we had two logs for each group and as many sandbags as we could gather:
We started out strong with the main focus on keeping the PAX together in tight formation and moving at a good clip. We rucked down the walking track to Willis, took Willis to Shelbyville and Shelbyville to Hubbards. We proceeded down Hubbards until we arrived at Brown Park. That’s when the fun began:
2403 Man Makers to honor the 2403 soldiers that were killed in the attack.
We divided 2403 by the number of PAX and broke the set into an EMOM(every minute on the minute). – Huggies and Hot Wheels missed out on all the fun as they had a secret mission to head back to the O to retrieve the Vodka and Bloody Mary for the after party. They caught back up in time to join us for the next movement: a 2.5 mile timed movement from Brown Park to Des Pres Park.
There were a lot of great moments on Saturday but, in my opinion, this was the most impressive. The challenge was to move all the weight 2.5 miles in 40 minutes or less or we carry the weight all the way to Vets. (OJ may or may not have said that time was generous – he also averages 9 minute ruck miles) A year ago, I honestly don’t think we would’ve made that cut. Fast forward a year and we knock that bad boy out in 35 minutes which is a 14 minute mile average for 37 PAX! Another example of how we have all sharpened each other over the last 12 months. An excellent job by all!
At Des Pres, we hit another set of PT. The PAX broke into two groups and each completed 1187 Merkins(Ruck-On) per group to honor the 1187 wounded in the attack. This was a Dora-like set with half of each group bear crawling 40 yds out and back while the other started in on the Merkins. We rinsed and repeated with lunges.
Once this was complete, Duckling loaded all the weight in his car that he had stashed there earlier that morning and the PAX began the final 5 mile trek to Vets. Coming off a big accomplishment and knowing that we were headed down the home stretch with a glorious sunrise ahead made for a buzz of energy and 2nd F amongst the group. Again, it’s hard to say which part was best, but this leg will stick in my memory for a long time. I heard nothing but encouragement for fellow PAX, laughing and good old 2nd F the whole way back. This is the glue that makes us special and it was at its peak that whole leg.
We were approaching Vets around 7:48 a.m. when McAfee and I asked the PAX to finish the rest of the ruck with 7 minutes of silence. 7:48a.m. is when the attack commenced with the first Japanese bombers flying over Pearl Harbor at 7:55a.m. Amazingly, and likely an act of a higher power, we arrived at the Vets Memorial at exactly 7:55a.m. We circled the PAX and took a moment of silence to remember the fallen heroes and that fateful day.
Following the silence, we had a special closing from true HIM and ultra-talented, Whitney. A touching rendition of America the Beautiful with a slight change in the lyrics to include “F3 Brotherhood”. Kilo said after the event that Whitney is a national F3 treasure and he was spot on. We are lucky to have him and he adds a component to our group that is irreplaceable.
If Whitney’s rendition of America The Beautiful wasn’t enough, we ended with a tremendous display of 2nd F and friendship as Tool Time and Snowman presented McAfee with a BADASS baby stroller for the pending arrival of Vinatieri in February. This was a group gift but Tool Time and Snowman lead the charge. They even involved McAfee’s M to make sure there were no hiccups. True HIM’s and true friends. Excellent work you two. That was awesome to see!
In closing, the day couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. Hell, I’m still on a high just writing and thinking about it. It was a pleasure to be out there with each and every one of you. McAfee and I would like to thank all of you for making the December Ruck one to remember. Until next time, F3 Brotherhood.
-Catfish and McAfee