Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Alive Day 2014

Ten years ago today, April 9th, 2004, I led my platoonin an attack across Bridge 3 spanning the Tigris River (See Picture below) in the Iraqi city of Al Kut in order to seize the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) compound that had been seized several day priot by members of the Mahdi Militia. During the assault 10 soldiers, to include myself and 3 attachments were wounded (Read more here).

Bridge 3 East in Al Kut, Iraq

So after 10 years, several triathlons, thousands of meters rowing, a boat load of "Crushit!" Workouts and a billion slam ball throw downs I am still ticking when I run.  

I consider today my “Alive Day” and could think of no better way to celebrate life then to do a workout with a bunch of FIRED UP RWBer's. That is exactly what I did. The workout is below.

Team RWB- West Point at "Alive Day" WOD on April 9th 2014

9 Stations – Each exercise is 9 reps followed by a 50 yard sprint- Do this 4 times per station. The 9 stations are for each of the soldiers that were wounded ( Minus myself. This is about them, not me). The 9 reps is for the date, April 9th. The 4 times per station comes from  April being the 4th  month. The workout will be 20 minutes and 04 seconds for the year 2004.
Example- Box Jumps
9 box Jumps, 50 yard sprint
9 box jumps, 50 yard sprint,
9 box jumps, 50 yard sprint,
9 box jumps 50 yard sprint- move to next station and repeat again

Battle Ropes
Box Jump
Kettle Bell Swings
Leg raises
Slam ball/Steel bell slams
Dead lifts
Air Squats
Weighted carry- Use a weight plate or slamball.

The best part of this workout was the people working out with me. My fellow Team RWBer’s are committed tp enriching the lives of Veterans by connecting them to community through physical and social activity. Taking care of our Veterans once they are home is what is most important.

In combat there is no wording in an Army mission statement that states a leader has to bring all their soldiers back unharmed and alive for a mission to be considered successful.  The nature of our profession is inherently risky and when engaging enemy forces in direct fire combat there is a good chance that a soldier could be wounded or killed. When soldiers ( and all service members) return home they deserve the support of the American people in helping them transition back to life stateside.  

George Washington said “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve...shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.” One way to show appreciation is to join an organization like Team Red, White, and Blue and help Veterans connect to their communities.

Killer Troop 3/2 ACR Leads the Way! Toujours Pret!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

CRUSH IT Workouts- Leadership In Action!!!

"Leaders are responsible for the genuine level of excitement in their organizations."
From the book- The Leadership Challenge

In the Army, Leaders are expected to be a major source of energy. They are expected to fuel the fire that inspires others to take action. At Team RWB-West Point, the fire is burning HOT during the twice-weekly CRUSH IT functional fitness workouts. During the sessions,  a HIGH level of energy is on display as active duty faculty, family members, Veterans, and cadets push both themselves and each other. Physical fitness is an essential part of leader development at West Point (There are countless studies confirming the benefits of exercise on the brain, both in cognitive function and mood). Through physical fitness, individuals learn how to push themselves and overcome challenges. They learn the motivation to finish comes from within, and Army leaders know it is internal motivation that will give them the fire to accomplish challenging missions in complex, dynamic, and dangerous environments.

At the workouts you never know who will show up. The cadets benefit from the interactions with staff and faculty by seeing positive role models out there CRUSHING IT with them. Some of the participants are wounded warriors or are dealing with other physical challenges and set a positive example for others by demonstrating personal courage every time they step out for a workout. The cadets see values they are supposed to live by put into context. Those values become more than something written on a card or a wall, they come alive.

Recently, Brigadier General Trainor, The Dean of Academics here at West Point, showed up to one of the workouts and was out CRUSHING IT with the cadets and other participants. His presence was an inspiration and demonstrated to the cadets what a priority physical fitness is. Leadership In Action!!!

So GET UP in the morning and get active. You never know the people you will meet or stories you will hear from the person on your left and right CRUSHING IT with you.

Leadership Counts!!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Physical Fitness is "Hard Work Work"

Staying physically fit can be hard work., especially in the winter. I know I need a little extra motivation to get out in the cold and CRUSH IT in the snow.

It helps to be part of a workout group, a team that holds me both accountable and motivates me to push myself. I am a Wounded Warrior and not very fast anymore. But it is not about speed, it is about showing up and giving 100%. I do that everyday, and am surrounded by people that do the same.

Physical fitness should be fun and it is important that people do physical activities they enjoy. If running isn’t enjoyable then maybe rowing, cycling, crossfit, or cycling is.  The key is to find an enjoyable activity, and join a group that does it on a regular basis. Team Red, White, and Blue offers a variety of workout options to its members, from cycling to trail running. The great thing about Team RWB is that members always do these activities as a group, enjoying the hard work together. 

One of my favorite Army cadences is “Hard Work”.  I put together a short video that plays to the cadence. 

Stay STRONG in 2014!!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Office Slamball

If you are looking for a way to work in physical fitness at the office, let me make a recommendation. Get a slam ball!!!! Slam balls are perfect for office workouts. They are small, and easily fit under the desk or in a corner.

They come in a variety of weights and sizes. At my office we enjoy the 50 & 60 LB slammers.

Slam balls are a good way to say “Good Morning” to your co-workers.

Slam balls are also great for letting out aggression during the workday since they are virtually unbreakable. Halfway through the morning when you feel like getting physically agressive with  your boss, turn some of that negative energy into positive energy by slamming away.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Starting STRONG IN 2014

On January 10th I rang in the New Year with some of my RWB teammates by doing the “2014 WOD”.  I started off much stronger than I did last year. Last January I was on the couch recovering from surgery to repair a torn ligament in my wrist. It took about 5 months to recover but I eventually got off the couch and became active again.

The WOD was a fun workout conducted and a great way to kick of the New Year. Nothing better than CRUSHING IT with the team in 2 inches of snow and a bunch of FIRED UP RWBer’s. 

 If you are interested in doing the 2014 WOD yourself here it is:

The 2014 WOD-2014 Reps
2 Rounds – 100 Reps per stations
1. Rower- 2:14 row or 100 strokes, whatever comes first

2. Sledge- 100 ( can alternate sides)
3. KB swings-100
4. Situps-100
5. Airsquats-100
6. Rip Trainer-100 (can alternate sides)
7. Leg raises-100
8. Steelbell Slams-100
9. Penguins-100
10. TRX Rows- 100
11.Burpees 7

This year will be the year of monthly fitness challenges for Team CRUSH IT. At the beginning of each month a new challenge will announced. Team members will take the challenge during the first workout of the month, and then again on the last workout of the month. I am confident everyone participating will show improvement. If you are looking for more inspiration to get off the couch and get active, check out the blog Let's Get Fit for Life .

January 10th also marked my 11th year of commissioned service. My OCS class has sacrificed much over the past 11 years. Needless to say, I am glad to be alive and CRUSHING IT! 

Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Another Victory- Completing the Fenway Spartan. AROO!!!

Last weekend I raced in the Fenway Spartan and  won another victory in my continuous fight to CRUSH adversity, and deal with the challenges of being a wounded warrior. Racing with me were my family, and Team Red, White, and Blue.I was wearing the Team RWB Eagle and carrying Old Glory the whole way.

I am from the Boston area originally, so doing this race was a homecoming of sorts. I graduated from Newton North High School and one of my classmates, Tina, was racing as well. This was her first Spartan and she CRUSHED IT. 

Check out her Spartan post here: It was cool knowing another Newton North Tiger was out on the course as well. 

I have successfully completed the Spartan challenge before in Burnette, TX. This race was different from that one since it was in Fenway Park, a baseball stadium and not in the beautiful back country of Texas.  I knew I would not get as muddy as I did in Texas, but knew this would be challenging anyway since in a stadium the only way to run is up.  

Once the race started it proved to be a challenge right away. Event though we were in a stadium we were still crawling under and jumping over obstacles. Old Glory was flying high the whole way,and as the RWB wave hit the obstacles there was great examples of teamwork helping get the flag over the obstacles.  

When we failed obstacles, the penalty was 30 burpees so there was plenty of company in the burpee area. . If you do not know what a burpee is watch this Spartan video: 
Crossing the finish line with old Glory was truly an AWESOME feeling. 

As I stated in previous posts, I win every time I cross the finish line. For those that don't agree, I invite you to race with me, or another wounded warrior/Veteran, and find out what is like to be in our shoes, CRUSHING adversity daily. 

I am not racing in another Spartan for a while, but I am looking forward to watching the Spartan Championships on December 7th. Click here for the event page on Facebook


Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day 2013:Connecting Veterans and Community Members

Over the past few days I have participated in several Veterans Day events. I spoke at a Veterans Recognition event and participated in two WOD for Warriors workouts.

Speaking at the Veterans Recognition ceremony.

WOD for Warriors

For Veterans Day, I spent the morning with some fellow Team RWB members running a fitness session for the employees of PepsiCo in Somers, NY.  

 All these events were about connecting Veterans and community members, which was the subject of my remarks (posted below) at the Veterans Recognition ceremony.

A lot has been said about the divide between the military and the civilian population we protect. This can easily be bridged when community members get involved. When Veterans leave the service, approximately 60% end up in a community different from where they entered the service, and some, but not all Veterans struggle to readjust to civilian life. The mutual trust and interdependence experienced can be difficult to find once they transition.

I subscribe to the notion that if Veterans and community members take part in a shared experience the value of this interaction will benefit both the veteran and the community member. There are numerous organizations supporting Veterans and giving community members a way to get involved. In my off-duty time, I work for one of them, Team Red, White, and Blue (

Physical fitness and sports are proven ways to bring people together and set the conditions to build meaningful relationships. In our case, they provide Veterans with renewed camaraderie, a sense of purpose, and shared accomplishment. In addition to being an excellent way to connect on a social level, physical activity is proven to be therapeutic and healthy for both the body and mind. By inspiring Veterans and members of their community to become physically active, we create frequent opportunities to establish authentic connections. By increasing the number and quality of personal interactions, Veterans become integrated into their new community, lead richer lives, and improve their overall chances for success in their post-military lives.

For the community member they are more in touch with the Veteran population and more aware of experiences Veterans have faced in defense of this nation. For example if you were to go run with me, a wounded warrior ( ) , I would share my story with you and you would hear about combat and overcoming adversity. As I shared my stories about combat you would hear about my soldiers and learn about their courage, valor and loyalty.

If you were to get involved and talk to my wife, you would hear about her being by my side when I woke up from surgery holding my hand. You would hear about love and commitment. If you were to get involved with your local chapter of Team Red, White, and Blue you would interact with Veterans, some of whom were wounded in defense of our freedom.  You would see them working together with other community members and learn a lesson about teamwork and resilience.

As you observe Veterans Day this weekend, ask yourself "How will I change the lives of others? " One way is to establish a connection with Americas Veterans individually or through a shared community experience. They will appreciate it and the value to you will be immeasurable.

Happy Veterans Day!