This is the compilation of the thoughts of Bono, Cousteau, and Ma Bell after the completion of our Mog Mile HTL in Charlotte from 10/4 to 10/6/19.
“It’s about the men (and women)next to you”
When deciding to sign up for a HTL, something Completely Stupid And Utterly Pointless, you need a WHY. In the movie, Black Hawk Down, the Delta operator, Hoot, explains his why as, “It’s about the men next to you. And that’s it. That’s all it is.” That’s my why as well. Five of us signed up for the Mog Mile HTL early in the year, one was still recovering from Tiger Woods back surgery and couldn’t commit. Two of the five were not able to make it, so our original team was whittled down in half. So Sean, Ryan, and I represented our brothers from ENC in Greenville NC.
My goal in May was to make sure I was the strongest and fastest I have ever been on Oct 1st. One of the keys was to sign up for the CARC Heavy Drop Training. Bryan Singlyn is certainly a sadist and his program is by far the best thing we did to be prepared to execute when exhausted.
A few weeks before the event we got word that Cadre Belman was the cadre. That was awesome after watching the Frontline report “The Ambush at Mogadishu” and watching him speak about his first hand experience. Then Cadre Cleve was announced and I told Cleve, I think a little pee dribbled out when I read that. So we knew we had to be prepared for #120 and #100 sandbags.
The event was exactly what we expected. I can promise you that everyone of the 15 HTL finishers felt that darkness at some point. Each of us felt the crushing weight of 4-#120 SB and 3-#100 SB on top of all the other weights. Each of us felt what Sweats describes as the “Tough Delusions” of the HTL. That foggy mental state about 0200-0600 as you close in on 48 hrs with no sleep. Each of us felt the pain of the rough concrete as we low crawled through a nasty fountain and the monotony of the deck of death and those brickyard body builders and 8-count man makers. We all felt that suck. And we all continued because of the men and women next to us.
We all pushed on because we had each other. We learned that Jimmyhas a sense of humor once you get past that crusty exterior. We learned that Jenniferwas the smallest in stature and the strongest in heart and we learned to honor the fact that she was gonna carry that #120 sandbag. We learned that Alicia’sexperience proved valuable and Codi’sbrute strength was matched by his willingness to help his brothers and pass out Salt pills like a drug dealer. We learned that the studs from The Fort were just that. Andrew, Jeff, Matt, andPhillipeach were solid and strong. We learned that Aaronfigured out how to count brickyard body builders, after a long dang time, and might need to stick to coffee. Michaelwas one of those solid studs who was willing to take anything on. I spent a lot of time with Greg, and Gabeslinging a #120 sandbag and trying to look cool for Cleves FB live video. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little peace walking along a creek with cool guys. I already knew Shawnwas as strong as an ox and Codi learned he is as thick as one too, but he can ruck with the fastest of them. I also knew that Ryanwas a stud. He came in first for the 12-miler and the PT test but did it quietly. Can’t wait to see what Special Forces unit he joins after Navy Basic Training.
I was most honored to talk to Cleve about Cadre we both respected, watching him act tough with crossed arms, Dark shades, and a low brimed hat, while pushing us just right so we learned how far we could push our limits. That stud has a heart and hearing him explain that he was proud of the weight we slung around all weekend made this HTL feel really legit. Belman is a stud and a great father. He proved himself a long time ago and this weekend was about honoring the men he loved in the Rangers. We worked harder to honor him. He’s a Cadre who knows how to inspire a kid shadow and then his father in the closing hours of a light to “earn it”. The best and most unexpected honor was to talk with Aaron Hand. That dude lived it, in the thick of the convoy battle. His sincerity showed through and provided a level of reality that this event needed.
I worked hard to prepare for this event. My goal was to be strong enough to be a solid teammate. I often have to fight so others don’t look at me as the diabetes boy. I never felt that way this weekend. I proved I could stress my body and didn’t need any mods. I found my focus by learning about my brothers and sisters. “It’s about the men next to you. And that’s it. That’s all it is.”
Ma Bell’s BB
I’m not one for posting a lot of information but as some of you know my brothers and I headed to Charlotte this weekend to take on a GORUCK HTL. A combination of 3 events over a 48 hour period with only minimal time to recover between events. These events covered >55 miles in total. I carried a 40+ ruck and we were loaded down with what seemed like endless weight of sandbags.
The purpose of this post is not in for my behalf but to thank those involved for their contributions to making this weekend successful.
First I want to thank my training partners Griff, Doug, Denton, Tim, Seth and Ryan for pushing me when I didn’t feel like it and sticking together through the early mornings and endless miles. Also my @F3 ENC Crossbones brothers for helping to push all of us and also dealing with some of our unorthodox training practices with only minimal ridicule. Also I want to thank Bryan Singelyn and his Heavy Drop Training program for helping me to be prepared for this event (great program that pushed our training to the next level).
Next I would like to thank my team. They pushed me, supported me, motivated me and sometimes even carried me (literally Codi). Without your strength, teamwork, motivation and selflessness this would not be possible. Jimmie thanks for keeping me out of those dark places with your humor and ability to keep the situation light. However, as a sandbag partner your affinity to the largest sandbag leaves something to be desired (you’re a hoss brother). Jennifer you were a source of endless motivation. You may be small in stature but you have the largest heart and determination. To the remainder of our 15 person team I may not be able to tag all of you but I definitely want to thank each and every one of you for helping me reach this previously perceived as unattainable goal. You all played a vital role in our success.
Cadre’s thank you for the event you put on was very challenging pushed us outside of our comfort zone and helped us push our limits. Cadre Belman for your wealth of information about the Battle of Mogadishu and your personal experience on the deck gave us all a glimpse of what it was like and what our troops had to endure. Cadre Cleve for you pushing us to our limits and punishing our infractions but remaining “very fair”. However, I will say that fountain water did not taste the greatest and I may start a prophylactic course of antibiotics. Semper Fidelis
Aaron Hand thank you for the information you provided on your experience from Mogadishu and your part in the battle. Your perspective from the ground side provided vital information to see the battle as a whole. And also thank you for joining us as a teammate for the last portion of this event.
As for Seth and Ryan, I want to thank you for being beside me through the whole process. The motivation, support and camaraderie has been invaluable and I thank you both.
Finally, the reason for the whole weekend. I want to thank the men of Task Force Ranger. For their courage in a time of great adversity, for their perseverance to stay the course to support the men beside them, for their sacrifice to support the mission of our great nation. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.
In over 49 hours this weekend, I rucked about 55 miles carrying 30+ pounds on my back plus a medley of 80, 100, and 120 lbs sand bags along with countless rounds of PT on about 2 hours of sleep the entire time. My reward was these four 3×5 patches. It was worth every second. The GoRuck Battle of Mogadishu HTL in Charlotte was one of the most challenging things I have ever faced but it has taught me a lot of lessons that I won’t soon forget. First I would like to thank my F3 brothers Seth Brown and Shawn Jeffries for completing this with me and being a source of inspiration and motivation throughout this challenge. And I would also like to thank Cadre Cleve and Cadre Belman who pushed us past our limits physically and mentally. The stories that Cadre Belman and Aaron Hand (both Operation Gothic Serpent veterans) told us were powerful and humbling, thank you for telling us the stories about your friends and experiences during the battle. I am thankful for this experience and for meeting so many tough, kind, motivated, and slightly crazy people who earned their bolts too. Looks like we found the right crowd and in the words of Cadre Cleve, earned every stitch of those patches.