You are on page 1of 1149

Copyright 2015 William E.

Morgan
All rights reserved.
Edited by Clare P. Morgan
Cover design by Emz Wright
Illustrations by Rahul Arora
Cover Photo by DVID
Book design by William

Morgan
No part of this book may be
reproduced in any form or by
any electronic or mechanical
means, including information
storage and retrieval systems,
without permission in writing
from the author. The only
exceptions are by a reviewer
(who may quote short
excerpts in a review) and the
official government citations.

Visit our website:


SpecialWarrior.com
Printed in the United States of
America
First Printing: July 2015
Published by William E
Morgan, LLC

The publisher would like to


acknowledge and thank the
Defense Video and Imagery
Distribution System for
providing some of the images
in this book. We would also
like to acknowledge and thank
the USSOCOM Public Affairs
Office for providing access to
information and content that is
found in this book.

Disclaimer
The views expressed in this
book are those of the author
and do not necessarily reflect
the official policy or position
of the Department of the
Navy, Department of the
Army, Department of
Defense, nor the U.S.
Government.

Nothing in the presentation


implies any
Federal/DOD/DON
endorsement.
The information within this
guide represents the views of
the author at the date of
publication. Due to the rapid
increase in knowledge, the
author reserves the right to
update and modernize his
views as science uncovers

more information. While every


attempt has been made to
verify the information, the
author cannot accept
responsibility for inaccuracies
or oversights. Any perceived
disrespect against
organizations or individual
persons is unintentional. The
author makes no guarantee or
warranty pertaining to the
success of the reader using
this material.

The exercises and workouts


presented in this book are
inherently dangerous. These
workouts are intended to be
an example of the type of
exercise routines in which
special operational units may
partake. To anyone not in a
special warfare unit, these are
intended to be read for
entertainment purposes only.

Anyone wishing to partake in


an exercise program should
obtain a detailed examination
by their physician prior to
beginning the exercise
program. Your physician
should approve of any fitness
program before you begin the
program.

Navy SEAL
Endorsement :
"This much needed book on
training for warriors
provides deep insights into
training principles, practical
application via specific
workouts, and examples of
men who embody the ethos
of our profession. There are

two kinds of knowledge:


theoretical/academic and
kinesthetic/experiential. Dr.
William Morgan is rare in
that he possesses both. He
is himself an operator, a
fitness enthusiast and, most
importantly for this book, a
lifelong student of human
health and performance, as
well as a healer.
I do not base this on his
biography alone. It has been

my pleasure to serve with


Dr. Morgan, to train with him
and now to learn from him. I
wish this material was
available when I was 20. It
would have spared me
years of sub-optimal
training and many injuries. I
suggest you take advantage
of the opportunity before
you."
Patrick S. Mahaffey

Class 118,
SEAL Team One

Kindle Preview:
Hero Workouts
Hero Workouts breaks
through the cross-fitness
confusion and noise to help
the reader understand how to
reach elite levels of fitness
without injury. Special
operational forces train to
complete missions, but for a

civilian cross-fitness devotee,


the workout is the mission.
Special operational troops
cannot afford to be injured
because their workout is illcontrived. Likewise, civilians
do not wish to be sidelined
from their pursuits.
This book contains hardcore
functional exercises and
workouts. I have excluded
exercises which have little
real-world applicable function

or merit or are more apt to


cause injury. This book is
intended to provide
instruction in maintaining
combat readiness with
minimal training injuries.
The first portion of this book
is instructional. It provides
the reader with principles for
preventing injury and
maintaining elite levels of
fitness. It also introduces the
reader to some very specific

exercise instruction. This


includes the cross-fitness
exercises with the greatest
training benefit while leaving
out those exercises which
have little applicable benefit
or have a high risk-to-benefit
ratio.
I write this just a day after
visiting a military unit as a
consultant. Of the twenty
troops whom I interviewed,
five had chronic injuries

which occurred during a


cross-fitness workout and
adversely affected their day
to-day activities. How ironic
that these men, in an attempt
to improve their combat
readiness through exercise,
are now less capable than if
they had never attempted a
cross-fitness program.
This book will take the very
real and positive benefits of a
diverse multi-modal fitness

program and temper it with


science that will maximize
benefits while minimizing the
risk of injury.

Special operational frogmen

cannot use the butterfly or


kipping pull-ups taught in
cross-fitness gyms to pull
themselves, their weapons,
and their heavy dive gear
from the sea as they board a
ship. They need the true
strength afforded to them
through the variety of pull-up,
chin-up, rope climbing, and
sled pulling workouts found
in this book.

Designing a program of fitness

to suit the real-world


requirements of a special
operator is difficult. Imagine
the training requirements for
someone who may be
required to compass swim
three miles underwater, climb
up the anchor chain of a ship
with forty kilograms of
equipment, then climb the
ship's bulkheads, jump over
railings, engage in combat
operations, and finally swim

three miles to rendezvous


with a submarine; or on
another mission the operator
may be required to jump
from helicopters into a
fortified compound, sprint,
breach doors, jump over
walls, engage in close combat,
and then carry prisoners,
wounded, or captured
intelligence material for long
distances.

Hero Workouts is dedicated to


those who are willing to go
anywhere and do anything.
They are warrior athletes who
know how to fight when hurt,
but their fitness program
should not cause them harm.

Highlights of this
book:
1. This book clearly defines
the unique fitness needs of
the special warfare
community and how they
diverge from popular crossfitness programs.
2. Hero Workouts clearly
explains the most common

training risks and how to


correct technique to avoid
injury.
3. It contains high impact
images and exercise
instruction.
4. It has several dozen
specific physical training
workouts which are named
after the heroes of the
special warfare
community.

5. After each hero workout,


the reader will be
introduced to the hero
through the official U.S.
Government Medal of
Honor citations and photos.
6. The hero workouts are
named after heroes from
Navy SEALs, Green Berets,
Marine Recon, Air Force
Pararescue, Combat
Controllers, Special Boat
Units, and Army Rangers.

7. It includes background
information about the
Medal of Honor and about
America's elite military
units.

The next few


pages have
examples of the
content found in
this book:
Information about injury
prevention and self-care for

warrior-athletes.

These are samples of the high


quality illustrations and
exercise instruction.

There are chapters dedicated


to helping the reader to
understand the unique needs
of elite and special
operational forces. This book
also provides an introduction
to training requirements of
these units and specific
exercises that will have the
greatest transferable benefit
to these troops.

Proper exercise technique


and injury prevention are also
discussed in detail in this
book. It does not matter how
hard the workouts are if the
troops are incapacitated by
training injuries.
Dozens of detailed high
intensity "Hero" workouts are
dedicated to the real life
heroes of Special Operational
Forces. With each dedicated
Hero workout will be the

official government citation


describing their acts of valor.

Michael Patrick
Murphy
May 7, 1976 June 28, 2005
Branch: U.S. Navy SEAL

Place / Date of Action: Near


Asadabad, Afghanistan, June
28, 2005

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above
and beyond the call of duty as the
leader of a special reconnaissance
element with Naval Special Warfare
Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28
June 2005. While leading a mission
to locate a high-level anti-coalition
militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy
demonstrated extraordinary heroism
in the face of grave danger in the
vicinity of Asadabad, Konar

Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June


2005, operating in an extremely
rugged enemy-controlled area,
Lieutenant Murphys team was
discovered by anti-coalition militia
sympathizers, who revealed their
position to Taliban fighters. As a
result, between 30 and 40 enemy
fighters besieged his four member
team. Demonstrating exceptional
resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly
led his men in engaging the large
enemy force. The ensuing fierce
firefight resulted in numerous enemy
casualties, as well as the wounding
of all four members of the team.
Ignoring his own wounds and

demonstrating exceptional
composure, Lieutenant Murphy
continued to lead and encourage his
men. When the primary
communicator fell mortally wounded,
Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly
attempted to call for assistance for
his beleaguered teammates.
Realizing the impossibility of
communicating in the extreme
terrain, and in the face of almost
certain death, he fought his way into
open terrain to gain a better position
to transmit a call. This deliberate,
heroic act deprived him of cover,
exposing him to direct enemy fire.
Finally achieving contact with his

Headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy


maintained his exposed position
while he provided his location and
requested immediate support for his
team. In his final act of bravery, he
continued to engage the enemy until
he was mortally wounded, gallantly
giving his life for his country and for
the cause of freedom. By his
selfless leadership, courageous
actions, and extraordinary devotion
to duty, Lieutenant Murphy reflected
great credit upon himself and upheld
the highest traditions of the United
States Naval Service.

Table of Contents
Title Page
Preface
Section I: Principles and Background
Chapter One: Elite Fitness
Chapter Two: Who are these guys?
Chapter Three: Special Operational Units
Chapter Four: The Dangers of Extreme Exertion
Chapter Five: Limitations of Matter
Chapter Six: Abdominal Bracing
Chapter Seven: The Problem with Sit-ups
Chapter Eight: Rest and Recovery
Chapter Nine: Shallow Water Blackout
Chapter Ten: Staying Fit While on Deployment
Chapter Eleven: The Exercises
Section II: Hero Workouts
Ola Lee Mize
Humbert R. Versace
Roger Hugh C. Donlon
Charles Quincy Williams
Frank S. Reasoner
Bermard Francis Fisher
Ronald Eric Ray
Jimmie E. Howard

James Elliot Williams


George Kenton Sisler
David George Ouellet
Charles Ernest Hosking, Jr.
Gordon Douglas Yntema
Drew Dennis Dix
Eugene Ashley, Jr.
Terrence C. Graves
Fred William Zabitosky
Ralph H. Johnson
Roy Perez Benavidez
Joe Madison Jackson
John James Kedenburg
William Atkinson Jones, III
Laszlo Rabel
James Phillip Fleming
Robert Lewis Howard
Robert David Law
John L. Levitow
Robert H. Jenkins, Jr.
Joseph Robert Kerrey
William Maud Bryant
Richard A. Anderson
Robert Joseph Pruden
Franklin Douglas Miller

Gary Burnell Beikirch


Gary Lee Littrell
Brian Leroy Buker
Jon Robert Cavaiani
Loren Douglas Hagen
Thomas Rolland Norris
Michael Edwin Thornton
Gary Ivan Gordon
Randall David Shughart
Michael Patrick Murphy
Michael Anthony Monsoor
Robert James Miller
Leroy Arthur Petry
William D. Swenson
More Workouts: Distinguished Service Medals
David F. Cooper
Jarion Halbisengibbs
Mark E. Mitchell
Operation Red Wings
Brendan O'Connor
Stephen Bass
Mark L. Donald
Britt Slabinski
John A. Chapman
Jason Dean Cunningham

Robert Gutierrez, Jr.


Zachary J. Rhyner
Justin Wilson
Bonus Workouts
My Journey
Appendix: The Medal of Honor
Resources

Preface
Hero Workouts is essentially two
books in one. The first section defines
the fitness needs of elite military units
and establishes the principles for safe
and efficient fitness programs. It also
identifies potential points of failure in
fitness programs, specifically
identifying proper exercise form, the
dangers of extreme exertion, proper
rest and recovery, the dangers of
shallow water blackout, and tips for
staying fit while deployed. Section
one also details a catalog of specific
exercises complete with detailed

instruction and illustrations.


Section two of this book is full of
dozens of special operations
workouts. Each workout named for a
particular hero from a special
operational unit. After each workout,
the hero is introduced via his official
Medal of Honor citation. Section two
also contains two bonus chapters:
Distinguished Service Medals and
Bonus Workouts. Some readers will
skip through the background material
and go directly to the meat of the
book, the hero workouts, but I
recommend that all readers review
the dangers of extreme exertion
(chapter four), Rest and Recovery

(chapter eight), and Shallow Water


Blackout (chapter nine). I would ask
the reader to pay particular attention
to the disclaimer found after the title
page.
I hope you enjoy this book, learn
something new, and are inspired by
the stories of our greatest special
operations heroes.
Blessings
William E. Morgan

Section I:
Principles and
Background

Section I of Hero Workouts introduces


the reader to the particular needs of
special operational forces and the
principles needed to maintain fitness
and prevent injuries. Section one
(Chapters one to eleven) also provides
detailed instruction in the exercises
performed in the hero workouts.
Section II is composed of dozens of
workouts deigned for special
operational forces (SOF. Each of the
workouts is named for a particular
SOF Medal of Honor recipient.

Following each of the hero workouts


is the official Medal of Honor citation
for that hero.

Chapter One: Elite


Fitness

Elite Fitness
Special Operations Forces (SOF) and
elite military units have a particular
need for strength and endurance in
their fitness programs. They need to
be adaptive, resilient, and strong, yet
have endurance. They need to be
able to run, climb, fight, swim long
distances, and carry rucksacks while
hiking for days without rest. To
perform well in a broad spectrum of
fitness endeavors, these elite athletes
sacrifice their ability to be great at any
single athletic activity. No athlete can

be a world-class marathoner and be


able to swim 7 miles and, also, be
able to carry an 80 pound rucksack
over 25 miles of rough terrain.
Something has to give. To be worldclass in any event, you need to
specialize. When an athlete diverts his
energy from his specialization, he
gives up the edge required to be
world-class.
Elite troops are generally fit across a
broad spectrum of physical fitness
parameters while not being worldclass in any event. The warrior athlete
cannot have maximum speed,
endurance, and strength. You cannot
have explosive power and endurance.

Some aspects of fitness must be


sacrificed. You can do fairly well in all,
or great in one aspect, but you cannot
be outstanding in all aspects of
fitness.

Differentiation Between Cross-Fitness


Workouts and SOF Workouts
To civilian cross-fitness devotees, the
workout of the day (WOD) is an end in
itself (the workout of the day is the
mission). In contrast, SOF units train
and work out to be able to complete
missions. SOF troops cannot afford to
be sidelined by training injuries when
they are needed to perform during a

mission.
Prospective studies of firefighters and
police officers have shown that those
who were the most fit were injured
the most (McGill). Ironically most of
the injuries occurred not on the job,
but during workouts. While the fittest
police and firemen were injured while
working out, those with marginal
levels of fitness are more reliable at
being able to perform their job. In
training hard to be more effective,
those who trained the hardest were
the least reliable.
To reach an optimal fitness training
effect which is transferable to the

tasks of SOF missions, this book will


provide workouts that are challenging
while minimizing the risk of injury.
Certain exercises need to be
performed while an athlete is fresh.
Exercises like plyometrics, jumping,
and Olympic lifts are exercises that
require explosive power and exacting
technique. Performing these exercises
when fatigued will promote flawed
movement patterns. Injuries occur
when fatigue causes a degradation of
proper form.

Figure 1. Olympic lifts like the


clean and jerk pictured here
require explosive power,

technique, coordination, and


athleticism. Olympic lifters
usually practice these lifts with
one or two repetitions. They
seldom do sets of this
exercise.
You will find that this book will
prescribe explosive lifts early in each
workout and will limit the number of
repetitions. Lifts requiring power and
form will be done while the lifter is
fresh. Training fast twitch muscles as
if they were slow twitch muscles can

lead to degradation of technique and


subsequent injury.

What is Not in this Book


You will not see certain exercises that
are injurious or disrupt normal
functional motor patterns in this
book. These exercises include sit-ups,
flutter-kicks, and Roman chair
extensions. Moreover, you will not
find exercises that use weightlifting
machines, weightlifting belts, or
isolation exercises. Also excluded are
highly technique-dependent exercises
and exercises requiring explosive
power performed late in a workout

when the participant is fatigued. A


great exercise can become a bad
exercise if it is performed in the wrong
sequence or when fatigued.

Figure 2. Explosive lifts and


plyometric training should be
performed early in a workout
after the participant is
warmed up, but before
fatigued. The intent of box
jumps is to develop explosive
power; they should not be
used to produce exhaustion.
These should be done early
during a workout.

What Is in this Book


In this book you will find hard
workouts that are intended to
support normal functional movement
patterns and to enhance the
performance of the warrior-athlete
without causing injury. The timing of
the exercises is important. You will
also notice workouts which have
varying degrees of difficulty. You
cannot do hard workouts every day
without expecting injury or
degradation of fitness. There should
be seasons of hard workouts and
times of more mild workouts. An
athlete cannot continually maintain
high levels of fitness and not expect a

breakdown and/or injury.

You can do Anything, but you cannot


do Everything
In my twenties I was trying to
maintain high levels of fitness in all
areas of fitness: power, endurance,
and speed. I was pursuing a 400 lb.
bench press while trying to break
three hours in a marathon, maintain
the ability to perform 30 pull-ups, and
swim from Alcatraz. That bench press
goal was killing me. I got to 395 lbs.,
but could not quite get that last five
pounds. For months I kept pursuing
this goal through heavy lifting, but my

shoulder started to break down. In my


pursuit for everything, I ended up
compromising all aspects of my goals.
I achieved a 395 lb. bench press, 3
hour marathon, and an unimpressive
time in the swim from Alcatraz to San
Francisco. My fitness tempo was
unsustainable. I needed to back off
and recover in order to prevent bodily
break down and injury.
Principles of Hero Workouts
This book introduces fitness programs
with the purpose of promoting
combat readiness. Here are the
principles on which this book was
written:

1.

Injuries occur when fatigue causes


a degradation of form

2.

Running or lifting while fatigued


will result in injury

3.

Technical lifts and explosive lifts


are performed when the athlete is
fresh

4.

Core exercises should resist


motion not create motion

5.

Peak fitness is fleeting and should


be pursued in periodic phases

6.
7.

Trunk flexion is avoided


Training should transfer to a real
world skill

8.

Every individual has a maximum


capacity for training

9.

Overtraining can lead to injury

10. Sit-ups and crunches are bad for


your back and should be avoided
11. Water workouts should always
have an observant lifeguard and, if
needed, a safety diver
12. Rest days are good
13. Weightlifting and exercise
machines which isolate motion,
impair functional patterns, and
create injuries should be avoided
14. Repetitive underwater breath-

holding drills are dangerous

References
McGill S, Frost D, Lam T, Finlay T,
Darby K, Cannon J. Can fitness and
movement quality prevent back injury
in elite task force police officers? A 5year longitudinal study. Ergonomics.
2015 May 8:1-8.
McGill S, Frost D, Andersen J, Crosby I,
Gardiner D. Movement quality and
links to measures of fitness in
firefighters. Work. 2013;45(3):357-66.

Chapter Two: Who


are These Guys?

Who are These Guys?

Elite and Special Warriors


The United States has the most
capable and diverse special
operations troops in the world. This
has come about through a great effort
and expense by the United States
military. In the post 9-11 world, the
United States military realized that it
could not rely on the overwhelming
might of its conventional military
forces alone to win future conflicts.

Because of this, it went on to develop


a broad field of elite and special
operational units that are highly
trained, well-equipped, and
specialized. Each of these units is
proficient in highly specific tasks such
as combat diving, reconnaissance,
direct action, anti-terrorist/hostage
rescue, sniper operations, airborne
operations, maritime raids,
expeditionary warfare, pilot rescue,
enemy harassment and sabotage, ship
boarding, anti-pirate activities, and
other special warfare specialties.
Western culture is obsessed with the
mystique of secretive and elite
military units. It seems the character

of virtually every leading man in film


and fiction is a special operator of
some sort. Whether he is fighting
Godzilla, aliens, terrorists, a rogue
assassin, or human traffickers, the
main protagonist is frequently a
former special operator.

Figure 1. Marine Corps


Reconnaissance Divers
Hollywood loves to give these
characters superhuman

characteristics. They are all experts in


martial arts, mountain climbing,
marksmanship, and wilderness
survival. They are fluent in several
languages, able to withstand torture,
operate boats, drive motorcycles, and
swim underwater for two minutes on
one breath. These men are tough,
uncompromising, and daunting.
Elite versus Special Warfare Units
Not all elite units are special warfare
units, and not all special warfare units
are elite. A unit may be elite and not
be considered a special operational
unit. Examples of elite servicemen
that are not in special operational

units include Navy deep sea divers,


rescue swimmers, Marine Corps
officers, and Navy submariners. These
units have rigorous training that is
highly selective, but do not perform
special warfare missions. Conversely,
there are some within the special
operational units who are involved in
special operations and are not elite:
psychological warfare personnel,
intelligence officers, boat operators,
and medical support units.
The Marine Corps has been hedging
its bets regarding special warfare. It
has created Marine Special Operations
Command (MARSOC) to work under
the Special Operations Command

(SOCOM) while keeping control of its


other elite units such as Marine
Recon. Marine Recon companies are
hybrid units that have both
conventional and special operational
missions. Marine Recon units report
either to a Force Commander (Force
Recon) or to a Division Commander
(Battalion Recon). These recon units
are not part of SOCOM, but are
considered special operations
capable.

The SAID Principle


In athletics and the physical training
culture, there is a principle known as

the SAID principle. SAID stands for


Specific Adaptation to Imposed
Demands. Essentially this principle
states that you get better at what you
practice often. If you run long
distances, you become better at
running long distances. If you lift
heavy weights, you become better at
lifting heavy weights. There may be a
small amount of cross benefit from
one form of training to another, but
for the most part you must do what
you want to become good at doing. If
you run long distances, it does not
mean you will become better at
running sprints or swimming long
distances or riding a bicycle. Certainly

there may be a general cardiovascular


effect between swimming, running,
and cycling, but it is limited. You can
have incredible endurance or
strength, but not both.
A combination of moderate strength
and endurance is what is needed in
most special warfare units. Special
warfare training usually weeds out the
under-conditioned applicants as well
as those who over-trained in one
aspect of fitness. Applicants who
prepared for selection through a
fitness program based primarily on
lifting heavy weights with the intent
to add muscular bulk were usually
screened out along with the scrawny

endurance athletes who lacked


sufficient upper body strength. What
is typically left is a group of wellrounded athletes who have broadbased strength and endurance. This
leaves versatile operators who are
highly adaptive to the various needs
that will be placed upon them in the
field.
Special units become good at what
they practice. Army Rangers and
Marine Recon units do a great deal of
clandestine patrolling in the
wilderness, going for days with little
food, water, or sleep. They become
very good at this mission. Army
Special Forces units are proficient in

teaching and coordinating allied


troops in special warfare, using highly
developed language skills to
communicate in the native languages
of allies. Navy SEALs are extremely
proficient at underwater compass
swimming for long distances; they are
the best in the business at this task.
Special Amphibious Recon Corpsmen
(SARC) are trained to bring advanced
trauma care to anywhere a special
operation unit can go, whether it is
through submarine insertion,
parachuting, skiing, small boats, or
foot patrolling. Snipers who shoot all
the time become better marksmen.
Specific units are exceptional at their

specific mission. If a unit tried to be


good at everything, it would not be
called Special Forces, but rather
General Forces. One unit cannot
excel at everything; it must specialize.

Conventional Forces and Special


Operational Forces
The military establishment knows
there is a need to keep high quality
troops in conventional units. If all the
top troops were put in special units,
there would be a caste system within
the military. This would rank
conventional troops as second class
soldiers. This is not beneficial to

morale or combat effectiveness.


Conventional troops are experts at
waging conventional warfare; special
operational troops are experts at
waging special warfare. A SEAL team
could not replace an infantry rifle
company in a forward deployed fire
base any more than a Marine rifle
company could insert into a hostile
shore using re-breathers and minisubs. Furthermore, I doubt that a
combat-hardened conventional
infantryman would consider himself
less capable than a Navy SEAL or
Green Beret in a firefight or a fist fight
for that matter.
Conventional unit commanders do

not like to see their best troops apply


for a transfer to special operational
training command, and they usually
try to hold on to these troops for as
long as possible. The unit
commanders will negotiate with these
troops, providing leadership billets,
promotions, and other incentives to
convince them to stay within the
conventional unit. Sometimes these
commanders will even sabotage
efforts of remarkable conventional
troops who intend to leave for a
special unit. Some conventional
troops are unique in their ability to
motivate and inspire others in their
unit, and the conventional forces are

weakened when these troops leave


for the greener pastures of special
operations.
Please do not confuse conventional
forces with weakness. The
conventional forces of our country do
most of the fighting and dying, as well
as receive most of the medals for
valor. The main difference between a
special operations soldier and an
infantry grunt could be that the grunt
lacked color vision, had poor eyesight,
could not pass certain aptitude tests,
or could not clear his ears during dive
training. There are several barriers to
becoming a special operator that
having nothing to do with toughness.

In fact some of the toughest men that


I have ever met were infantrymen.
Certainly every Medal of Honor
recipient that I have ever met was
from conventional forces.

When is Elite too Elite?


There are times when the screening
and selection process for elite units is
too selective. Aggressive screening
processes may screen out those who
could be well-suited for special
operations. The most decorated
soldier from the Second World War,
Audie Murphy, was rejected by the
Marine Corps for being too scrawny.

Later he was accepted by the Army


and ended up being an absolute tiger
in combat.
During the buildup to World War II,
the Japanese created a selection
process for their pilots, particularly
their Navy pilots, which was so
selective and so arduous that very few
men could pass the extremely high
standards. Selection criteria such as
being able to breath-hold underwater
for one and a half minutes or having
the grip strength to hold on to a pullup bar one-handed for ten minutes
may seem very impressive, but these
strengths have little to do with flying
aircraft. The Japanese also required

extensive flying experience prior to


being deemed operational. The result
was a small number of highly elite
fighter pilots that once gone, could
not be replaced. Their standards were
too high, and their two year training
pipeline could not withstand the high
attrition rate of a protracted war. The
Japanese also lost their best pilots by
keeping them forward deployed in
combat rather than rotating them
back to teaching billets. In their
attempt to maintain an extremely
high selection standard, the Japanese
ensured that they could not
successfully train the number of pilots
that they would need to win a

protracted war of attrition. There is a


quality to quantity.
Every elite unit has its own selfappointed badge protectors. Badge
protectors are members of the
selection or training cadre who have
taken it upon themselves to weed out
all who are not worthy to be a (insert
unit here) special operator based
upon their own personal criteria. They
make selection harder than it was
originally intended.
In the days before there was a
standardized selection process for
Marine Recon, every unit had its own
selection process to enter the recon

training pipeline. Some recon units


had extremely rigorous, perhaps
harshly rigorous, selection criteria,
and others did not. When the Marine
Corps standardized the process, it
lowered the standards of the more
select units to level the playing field
of the selection process. As the special
warfare community has matured, it
has realized that its job is to attract,
train, and retain qualified operators,
not to punish and wash out the weak.

Bordering on Punishment
Four decades ago there was less
control and uniformity on the use of

physical training in military units. In


the case of Marine Reconnaissance
units, each unit could create their
own screening and training program.
Some units had sensible training and
others bordered on being punitive.
After one intense day of pool work I
remember our mask appreciation
run. This mask appreciation run was
a run in which every one of the
trainees filled their dive mask with
water and ran five miles. I thought
the mask run was bad enough. Trying
to see through the blurry haze of the
water, while avoiding inhaling water
up my nose was difficult. But when
the runner in front of me ran into a

fire hydrant with his genitals and then


had to keep running or be dropped
from Recon, I knew this was no joke.
Another time during dive training a
prospective Recon Marine passed out
in the pool and stopped breathing.
The instructors dove in, pulled him
out and gave him mouth-to-mouth
resuscitation until he started
breathing on his own. When he
recovered consciousness, they had
him sit on the side of the pool for a
few minutes, then they put him back
into the pool and continued with the
training evolution. Being hardcore is
one thing, but reviving trainees from
the dead and putting them back at it,

is over the top.


Being able to select the men with
whom you would go to war can bring
out a creative brutality in men. Our
unit would literally put dozens of
Marines through the six hours
selection process known as the test
to get one selectee who would then
be eligible to attend training. Over
months we would acquire enough
men to then put through a hellish
Amphibious Reconnaissance Class
followed by the appropriately named
RIP (Recon Indoctrination Program),
jump school, dive school, Recondo
School and for many Sniper School,
Army Ranger School, FBI Anti-Terrorist

training, Pathfinder School, HALO,


combat swimmer school, and other
more secretive schools.
The development of a standardized
selection process was beneficial
overall . While it lowered the
standards for some units, it raised the
standards for others.

Designing Hard Workouts is Easy


Nothing is easier than designing a
hard workout. Add more repetitions,
add more weight, or perform the
workout for time; wear a gas mask,
put on body armor, run in boots,

increase the time and distance of


underwater breath-holdingit takes
little talent to make a butt-kicking
workout. What is hard to create is a
workout that is challenging, safe, and
provides a positive training effect.
Fortunately, todays military employs
a team of healthcare and fitness
experts who design and implement
safe, progressive fitness routines
which provide training benefits to our
elite and special operation forces.

Figure 2. Navy SEALs


submerge in an Arctic river as
part of their training. This is
performed without protective

dive suits.

Figure 3. After being in near

freezing water for five


minutes, Navy SEALs then
must put together a warming
shelter and begin rewarming
before they succumb to
hypothermia. Photo by Erika
Manzano.

Figure 4. A Recon Marine


dives down 15 feet while
holding his breath to
disassemble and reassemble a
machine gun before swimming
to the surface with it.

Figure 5. Verifying that the


machine gun was put together
properly after a breath-hold
dissemble-reassemble drill.
Marine Recon.

Figure 6. Special operational

forces undergo survival


training and escape and
evasion training. They are also
taught how to survive
interrogation and torture in
simulated prisoner of war
training. Photo by Alexandra
Boutte.

Figure 7. Long range ocean


swimming with weapons and
rucksacks are part of Marine
Recon training.

Figure 8. High-Altitude LowOpening parachute insertions


are part of SOF training.
Photo by Stephanie Richards.

Figure 9. Naval Special


Amphibious Reconnaissance
Corpsmen (SARC) practice
medical procedures on each
other as part of their training.
This Recon corpsman is
starting an IV into the jugular
vein of his fellow corpsman.

Figure 10. Army Ranger

training uses many techniques


to develop physical courage,
leadership, and tenacity in its
students. Photo by Jim
Downen.

Figure 11. Navy SEALS arrive


en masse.

Figure 12. Marines and Navy


Corpsmen of Marine Recon
swim for long periods with
their hands and feet bound.

Chapter Three:
Special
Operational
Units

Special
Operational
Units
Navy Recon
Corpsmen (Special
Amphibious Recon

Corpsman)

Overview
Navy Amphibious Reconnaissance
Corpsmen are US Navy Hospital
Corpsmen that provide SOCOM units
with trauma management relating to
diving and parachute missions. Also
known as Special Amphibious
Reconnaissance Corpsmen, or SARCs,
they usually work directly with Marine

Corps Reconnaissance companies.


SARCs provide medical treatment
during special reconnaissance
missions, and they are also used to
augment medical assets throughout
the different SOCOM organizations.
They have been imbedded within
SEAL teams, EOD units, and MARSOC
units.
Background
All SARCs have specialized training in
the field. Not only are they trained in
advanced treatment of trauma, but
they are also trained for amphibious
entry, deep reconnaissance, and
direct action. Usually Marine recon

platoons will use one amphibious


recon corpsman per team with SARCs
acting in different roles in the
platoon. These roles may include
shooter, radio operations, point man,
or team leader. With a high demand
for medical treatment and trauma
care, SARCs are being deployed at a
higher rate within the various special
warfare units. Not only do SARCs
complete an exhaustive pipeline of
Navy and Marine Corps training, they
also complete the entire Army Special
Forces Medic course, making the SARC
training pipeline possibly the longest
in special operations.
Mission

Traditionally SARCs work in hazardous


environments along with other
military personnel. The duty of any
SARC is to perform diagnostic patient
care including, but not limited to,
anesthesia, clinical labs, radiology,
and minor surgeries. These duties are
often completed in hostile territory or
even difficult environments such as
the sky or sea. SARCs must be able to
quickly recognize and treat illnesses
such as decompression sickness
associated with diving.
Selection Process
Hospital Corpsmen between the pay
grades of E-1 and E-6 are eligible to

apply to become a SARC. Applicants


must be male. Sailors training at the
Hospital Corps School are also eligible
to apply. The Special Operations
Corpsman Program, or SOCP, is
designed to prep SARC candidates for
their jobs in the field. Candidates
must have passed their prior three
physical fitness tests and must have
had an ASVAB general technical score
of at least 100.
Organizational Structure
SARCs typically serve with one of the
Marine Corps reconnaissance
companies made up of Marine
divisions and expeditionary forces.

They also may be imbedded within


MARSOC units, Navy SEAL platoons, or
other SOF units.
History
The history of the Recon Marines and
the SARCs that work with them, dates
back to World War II. In 1942 the
Raider Battalion was established. In
1943, the unit was expanded and
renamed the Amphibious Recon
Company. The Recon Company was
again used in the Korean War.
Currently, force reconnaissance is
carried out by the 1st and 2nd
Reconnaissance Battalions. SARCs
work with these teams to provide

medical assistance during missions


when it is necessary.
Fitness Needs
Recon Corpsmen need to match the
fitness needs of Marine Recon,
MARSOC, and Navy SEAL units since
these are the type of units to which
they may be attached. Upper body
strength is required for climbing out
of the water with heavy gear on.
Endurance is also required to
complete long distance ruck marching,
long distance running, and six miles
swimming with battle regalia using
fins. These corpsmen are also
required to carry the additional

weight of their medical kits including


IV bags. They should also be capable
of carrying wounded comrades long
distances over rugged terrain.

MARSOC

Overview

MARSOC (Marine Special Operations


Command) is a subsection of the
United States Special Operations
Command. It has a number of
different capabilities including special
recon, foreign internal defense,
counter-terrorism, information
operations, and direct action.
MARSOC trains marines in order to
help them gain valuable skills for
special operations. These Marines are
then deployed around the world to
support operations critical to United
States policy.
Background
Unlike most Marine-based

organizations which are rooted in


World War II, MARSOC was developed
in 2005. The new organization was
founded by then Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld, USSOCOM
commander General Bryan D. Brown,
and Marine Corps Commandant
General Michael Hagee. It became
active in February of 2006. The
organization represented the first
time that Marine special operations
units became detached from the
MAGTF Marine Corps command
structure and worked directly under
the United States Special Operations
Command or USSOCOM.
Mission

MARSOCs missions have been


multifold since its creation. It
participates in the training of new
special operations Marines as well as
completing direct action, special
recon, and counter-terrorism tasks.
MARSOC consists of a Marine Special
Operations Regiment, a Marine
Special Operations Support Group, a
Marine Special Operations Intelligence
Battalion, and a Marine Special
Operations School.
Selection Process
In addition to traditional Marine
Corps training, MARSOC runs its own
individual school that trainees must

complete. The school, Marine Special


Operations School, where Marines
learn to become a special operator,
teaches skills such as direct action,
special recon, fire support, foreign
internal defense, survival evasion,
infantry weapons and tactics, and
tactical casualty care. The school
typically trains potential MARSOC
operators for about 30 weeks before
they are ready to begin work for the
organization.
Organizational Structure
MARSOC is based out of Camp
Lejeune, North Carolina, and consists
of a Marine Special Operations

Regiment, a Marine Special


Operations Support Group, a Marine
Special Operations Intelligence
Battalion, and a Marine Special
Operations School. There are a total
of 2,500 Marines and sailors under
the command of MARSOC.
History
The Marine Special Operations
Company was deployed to fight
terrorism in December of 2013. The
Company worked in conjunction with
the Marine Expeditionary Unit to
complete missions such as
reconnaissance, direct action, and
other special missions. MARSOC is one

of the newer Marine based


organizations, officially established in
2005 and put into operation in 2006.
Fitness Needs
Like all Marine Units, MARSOC units
do plenty of long distance running
and pull-ups. They are also adept at
long distance ruck marching and land
navigation. Upper body strength
training is also very important to
MARSOC units with functional
strength training being part of their
routine fitness programs.
The direct action component of
MARSOCs mission requires sprinting,
movement and fire, breaching,

climbing, hand-to-hand combat, and


lifting. MARSOC embraces the
concept of cross-fitness.

Marine
Reconnaissance
(Recon)

Overview
There are over 2,000 Recon Marines,
and that number has increased along
with the need for specially trained
Marines ready to fight in the current
tempo of special operations. Marine

Recon works under the Marine AirGround Task Force commander,


providing essential intelligence to the
organization. Marine Reconnaissance
units primarily focus on operating
behind enemy lines, gaining access to
key information. Aircraft, submarines,
and other water-based vessels are
used in order to complete missions.
Background
Marine Recons primary mission is to
collect sensitive information that can
impact strategy during wartime. Tasks
completed by Recon Marines include
amphibious reconnaissance,
surveillance, deep ground

reconnaissance, battle space shaping,


and limited scale raids in support of
other Marine forces. Recon Marines
often work in conjunction with other
Marine forces including the Marine
Expeditionary Force. Recon Marines
usually do their jobs so well that
other Marine forces can quickly and
easily complete their own missions
with limited resistance.
Mission
Marine Reconnaissance units have the
mission to provide the relevant
command posts with sensitive
information collected in the field. This
often takes the form of amphibious

reconnaissance, deep ground


reconnaissance, surveillance, battle
space shaping, and limited scale raids.
Oftentimes Recon Marines are tasked
with finding specific information. They
are known for their independence and
reliability, working quickly to provide
commanders with accurate
information.

Selection Process
Marines and Navy Corpsmen are
evaluated as potential recon
candidates early on, with a screening
board determining whether a
candidate is qualified. The screening

process involves a 48 hour test of


physical endurance and swimming
skills and takes place at either the
MCB Camp Pendleton or MCB Camp
Lejeune. The candidates must
complete tasks such as rifle retrieval
during swimming and combat water
aerobics. Keep in mind that these
men have already completed either
Marine Corps basic training and
infantry school or a three month
special operations corpsmen
preparatory school and a six week
field medical service school for
corpsmen.
Organizational Structure

The Marine Recons organizational


structure has purposely been
confusing and secretive in the past,
with companies reporting to different
commands and changes made
regularly to command structures. At
times the Marine Reconnaissance
structure has been one that is
detachedwith various commanders
reporting to multiple commanders in
Marine divisions, Marine Air-Ground
Task Forces, Command Elements, and
the Marine Expeditionary Force.
Currently there are three different
Marine Recon units that are active.
Additionally, two units are part of the
active reserve portion of the Fleet

Marine Force.
Authors Note: The ever-changing
organizational structure of Marine
Recon from Force Recon, to Battalion
Recon and to Regimental Recon is
confusing, even to those who have
worked in Marine Recon. This has
been cited as an attempt to confuse
the enemy, but in reality it confuses
even those who have vested their
lives to working within the recon
community. The Marine Corps has
trouble deciding what it wants from
Recon and other special operational
forces.
Force Recon Companies do not exist

in the Marine Corps at the time of this


writing. Force Recon Companies are
units which report to Force Marine
Corps commanders, are special
operations capable, and are both
parachute and dive qualified. There
are currently Force Recon Platoons
which are tested with deep recon
patrols. All of their platoon members
are parachute qualified. Their name,
Force Recon Platoon, is a misnomer
since it is not a Marine force asset.
Battalion Recon units report to
division or regimental commanders
and often work more as conventional
reconnaissance units. These units
have combinations of dive and

parachute trained Marines, and are


also special operations capable.
History
Marine Recons history has roots in
World War II, as do many Marinebased organizations. Recon Marines
officially began their mission in 1942,
and their manpower was expanded to
nearly 100 by 1943. The Amphibious
Recon Company, as it was then called,
was enlisted to work in the Pacific,
participating in landings in places such
as Tinian Island, Iwo Jima, and
Okinawa. The Recon team was again
called upon in the Korean War and is
currently being used around the world

in different military-based settings.


Fitness Needs
The Marine Corps is a running tribe,
even more so in elite units. All Recon
Marines should be very good runners.
The Marine Corps is really big on pullups. Most Recon Marines are able to
perform 20 or more pull-ups.
Reconnaissance missions require long
distance foot patrolling with heavy
ruck sacks, long distance swimming for
beach reconnaissance, ocean
parachute operations, or insertion via
submarine. Upper body strength is
also required for mountaineering and
hand-to-hand combat.

It should be noted that while upper


body strength is required, Recon
Marines are endurance athletes, not
power lifters.

Army Special
Forces

Overview
The US Army Special Forces, better
known as the Green Berets, is an elite

force that participates in a number of


special operations missions. The
central mission to the Green Berets
include unconventional warfare,
special reconnaissance, direct action,
foreign internal defense, and counterterrorism. The Green Berets also
perform a multitude of other tasks
such as search and rescue and
counter-narcotics operations. Because
the Green Berets regularly work with
allied foreign troops, having foreign
language and cultural skills is often
necessary.
Background
The Green Berets often report to

USSOCOM or other geographic combat


command posts when on the ground
in a foreign country. Green Berets
often perform secret missions,
sometimes in conjunction with the
CIA. The CIAs Special Activities
Division and its Special Operations
Group often recruit new members
from the Green Berets.
Mission
The mission of the Green Berets is to
operate as a guerrilla force in a nation
currently being occupied. Because of
this, members need to be trained in
unconventional warfare tactics. The
Green Berets often train insurgency

forces in other nations. Due to the


Green Berets work with foreign
military forces, most learn a foreign
language and cultural skills. Other
missions carried out by Green Berets
include counter narcotics and special
reconnaissance.
Selection Process
Army Special Forces has the longest
selection process of any of the special
operational forces. Just to be allowed
to enter Special Forces training, there
is a highly competitive screening
process. After completing Advanced
Individualized Training and US
Airborne School, soldiers become

eligible for Special Forces training.


Special Forces Assessment and
Selection process and Qualification
Course lasts three hellish weeks. The
few who pass selection must go
through specialized training. After
passing selection the soldier goes
through years of rigorous training.
Altogether, the process can last up to
2 1/2 years.
Organizational Structure
The Army Special Forces Command in
Fort Bragg heads all Special Forces.
The 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 19th, and
20th Special Forces Groups are under
Fort Bragg command. Each group has

3-4 battalions, along with a group


support battalion and a chemical
recon detachment.
History
The US Special Forces have their
origins in World War II. Special Forces
have been used in special missions in
foreign countries such as the
Philippines, Korea, Vietnam,
Colombia, Panama, and Afghanistan.
The US Special Forces were officially
formed in 1952 under the US Army
Psychological Warfare Division. New
recruits were then trained at the
Psychological Warfare School, which is
now known as the John F. Kennedy

Special Warfare Center and School.


Fitness Needs
U.S. Army Special Forces have a
diverse mission. They have different
teams which perform direct actions. A
Special Forces dive team will need to
have upper body strength for climbing
onto ships, oil derricks, piers, and
other structures while wearing heavy
dive gear. They also need to be able
to swim three miles to a target and
three miles back while wearing fins.
All Special Forces operators must be
able to travel long distances on foot
while carrying heavy rucksacks. Since
they are often training foreign

indigenous allies in guerrilla warfare,


Green Berets need to possess
inspirational levels of fitness and
strength. Special Forces troops need
upper body strength for hand-to-hand
combat training and combat.
There is a mysterious group in the
Special Forces community that falls
outside of the official command
structure. I will simply call them the
goon squad. I dont know exactly
what they do, but they are
extraordinarily big, muscular, strong,
and mean looking. Their workouts are
probably geared more toward power
than endurance.

Army Rangers

Overview
The US Army Rangers work in small

groups carrying out special operations


for the US Army. US Army Rangers
operate in a number of different
roles, including air assaults, direct
action, raids, airfield seizure, recovery
of equipment and personnel, and the
support of general purpose forces. US
Army Rangers are well known for
providing support to other military
forces during missions. This role as a
backup force is something that the US
Army Rangers have done throughout
their history, dating back as far as the
Revolutionary War and the War of
1812.
Background

Todays US Army Rangers consist of


the 75th Ranger Regiment which is a
light infantry combat formation under
the command of the USASOC. There
are currently six battalions of Rangers,
and they have served in modern wars
such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam,
and Korea.
Mission
Army Rangers mission is to engage in
direct action and close combat with
the enemy. Close combat missions are
often quite hazardous, with Rangers
completing direct fire battles, raids,
the recovery of special equipment and
personnel, and more. The motto of

the Army Rangers is Rangers Lead the


Way, and Rangers often deploy to
their destination with only 18 hours
notice. Todays Army Rangers conduct
special operations and missions in
support of other US military arms.
Selection Process
After a solider has completed Basic
Training, Advanced Individual
Training, and Airborne School, he may
choose to start the Ranger
Assessment and Selection Program
(RASP). Since 2010, RASP has been the
selection and training process for new
Army Ranger candidates. Training in
RASP is extremely difficult and

designed to test individuals both


mentally and physically. The program
is eight weeks long, with the first half
of training seeing almost one-third of
candidates drop out.
Organizational Structure
The US Army Rangers consist of the
1st Ranger Battalion, 2nd Ranger
Battalion, 3rd Ranger Battalion, and
the Regimental Special Troops
Battalion. The first three battalions
have about 600 men each and
operate out of a battalion
headquarters with a fire support
team, medical team, communications
team, reconnaissance platoon, and

ranger rifle companies.


History
The history of the US Army Rangers
stretches back to the Revolutionary
War when Major Roberts Rogers
developed the group to focus on
stealth and orderliness. Rogers
created 28 Rules of Ranging of which
19 are still currently used by the US
Army Rangers. The US Army Rangers
also participated in battles with the
British during the War of 1812. More
modern US Army Ranger Battalions
began fighting during World War II
and have fought in most major
American military conflicts since.

Fitness Needs
Army Rangers are known for enduring
hardships in the field. This includes
fast tempo long foot patrols carrying
heavy rucksacks with little or no food
and limited water. Rangers need to
have endurance in ruck marching and
running, and for those in a dive team,
swimming.

Army Delta Force


Overview
The Army Delta Force is officially
known as the 1st Special Forces
Operational Detachment-Delta. The
organization has gone through several
name changes in its existence. It
operates under Joint Special
Operations Command of the US Army,
although it receives administrative
support from the Army Special
Operations Command. The Delta
Force is the US militarys primary

counter-terrorism force, along with


the Navys Naval Special Warfare
Development Group. The Delta Force
works with the CIA on a regular basis
to complete dangerous anti-terror
missions. The CIA also recruits new
members from the Delta Force.
Background
The Delta Force is extremely flexible
and can engage in a number of
different tactical missions such as
hostage rescues and direct action.
However, the primary objective of
most Delta Force missions is to stop
terrorist activity and damage terrorist
groups around the world. The Delta

Force is known for working in


dangerous countries and in hazardous
conditions.
Mission
The mission of the Delta Force is to
work at the behest of US policy and
interests around the world in order to
stop terrorist activity. Delta Force
missions have taken soldiers to places
such as the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan,
Iraq, and Somalia. Often the group
works on secret missions that are
highly important to national security.
Selection Process
The Army Delta Force traditionally

recruits members from different


organizations within the Army, such
as the Army Rangers and various
Special Forces Groups. In order to be
considered for the Army Delta Force, a
candidate must be male, in the Army,
have at least 2.5 years of service left,
and be within the E4-E8 rank.
Candidates must go through an
Operator Training Course which is six
months long. Candidates will learn
skills such as marksmanship,
demolitions, and executive
protection.
Organizational Structure
Most of the information about the

Delta Forces organization is secret


and highly protected. The Delta Force
is comprised of three squadrons, the
A, B, and C Squadron. Each has
between 75 and 85 operators. These
are broken into small groups of 3
troops, 1 sniper/recon troop and two
direct action troops. Delta Force
operates under the Joint Special
Operations Command.

History
The Delta Force was established after
terrorism entered the US public
consciousness with a number of
attacks in the 1970s. The goal was to

create a military unit that focused fulltime on anti-terrorism. Delta Force


was first thrust into action with
Operation Eagle Clawthe mission to
reclaim American hostages during the
Iran hostage crisis. After the hostage
crisis ended unresolved, the US
military decided to add more counterterrorism organizations for further
support. This led to the creation of
SEAL Team Six and the 160th Special
Operations Aviation Regiment.
Fitness Needs
Ironically, to enter Delta Force
requires a selection process that is
incongruent with its primary mission.

Along with many other screening


processes, candidates for Delta Force
must undergo a several day selection
process known as the Long Walk, in
the SOF community. The Long Walk
consists of progressively longer ruck
marches carrying heavy loads. So the
worlds most elite direct action unit
uses a screening process based on an
extreme test of endurance through
long relatively slow marches.
Their direct action mission does not
require extreme endurance, but
rather quick explosive actions on the
objective such as jumping from a
helicopter, breaching walls and doors,
climbing, sprinting into action,

shooting, and hand-to-hand fighting.


To get into Delta Force requires
extreme mental toughness and lower
body endurance.

Air Force
Pararescue

Overview
The members of the United States Air

Force Pararescue are specialists with a


number of different nicknames. These
Pararescuemen are sometimes called
Pararescue Jumpers or PJs for short.
PJs operate under the United States
Air Force Special Operations
Command as well as Air Combat
Command. These operatives work to
recover personnel and provide
medical treatment both in combat
and humanitarian missions. PJs are
extremely versatile and have been
used in a number of different
environments, including water while
rescuing NASAs astronauts after a
water landing.
Background

PJs are trained by the US Air Force and


primarily work under the Air Force
umbrella. However, PJ teams can be
deployed with other branches of the
military in order to complete missions
as necessary. Although the perception
is that most PJs work on land and air,
Pararescuemen are also trained to
scuba dive, rock climb, and transverse
snowy landscapes. PJs are specially
trained to deal with a number of
different hostile environments and in
a variety of disciplines, including
health, intelligence, special
operations, and emergency response.
Mission

The mission of the US Air Force


Pararescue is to provide emergency
response, recovery, intelligence, and
medical treatment to special
operations on an as-needed basis.
They are primarily used in a combat
search-and-rescue roles.
Selection Process
US Air Force Pararescuemen must pass
stringent requirements. All members
are male and must meet high physical
standards on a variety of tests. After
acceptance into the PJ Candidate
Course, a candidate must finish a
difficult training regiment, beginning
with an eight week Team Training

Phase. Then a 22 week phase follows


in the Special Operations Combat
Medic Course, and finally, a 20 week
phase in the Pararescue Recovery
Specialist Course is completed before
beginning work as a Pararescueman.
Organizational Structure
Pararescuemen operate out of Air
Combat Command Units. Each unit is
comprised of a Wing which is based
out of a particular geographic area.
The 18th Wing is based out of the
Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.
The 106th Rescue Wing is based out
of the Francis S. Gabreski Airport in
New York. Each Wing has a

subordinate Rescue Group with


further subordinate Rescue
Squadrons.
History
As with many other military
organizations, US Air Force
Pararescuemen have roots in World
War II. The military determined there
was a specific need for a highly
trained rescue force. Since then,
rescue teams have been used in
almost every subsequent US military
conflict such as Vietnam, Korea, and
the Gulf War.
Fitness Needs

Pararesuemen need to be able carry


heavy rucksacks for long periods, be
excellent swimmers, and have upper
body strength sufficient for carrying
wounded troops for long distances.

Air Force Special


Operations
Command Combat
Controllers

"First There"

Overview

Air Force Special Operations


Command (AFSOC) Combat
Controllers are trained for
two functions: to operate on
a special operational basis and
as certified FAA air traffic
controllers. AFSOC Combat
Controllers have the difficult
mission of establishing air
safety protocols in a military
environment. They must
deploy into hazardous
environments and then

establish assault zones for US


troops, along with providing
the kind of air support
services needed for aircraft in
the field. These services
include traffic control, fire
support, special recon, and
humanitarian assistance.
Background

AFSOC Combat Controllers


are trained in a number of
different tactics and
operational skills. They must

remain qualified in the latest


developments in air traffic
control. Coordinating attacks
in hostile environments is no
easy task, and it often
requires skills associated with
other military organizations.
Combat Controllers must be
skilled at gathering and
working with intelligence
about enemy positions and
tendencies while conducting
operations for the Air Force.

Mission

AFSOC Combat Controllers


are primarily coordinators.
Their mission is to coordinate
aerial based operations in
order to make them safer for
US troops. Coordination
operations can take on many
forms and might manifest as
conducting air traffic control,
fire support, counterterrorism, foreign internal
defense, special recon,

humanitarian assistance,
command and control, and
even direct action.
Selection Process

In order to become a member


of the AFSOC Combat
Controllers, a trainee must
complete a 35 week program.
The training consists of a
Combat Control Orientation
Course, a Combat Control
Operator Course, training
days at the US Army Airborne

School, US Air Force Basic


Survival School, and the
Combat Control School.
Advanced training on tactics is
taught at the Special Tactics
Advanced Skills Training
program in Florida, with
additional advanced training
taught at the US Army
Military Freefall Parachutist
School and at the US Air Force
Combat Divers School.
Organizational Structure

After completion of AFSOC


Training, graduates are
assigned to a Special Tactics
Squadron under the
command of the Air Force
Special Operations
Command. Active Duty units
include the 24th Special
Operations Wing which
houses four Special Tactics
Groups. Each of these groups
has at least one Special
Tactics Squadron under its

command.
History

Combat Controllers history


began in World War II when
the US military determined
there was a need for a
specialized team who could
organize airborne operations
to make them safer, faster,
and more efficient. At the
time they were called
Pathfinders and worked as
advance teams, placing

beacons and other equipment


to help US planes find their
way in hazardous
environments. In the Korean
War, these teams became
modernized, using more
electronic equipment and
moving to full placement
under the Air Force umbrella.
Combat Controllers have had
a presence in current conflicts
such as the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan.

U.S. Navy SEALs

Overview
SEAL stands for Sea, Air, Land Teams.
Navy SEALs are specially trained to be
able to operate in a variety of

different environments, including the


maritime environments for which the
Navy is known. The Navy SEALs form
half of the Naval Special Warfare
community, while the Naval Special
Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman
form the other half. Both groups are
headed by the Naval Special Warfare
Command. The Naval Special Warfare
Command operates as the naval
portion of the US Special Operations
Command.
Background
SEALs are known to complete difficult
tactical missions protecting US
interests around the globe. Navy

SEALs work with other Department of


Defense assets, foreign military and
civilians, and the CIA. Navy SEALs are
also known to assist allied special
forces in missions, working with
groups such as the British Special Air
Service.
Mission
Navy SEALs are highly trained for a
variety of different areas of combat.
Navy SEAL missions include antiterrorism operations, direct action,
unconventional warfare, special
reconnaissance, information warfare,
counter-drug operations, personnel
recovery, and other tactical missions.

What separates Navy SEALs from


other military forces is that in most
situations the SEALs attack from the
sea and then return to the sea. SEAL
teams usually operate in secret, using
small forces that are difficult to
detect.
Selection Process
Each potential Navy SEAL goes
through a rigorous training process.
This process usually takes about a
year, culminating in the trainee being
awarded Special Warfare Operator
Naval Rating, Navy Enlisted
Classification, or the designation of
Naval Special Warfare Officer. The

training is composed of a multitude of


different courses including Basic
Underwater Demolition school, a SEAL
Qualification Training program, and a
course in parachuting. After
completing the SEAL Qualification
Training, new SEALs undergo an
additional 18 month period of
specialized training before their first
six month deployment.
Organizational Structure
Navy SEALs comprise only a small
percentage of all Navy personnel. Half
of Navy SEAL personnel are based out
of Naval Amphibious Base Coronado,
California, while the other half is

based out of Virginia Beach, Virginia.


The Naval Special Warfare Command
(NSWC) heads the Navy SEALs, SWCC,
and SDV personnel. Its subordinate
commands are NSW Groups 1-4, with
eight Navy SEAL teams. Each SEAL
team is assigned a different
geographic responsibility.
History
The inception of the NAVY SEALs
began in World War II with the
transformation of Naval Combat
Demolition Units into Underwater
Demolition Teams (UDT). The
responsibilities of UDTs expanded
during the Korean War. After the Bay

of Pigs incident, President Kennedy


recognized the need for fast-acting
special operational forces ready to
work under conditions of
unconventional warfare.
Subsequently, he authorized National
Security Action Memorandum 57
which led to each branch of the
military creating a counter-insurgency
force, with Navy UDT personnel
creating the first Sea-Air-Land or SEAL
teams. In January of 1962, the first
SEAL teams were commissioned.
Fitness Needs
Navy SEALs are first and foremost
frogmen. They need to be able to

swim long distances and then climb


out of the water onto ships, oil rigs, or
piers wearing heavy dive gear, carrying
weapons and demolitions and be able
to fight. After that, they must be able
to swim back. Every SEAL operator is
tested periodically on the ability to
perform a swimmer attack against a
ship carrying magnetic mines. Each is
expected to swim six miles while
under full load.
Although SEALs are renowned for
their ability to compass swim
underwater for hours, they also need
upper body strength for climbing and
hand-to-hand combat.

References
This chapter was composed of
excerpts from the companion
book Elite Units of the U.S.
Military: A photographic
primer to special warfare and
elite units of the U.S. military.

To purchase this or any of our


other books got to our book
store at

http://specialwarrior.com/store

Chapter Four: The


Dangers of Extreme
Exertion

The Dangers of
Extreme Exertion
Rhabdomyolysis
Extreme physical exertion can result
in severe illness, permanent
impairment, organ failure, and death.
Exceptional metabolic injuries can
occur in the young and old, as well as
in very fit individuals. While there are
many potential causes of exertional
injury (heart failure, stress fractures,
heat stroke, acute dehydration,

kidney failure, compartment


syndrome, and stroke), this chapter
will focus on a condition known as
rhabdomyolysis or rhabdo as it is
often referred to for short.
Rhabdomyolysis is a condition
characterized by muscle breakdown
which releases the intercellular
components of muscle cells into the
blood stream (where they do not
belong). One of those components,
myoglobin, is particularly damaging to
the kidneys and will result in dark
urine. The kidneys are designed to
filter small substances from the blood
stream. However, the contents of
these damaged muscle cells are

relatively large and will clog the


kidneys which can result in
devastating illness and death. Liver
damage has also been cited as a result
of overexertion.
Sudden increases in physical exercise
can result in the muscle breakdown
that causes rhabdomyolysis. While
swimming, running, calisthenics,
football, soccer, and virtually any kind
of fitness endeavor can cause
rhabdomyolysis, high intensity
workouts that combine weights,
gymnastics, running, and calisthenics
in timed events are particularly risky.
Athletes who may be fit and high

performers in conventional fitness


programs might find that their
particular type of fitness does not
translate to the type of fitness that is
found in special operational workouts
or in cross-fitness centers. Being a
good swimmer, runner, and
weightlifter can give athletes a false
sense of security and tempt them to
jump into an exercise program for
which they are not prepared. No one,
no matter how fit they believe
themselves to be, should radically
change their workout program.
Gradual changes over time will allow
the body to adapt to new stresses.
Maintaining adequate hydration and

resting sufficiently between workouts


are also protective measures that will
help prevent rhabdomyolysis.
Being fit has its own risk factors.
Someone who is competitive and fit
may be inclined to jump into a new
workout program with vigor. To
adapt to the demands of a new
program or training methodology (like
performing workouts for time or as
many repetitions as possible) may
take several weeks or months
depending on your level of fitness.
The danger with those who are fit,
proud, and competitive is that they
will ignore warnings and over-train.
Additionally, those who have a history

of high levels of fitness, but have let


their fitness wane, may attempt to
jump back into a fitness program at
the same level of exertion as they had
once attained.

The Signs and Symptoms of


Rhabdomyolysis
1.

Muscle pain (which may be


severe)

2. Dark urine
3.

Confusion

4.

Fever

5.

Rapid pulse

6.

Nausea

7.

Vomiting

8.

Abdominal pain

9.

Swelling

10. Weakness
11. Loss of consciousness
12. Kidney failure and the inability to
urinate

Steps to Prevent Rhabdomyolysis


1.

Get medical approval before


beginning any exercise program.
Be honest with your physician
when explaining the type of
program you intend to pursue.

2.

Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of


water.

3.

Gradually add high intensity

components to your workouts over


weeks and months.
4.

Rest between high intensity


workouts. Mingle light workouts
and days of total rest between
days with rigorous workouts.

5.

Do not perform high intensity


workouts if you are taking statins,
antipsychotics, or other drugs that
have been linked to causing
rhabdomyolysis.

6.

Receive professional coaching


from a certified health and fitness
expert.

Take Action if Someone has Signs of


Rhabdomyolysis
Anyone showing signs of
rhabdomyolysis needs to hydrate and
get to an emergency room as soon as
possible.

Other Causes of Rhabdomyolysis


1.
2.
3.
4.

The use and abuse of drugs and


alcohol
Crush injuries to muscles
Excessive or prolonged muscle
compression
Seizures

5.

Infections (both viral and


bacterial)

6.

Hyperthermia (high body


temperature)

7.

Muscular dystrophy

8.

Electrical shock

Exertion injuries are real and


dangerous. Sensible and gradual
introduction of progressively higher
levels of fitness are protective, but
there are some people who should
never perform high intensity exercise.
Obtaining a physical examination and
medical approval from a physician is
mandatory before beginning any

exercise program or substantially


changing your exercise program.

Figure 1. This image depicts


the color of urine. Every

athlete should be educated on


observing the color of their
own urine and be able to
detect dehydration and a
possible medical emergency.
Note: Those taking statin drugs
(medications intended to control high
levels of cholesterol in the blood) are
at a much higher risk for developing
rhabdomyolysis.

Stress Fractures
Bones become stronger when loads

are placed upon them, but the


increase in load must be gradual and
implemented over time. A sudden
increase in load, be it from increased
running, marching, loading by
compressive weight, or other physical
stresses can lead to stress fractures
and bony edema (swelling and
inflammation) within the marrow of
the bone.
To reach elite levels of fitness is a
process that is years in the making.
Training (running and marching)
mileage should be increased gradually
over months and years.
Cardiovascular fitness, exertional
stamina, and muscular strength can

increase relatively quickly while bone,


joints, tendons, and ligaments are
slower to strengthen and adapt to an
increase in training loads.

Tendonitis
Tendons, like bones, respond best to
a gradual increase in training load.
Sudden increases in workload can
cause inflammation and pain in the
tendons.

Vertebral Endplate Fractures


The bones of your spine are
susceptible to injury much like stress
fractures. The endplates of the
vertebra may develop microfractures

and result in bony edema within the


vertebra. These end plate fractures
may not be visible on X-rays.

Figure 2. Microfractures of
the vertebral endplates can
occur as a consequence of a

sudden increase in repetitive


compressive forces upon the
spine, a fall, or a sudden or
excessive loading of the spine
with weights.

Figure 3. Endplate fractures


and the resulting bony edema
can lead to a deep bony ache
which may persist for months

after an injury.

Figure 4. Excessive sudden

loads on the spine, like an


inappropriately executed box
squat, can cause an overt
injury to the vertebral
endplate which can be painful
and undetected on X-ray.
Dehydration
Dehydration occurs when the body
lacks sufficient fluid to complete
normal physiologic functions.
Dehydration results from consuming
insufficient water to replace the fluids
excreted. Dehydration can occur with

extreme or prolonged exertion


especially when performed in a warm
environment. Athletes should drink
plenty of water, particularly when
exercising in hot weather.

Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is an extreme heat injury
which can lead to brain injury and
death. It occurs when the bodys core
temperature is elevated. A clinical
diagnosis of heat stroke is made when
the core temperature (rectal
thermometer) measures at least 105
degrees Fahrenheit. Heat stroke
occurs when exercising in hot
weather. One of the warning signs of

heat stroke is the lack of sweating.


The likelihood of having heat stroke is
elevated in persons who are
dehydrated.
The symptoms of heat stroke include:
1.

Headache

2.

Disorientation

3.

Dizziness

4.

Hot, dry, red skin

5.

Nausea and vomiting

6.

Weakness

7.

Rapid shallow breathing

8.

Unconsciousness

Heat stroke is a medical emergency


which requires medical treatment and
cooling of the core temperature.

Conclusion
While moderate exercise has been
shown to have significant health
benefits, extreme exercise has the
potential to cause bodily harm.
Athletes should gradually advance the
tempo, duration, and intensity of
exercise as they advance toward their
performance goals. Overexertion
injuries are real, and every athlete
should be mindful of potential harm.

Chapter Five:
Limitations of Matter

Limitations of Matter
One of the problems I have with
group cross-fitness classes is the onesize-fits-all mentality which permeates
many of these franchised cross-fitness
gyms. Not everyone can perform a
deep squat or an Olympic snatch.
In elite military units those who are
prone to injury are weeded out. By
the time a candidate completes the
selection process and training to be a
Green Beret, SEAL, Ranger, Recon
Marine, SARC (Special Amphibious
Reconnaissance Corpsman),
Pararescue airman, Marine Raider, or

other elite unit, they have been


vetted. They are not fragile.
However, once trained and vetted, we
do not want to risk injuring these
valuable assets.
The time to make SOF troops is before
you need them. In World War II the
United States went to war, trained a
military, and built the most massive
Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air
Force the world had ever seen. This
all took place in a four year period.
This was quite an amazing
accomplishment from our greatest
generation. Could we accomplish that
feat at this point in time? Probably
not.

Today the high tech ships,


submarines, and aircraft take years to
build. Likewise, SOF troops take years
to train and even longer to mature
into seasoned and capable operators.
Since we go to war with the military
we currently have, and cannot readily
replace what we have, in regard to
SOF troops, it is important that we do
not injure these troops with fitness or
training routines.

Olympic Lifting
Successful Olympic weight lifters have
unique body types. Not everyone has
the genetics to be a successful and

safe Olympic weight lifter. The


combination of hip joint, thoracic
spine, foot/ankle, and shoulder
mobility must be coupled with
shoulder stability and power.
Those with shallower hip sockets will
have a greater range of hip motion
and are genetically better suited for
performing Olympic lifts and squatting
motions. Those with deep, more
stable hip joints are no less capable
athletes, but they probably wont be
great Olympic lifters or proficient at
performing deep squats.
Proper technique is imperative while
performing these lifts, and proper

technique requires coaching. While


not everyone has the genetics to
perform the clean and jerk to high
levels of performance, most SOF
athletes should be able to perform
this exercise even if they must modify
their technique.

Figure 1. Olympic weight


lifting has great value in
enhancing athleticism, but not
everyone can safely perform

Olympic lifts.
Squatting
Squatting motions are a key
component of most of the workouts
in this book, but not everyone can or
should perform deep squats. Limited
range of motion of the hips, knees,
and ankles will adversely affect the
ability to squat. Some lost motion
can be restored through stretching,
chiropractic, and physical therapy.
However, some restrictions of joint
motion are anatomical (versus
functional) and cannot be improved.

Deep hip sockets, old hip, knee, or


ankle injuries, or surgeries can impede
joint motion. In regard to ankle
motion, I have found that troops who
wear stiff boots for most of their day
tend to have a functional loss of
dorsiflexion (flexion of the foot
upward). This can be treated through
stretching and chiropractic
manipulation of the foot.
Those who are unable to squat deeply
without their lower back curling into a
flexed position may have limited hip
motion. Some people are not able to
squat down so their thighs are
parallel with the ground. In effect,
attempting to go into a deep squat

would place them at greater risk for


injury.

Figure 2. Squatting motions


are fundamental to most
functional fitness programs.

Figure 3. Properly executed


weighted squats add a

valuable component to most


strength programs.

Figure 4. A properly executed

squat should include (1) an


arch in the lower back, (2)
head up, and (3) heels on the
ground and the shins near to
perpendicular to the ground.
Thoracic Spine Motion
Thoracic spine (the portion of the
spine with ribs attached to it) motion
is required for all end range shoulder
motions. End range shoulder motions
include overhead pressing, clean and
jerk, pull-ups, hand stands, and other
overhead lifts. If the thoracic spine

lacks significant motion, there is a


much greater likelihood of having
shoulder impairment. Shoulder
injuries are particularly prevalent
when performing exercises like
kipping pull-ups and the overhead
snatch. Loss of thoracic motion or a
hunched upper back (increased
kyphosis) can be treated through
manipulation or in some cases by
rolling the thoracic spine over a foam
roller or gymball.

Thoracic Joint Manipulation


Thoracic joint manipulation might be
the simplest answer to reducing pain

in an impinged shoulder. In a 2009


study by Strunce and colleagues, a
thoracic spinal manipulative thrust
was performed on a sample of 56
individuals with symptomatic
shoulders from impingement. After
two days, there was a significant
decrease in pain levels in over 50
percent of individuals.
The cross-fitness emphasis on pull-ups
and overhead lifting may produce a
glut of shoulder injuries from
otherwise dormant thoracic and
shoulder impairments. By recognizing
the functional relationship between
the thoracic spine and the shoulder
joints, we can help athletes remain

active and pain-free as they engage in


their preferred activities.

Figure 5. A normal flexible


spine will allow normal
shoulder motion during
overhead activities (left).
Reduced spinal motion will
impede normal shoulder
motion (center). Forcing the
shoulder overhead, even
though impeded by increased
kyphosis (hunched upper back)
or loss of spinal motion, will
result in shoulder

impingement.

Figure 6. Those lacking


sufficient thoracic spine
motion will have impeded
shoulder function. In addition
to chiropractic manipulations
to the thoracic spine, the use
of a foam roller can enhance
thoracic spine mobility which
in turn will improve shoulder
motion and function. This
schematic shows the effect of
a foam roller in mobilizing the
thoracic spine and opening the

chest wall.
Adapt Exercises to Overcome
Impairment
While permanently impairing deep
hip flexion, anatomical variants such
as deep hip sockets may actually be
beneficial to protecting the hip from
injury. In any case, exercises should
be adapted to individuals. If someone
has an anatomical barrier to
performing a deep squat, then a
shallow squat is preferred. If an
athlete is unable to perform an
exercise without pain, that exercise

should not be implemented. There is


no one-size-fits-all exercise program.
Specific adaptations should be made
for specific individuals.

Exercises That are Difficult to Perform


Safely

Figure 6. The tire flip is an


exercise that virtually no one
can perform safely. To get
down low enough to get your

hands under the tire, most


athletes flex their lower back
into a dangerous posture. By
repeating this deep flexion
under load, there is an
increased likelihood of lower
back disc injury.
While some people cannot perform
certain exercises correctly, there are
other exercises that virtually no one
can do properly. The tire flip is one of
those exercises. To get down low
enough to lift the tire, most athletes

need to flex their lower back into the


deleterious position of spinal flexion.
Repeated flexion under load is a
major cause of lumbar (lower back)
disc injuries. To add insult to injury,
this exercise is usually performed as a
timed event with the participant
racing to complete the task quickly. In
searching the internet for images of
tire flipping, I could not find one
photo of a properly performed lift of
this exercise.

Figure 7. To perform the tire


flip safely would require the
athlete to maintain an arch in
the lower back while bending
deeply with the hips. This type
of proper lifting requires
conscious discipline and

concentration throughout the


exercise. Unfortunately when
racing or performing this
exercise for time, proper
technique almost always
suffers.
I have excluded tire flips, Olympic
snatches, and kipping pull-ups from
the routines in this book. I have also
excluded timed strength events. I
know of one very fit disciplined
Special Forces NCO who permanently
injured his back performing heavy

deadlifts as part of a timed event.


Power and strength need to be
judiciously coupled into
cardiovascular programs of fitness.
If you need additional convincing of
the dangers of ill contrived exercise
programs, I invite you to search
YouTube for these terms: Snatch
fails, So you want to try crossfit? or
Crossfit fails.
The next few images reveal the need
for upper body strength to pull armed
men with heavy gear from the water
onto ships (possibly while moving at
speed) or into helicopters. The
strength gained by performing

controlled pull-ups is much more


transferable to the real world than
kipping pull-ups.

Figure 8. Climbing a rope


ladder from the ocean after an
operation.

Figure 9. Ship boarding.

Figure 10. Ship boarding from


a high speed assault craft.

Squat Assessment References


Myer, Gregory D., Kushner, Adam M.,
Brent, Jensen L., Schoenfeld, Brad J.,et
al. The back squat: a proposed
assessment of functional deficits and
technical factors that limit
performance. Strength & Conditioning
Journal. December 2014 - Volume 36 Issue 6 - p 427
Thoracic-Shoulder References
Borstad JD, Ludewig PM. The effect of
long versus short pectoralis minor
resting length on scapular kinematics
in healthy individuals. Journal of
Orthopedic Sports Physical Therapy,

2005;4:227-238.
Codman EA. The Shoulder; Rupture of
the Supraspinatus Tendon and Other
Lesions in or About the Subacromial
Bursa. Thomas Todd, Boston, 1934.
Crawford HJ, Jull GA. The influence of
thoracic posture and movement on
range of arm elevation. Physiotherapy
Theory and Practice, 1993;9:143-148.
Crosbie J, Kilbreath SL, Hollmann L,
York S. Scapulohumeral rhythm and
associated spinal motion. Clinical
Biomechanics, 2008;23:184-192.
DeFranca GG, Levine LJ. The T4
syndrome. Journal of Manipulative

and Physiological Therapeutics,


1995;1:34-37.
Greenfield B, et al. Posture in patients
with shoulder overuse injuries and
healthy individuals. Journal of
Orthopedic Sports Physical Therapy,
1995;5:287-295.
Kibler BW. The role of the scapula in
athletic shoulder function. The
American Journal of Sports Medicine,
1998;26:325-337.
McClure PW, Michener LA, Sennett BJ,
Karduna AR. Direct 3-dimensional
measurement of scapular kinematics
during dynamic movements in vivo.
Journal of Shoulder and Elbow

Surgery, 2001;10:269-277.
Stewart S, Jull GA, Ng, JKF, Willems JM.
An initial analysis of thoracic spine
movement during unilateral arm
elevation. Journal of Manual &
Manipulative Therapy, 1995;3:15-20.
Strunce J, et al. The immediate effects
of thoracic spine and rib manipulation
on subjects with primary complaints
of shoulder pain. Journal of Manual &
Manipulative Therapy, 2009;17:230236.
Theodoridis D, Ruston S. The effect of
shoulder movements on thoracic
spine 3D motion. Clinical
Biomechanics, 2002;17:418-421.

Chapter Six:
Abdominal Bracing

Abdominal Bracing
In an attempt to maximize the impact
of spinal stabilization exercises,
researchers have been studying
various core activation strategies.
Research has lit upon one particular
mechanism for activating the core
muscles with the effects of protecting
the spine from injury and enhancing
athletic performance. This mechanism
is called bracing. Bracing of the core
involves an isometric stiffening of the
abdominal core muscles.

Figure 1. Bracing of the core


involves an isometric stiffening
of all the muscles of the core.

Figure 2. Bracing does not


isolate muscles of the core, but
rather engages all of the

muscles in a global stiffening


and bracing of the abdominal
muscles.

Figure 3. To replicate the


bracing concept, stiffen your
abdominal muscles as if you
were about to be punched in
the gut. Bracing in anticipation
of receiving a punch is
equivalent to bracing or
stiffening.
What is Abdominal Bracing?
Abdominal bracing is tensing of all the
abdominal musculature: all the layers
of the abdominal muscles are tensed

as if preparing to be punched in the


abdomen. This creates a crisscrossing
mesh of stabilizing vectors steadying
the spine in all directions. This is what
spinal researcher, Dr. Stuart McGill,
refers to as superstiffness.
Abdominal stiffness allows us to
transfer power, inhibit excessive
spinal motion, and protect the spine
from injury. It also has the added
stabilizing effect of increasing the
intra-abdominal pressure which in
turn further enhances the stability of
the spine.

Figure 4. During extreme


exertion such as heavy lifting
or pushing, we instinctively

stiffen the core in preparation


for the exertion.
It is Intuitive
When you prepare for a heavy lift or
to push a vehicle, what do you
instinctively do in preparation for the
effort? You instinctively brace your
abdominal muscles.

Figure 5. When performing


complex athletic movement
patterns such as the clean and
jerk, there is a concert of

muscle activation, muscle


inhibition, and spinal stiffening
which must occur in a
coordinated sequence.
Practicing these types of
motion patterns should
reinforce reflexive stiffening
and core bracing without
conscious thought.
Athletic Performance Training
When performing an athletic lift like
the deadlift, the Olympic clean and

jerk, or the squat, there is an


instantaneous stiffening and bracing
at precisely the right time during the
lift which occurs without conscious
thought. Coaches and trainers should
encourage athletes to use proper
form and engage in abdominal
bracing.
In athletics the timing of abdominal
bracing is important. An athlete
should be trained to maximize the
natural, momentary reflexive
stiffening of the core during an
athletic motion. If an athlete tried to
constantly stiffen and brace the core,
it would impede athletic
performance. Imagine the functional

impairment of a golfer trying to swing


a golf club while maintaining a
constant stiffening of the core. It
would impair the resulting swing. The
golfer should have a relaxed core until
momentary reflexive stiffening
maximizes power and protection.
When training pain-free athletes, the
goal is to enhance performance and
prevent injury. We want to enhance
the reflexive stiffness of their core.
This can be accomplished through
several functional exercises and by
having athletes practice their form
during actual athletic activity.
Functional athletic weight lifting

exercises such as the clean and jerk,


kettlebell swings, medicine ball
throwing and catching, battle ropes,
sled pulling and pushing, and some
pulley exercises can have a training
effect which enhances athleticism and
injury protection. These exercises are
described in chapter eleven: The
Exercises.

Conclusion
Abdominal or core bracing increases
spinal stiffness and activates the
protective muscles of the core. When
training to enhance athletic
performance, utilize a program which

equips the athlete to subconsciously


react to perturbation and power
projection with momentary core
muscular stiffening and bracing
followed by immediate slackening and
relaxation.

References
1. Hodges PW, Richardson CA.
Inefficient muscular stabilization of
the lumbar spine associated with low
back pain: a motor control evaluation
of transverse abdominis. Spine
21(1996): 2640-2650.
2. Hodges PW, Richardson CA. Altered
trunk muscle recruitment in people
with low back pain with upper limb
movement at different speeds.
Archives of physical medicine and
rehabilitation 80(1999): 1005-1012.
3. Vera-Garcia J, Elvira J, Brown S,
McGill S. Effects of abdominal

stabilization maneuvers on the


control of spine motion and stability
against sudden trunk perturbations.
Journal of Electromyography and
Kinesiology 17(2007): 556-567.
4. Cholewicki J, Juluru K, McGill, S.M.
Intra-abdominal pressure mechanism
for stabilizing the lumbar spine. J
Biomech 32(1999): 13-17.
5. Cholewicki J, Juluru K, Radebold A,
Panjabi MM, McGill S.M. Lumbar
spine stability can be augmented with
an abdominal and/or increased intraabdominal pressure. Eur Spine J
8(1999): 388-395.
6. Cresswell, AG, Thorstensson A.

Changes in intra-abdominal pressure,


trunk muscle activation, and force
during isokinetic lifting and lowering.
Eur J Appl Physiol 68(1994): 315-321.
7. Grenier SG, McGill SM.
Quantification of lumbar stability by
using two different abdominal
activation strategies. Arch Phys Med
Rehabil 88(2007): 54-62.

Chapter Seven: The


Problem with Situps

The Problem with


Sit-ups (and other
exercises)
Most of what we have believed about
how to train the abdominal muscles is
wrong. We used to believe that
abdominal muscles were designed to
flex the trunk and that sit-ups

prevented lower back pain. While the


rectus abdominis muscles (the
muscles which comprise the six pack
appearance of defined abdominal
muscles) can flex the spine slightly,
the network of abdominal muscles is
better equipped to resist excessive
spinal motion and to transfer power.

Figure 1. The network of abdominal


and core muscles provide a wide
variety of vectors which allow for
stabilization of the spine and transfer
of power from the lower extremities
through the torso to the upper
extremities.

The spine is not a hinge joint like the


knee or elbow. It is a flexible column.
Yet for at least the past century,
mainstream physical culture has
targeted the muscles which stabilize
the spine with exercises that flex and
extend it as if the spine was a hinge
joint. Excessive flexion and extension

of the spine, especially when under


load, can cause disc damage resulting
in herniation, bulging, and/or
degenerative changes.

The muscles which support the spine


are best trained using exercises that
develop reactionary functional spinal
stiffness. They are not designed for
great changes in length like the biceps
or triceps muscles. Instead, they are
more like springs which provide a
marginally flexible absorption of
external forces and allow for transfer
of power from the hips to the upper
extremities. Can you think of anytime

in athletics, work, or normal activities


in which you would need to replicate
the motion or function that is trained
while performing a crunch or sit-up?
Probably not.

Figure 2. In natural
movement patterns the
abdominal muscles do not
repeatedly flex. They stiffen to
provide a fixed platform for
transferring power from the
legs through the torso to the
arms. This is the function of
the abdominal core. These
muscles should be trained to
maximize that function.
Between each of the vertebrae (spinal

bones) is a cartilaginous disc. The disc


has a gel center which remains in the
center of the disc while in the neutral
position with a mild lordosis (arch).
Excessive or repeated spinal flexion,
as occurs when performing sit-ups,
causes a disruption within the disc.
Over time this disruption
progressively worsens. Eventually the
disc migrates back and a disc bulge,
herniation, or other derangement
occurs. Also, since repeated flexion of
the torso does not replicate or
translate benefit to normal patterns
of functional movement, it may be
enforcing dysfunction.
Sit-ups and crunches should never be

used to treat lower back pain. They


actually re-create the mechanism of
injury for most back pain sufferers
through repeated and prolonged
flexion.

Figure 3. Between the


vertebrae are cartilaginous
discs. The disc has a gel center
which remains in the center of
the disc while in the neutral
position with a mild lordosis
(arch). Excessive or repeated
spinal flexion, as occurs when
performing sit-ups, causes a
disruption within the disc. In
time, this can lead to a disc
bulge, herniation, or other

derangement.

Figure 4. Sit-ups and crunches


repeatedly flex the spine and
have a high potential for

lumbar disc injury.

Figure 5. Incorporating a

twist into a sit-up or crunch


combines two deleterious
motions with minimal if any
training benefit.

Figure 6. In the early stages


of training, simple stiffening
exercises are preferred. These
are superior to exercises that
produce excessive spinal
flexion, extension, or twisting.
See chapter six for additional
information on preferred
exercises for strengthening the
core.

Figure 7. Curling the spine


forward to stretch the
hamstrings can overstretch
the spinal ligaments and
facilitate or create disc
injuries. This common exercise
is injurious and should be
avoided.

Chapter Eight: Rest


and Recovery

Rest, Recovery, and Life


Balance
Lack of physical training is not the
limiting factor in enhancing athletic
performance. Recovery is the limiting
factor. It does not matter how hard
you train if you do not maximize your
physical recovery through intelligent
optimization of rest periods. More is
not always better. Sometimes more is
just more. Lack of adequate recovery
leads to injury, dysfunction, and
illness.
As you look over the workouts found

in this book, you will note that some


workouts are more rigorous than
others, and some are not very hard at
all. This is intentional; you should not
perform to maximal exhaustion every
day. There should be hard days, easy
days, and rest days.
Additionally, certain body parts are
prone to injury when exercises are
paired incorrectly. For example you
would not want to mix overhead
presses, pull-ups, and swimming
freestyle and butterfly sprints in one
workout or even on consecutive days.
This combination would increase the
likelihood of shoulder injury.

Ideally there should be one rest day


for every three days of working out.
The rest day could be a day with some
diaphragmatic breathing exercises and
biofeedback training (using an
automated vital signs machine to
learn to maximize oxygen uptake,
slow pulse and respiration rates, and
lower your blood pressure).
Biofeedback and diaphragmatic
breathing will help in athletics, diving,
and shooting.

Figure 1. Sample chart


depicting workout days and

rest days. Example 4 shows


the workout schedule on a five
day work week.
Sleep
Anyone who has ever been in an SOF
unit has learned to function without
sleep. Most operators believe they
can function at top form with less
sleep than the general population and
that they do not need more than four
or five hours of sleep per night. This is
not true. Regardless of training,
everyone performs better with eight
or more hours of sleep per night.

There is no task that is not hindered


by lack of sleep or improved by
getting more sleep. Do not believe
the lie that some people need only
four to five hours of sleep per night.
Studies have shown that sleep
deprivation can reduce cognitive
function as much as drunkenness.
Cortisol and Leptin
Cortisol is a stress hormone which is
released when we have too little
sleep, too much stress, or too much
exertion. In fact the body begins to
produce cortisol after 40 minutes of
continual exercise. Excessive cortisol
production is responsible for the

wasting of muscles and the


distribution of fat in the belly.
Leptin is the substance which signals
satiety (tells us when we are full).
Leptin production is reduced when
you lack adequate (seven or more
hours) sleep. There are several high
quality studies which have linked
obesity to lack of sleep.
Life Balance
Recovery is more than sleep or rest
between sets or events, or even days
off. Recovery involves the restoration
which takes place when there is
absolute balance in your life, when
you have true respite as well as

spiritual and mental rest. We need


days off and sometimes weeks off.
We need time to rekindle
relationships and family ties. There
needs to be balance and purpose in a
warriors lifestyle. Love, friendship,
and fellowship are part of the
recovery process from training and
operations.

Figure 2. Continually adjust


your workouts, rest, and
priorities in the pursuit of the
elusive concept of optimal
performance.

Chapter Nine:
Shallow Water
Blackout and
Drowning

Shallow Water
Blackout and
Drowning
Drowning from shallow water
blackout occurs with little warning,
even in trained breath-hold divers.
Every year divers from around the
world die in breath-holding accidents.
Shallow water blackout is caused by a
lack of oxygen during a breath-hold
dive, usually occurring in less than
three meters of water. The diver may

pass out unexpectedly and drown if


not immediately rescued.
Shallow water blackout and drowning
can happen to anyone regardless of
fitness level and diving experience. It
can and has happened to Navy divers,
Marine Recon divers, competitive
swimmers, champion spear fishermen,
and essentially anyone who free
dives. Breath-hold diving is
dangerous.
Whenever anyone trains for breathhold diving, there should be a
designated safety diver and a vigilant
observer who are not performing
breath-holding. Repeated breath-

holding without allowing for full


recovery between breath-holds
creates an accumulating and
increasing oxygen deficit and an
excess of carbon dioxide (CO2). This
dangerous combination accounts for
the greater mortality rate in breathhold divers. In most drowning cases
the victim can survive 6-8 minutes
without oxygen, but if someone has
already depleted their oxygen reserve
through repeated breath-hold dives,
brain damage will occur much sooner.
Brain damage and death can occur in
2 minutes.
Mechanism of Drowning

1.

Hyperventilation prior to diving


artificially lowers the level of CO2
in the lungs and blood. Normally
an increase in C02 compels us to
breathe. Hyperventilation
dampens the natural urge to
breath.

2.

As a dive progresses, oxygen is


depleted. If the diver does not
surface to breathe in time, he will
lose consciousness.

3.

Drowning occurs when the


unconscious diver attempts to
inhale and aspirates water.
Without immediate rescue, the
diver will die.

Safety Tips for Breath-Holding


1.

Never swim alone. Have a


designated observer watch breathholding. Do not rely on a lifeguard.

2.

The designated observer should


not participate in breath-holding,
should have a phone, and be
trained in CPR.

3.

Do not play breath-holding


games.

4.

Allow for complete recovery


between breath-holds.

Figure 1. Navy frogmen

operating a mini-submarine.

Figure 2. Here I am on the


deck of a submerged
submarine, USS Barbel (SS580), during a submarine
insertion. This photo was
taken moments before I had a
near fatal diving accident.
This near-drowning event left
me without air for several
minutes while tangled on a
moving submarine.
Conclusion

Military combat swimmers are fit and


trained, but in every breath-hold
training evolution they are supported
by medical personnel, safety
swimmers or divers, and lifeguards.
The underwater breath-hold workouts
in this book are intended to be used
only by military divers with
appropriate support. For all others,
this is intended to be used for
entertainment purposes only.

Chapter Ten:
Staying Fit While on
Deployment

Staying Fit While


on Deployment
One of the quandaries found in the
military is the problem of staying fit
while deployed. For the naval forces
this may be while transporting on a
ship or submarine for protracted
periods of time. For all services, being
forward deployed can limit a units
ability to stay fit. This is especially
true for conventional forces or special
operational forces deployed to a fire
base down range.

Figure 1. The authors Marine


Recon team in the well deck of
a ship preparing for a physical
training session while
transiting from the Philippines
to Korea, (circa 1970s).

Figure 2. Pull-up and bar dip


workout after a day of
shooting at Naval Special
Warfare training facility in
Niland, California. In this
photo are two Recon
Corpsman (left) who were
embedded in a SEAL platoon,
a Navy SEAL, and an Army
Ranger Jump Master (circa
1980s).

Figure 3. A Marine Corps


combat swimmer entering the
escape trunk of a submarine
after transporting to a target.
Space on submarines is
limited, and SOF units
transporting on them need to
be innovative in developing
programs of exercise. In this
case we transported as cargo
on this submarine, sleeping on
kapoks (life vests) on top of
torpedoes in a very crowded

torpedo room.

Figure 4. When operating


down range, the mission at
hand is more important than
workouts. However, the
principle of Specific
Adaptation to Imposed
Demands (the SAID principle)
will ensure that the physical
needs of the mission are
sustained. Nothing prepares
you for long patrols in the
jungle more than actually
performing long patrols in the

jungle.
Shipboard Fitness
Most ships have weight rooms,
treadmills, and some space to
exercise. While area on a ship is
limited, with a little imagination it is
quite possible to stay fit while at sea.
Even though there is weight
equipment on a ship, the exercise
facilities are overcrowded. It is helpful
and advantageous for units to bring
some of their own equipment to
enhance their workouts.
On larger ships, such as carriers or

troop transports, you can expect to


have enough deck space to run. It
may take thirty or forty laps to get a
workout, but at least you can stretch
your legs. The most common way to
stay in shape while shipboard is to
utilize bodyweight exercises.

Submarines
The limiting factors on submarines are
space and sound. You will not be
performing unit physical training
sessions on a submarine. The
submarine service is called the Silent
Service for a reason. Submarines
need to be quiet to avoid detection

by enemy sonar. The submarines


skipper does not want weights
clanging around on his boat even if
you had room for weights. If you are
being deployed on a submarine and
intend to bring exercise equipment,
you should clear it with the ships
company. If you are bringing
kettlebells or other iron-based
equipment make sure you also bring a
rubberized matt (wet suits also work
as a rubberized mat). Having a
suspension exercise system like the
TRX is beneficial for any dive team
being transported for any length of
time on a submarine.

Figure 5. Bodyweight exercises


will comprise most of the
physical training program on a
submarine.

Figure 6. There is no shortage


of pipes and rails on ships; so
bar dips, climbing, and pull-ups

can be a mainstay for upper


body strength.

Figure 7. Exercises like man


makers can work virtually the
entire body, including the

cardiovascular system, using


minimum equipment and
space.
Team Houses
Team houses are relatively safe
berthing sites where operational
teams live between operations. These
are usually in a secure compound, but
close to operational areas. Team
houses allow a place for SOF units to
rest and prepare for future
operations. It is not uncommon for a
team house to be fully equipped with
functional weightlifting equipment.

Virtually every workout in this book,


aside from swimming workouts, can
be performed in a well-equipped
team house.
Regardless of the circumstances of
deployment, a motivated and
innovative SOF unit should be able to
pursue optimal operational fitness.

Chapter Eleven: The


Exercises

The Exercises
While many of the exercises in this
book are self-evident and do not need
explanation, there are some that for
claritys sake will be described here.
We all know what a push-up is, but
not everyone will know the term man
maker. The next few pages will
discuss key points in lifting techniques
and injury prevention. Following that
are the descriptions of the various
exercises found in the workouts in
section two of this book.

Hip Hinge
For years coaches and back pain
specialists have told people to lift
with their knees, not their back. We
now know that the hip, not the knees,
should be the main joint emphasized
when bending or lifting.
The hip hinge is the most important
motion pattern for any weight lifting
athlete to master. Applying the hip
hinge to all aspects of your life and
exercise will prevent injury and will
enhance athletic performance. The
hip hinge is essentially a motion
pattern which occurs at the hip while
the spine remains in a relative static

position (no flexion or extension


occurs in the spine). All squatting
motions and deadlifts should be
variations of the hip hinge.
In a hip hinge motion, the spine
remains in a neutrally aligned posture
with a natural lordosis (arch) in the
lower back and neck. The hips travel
backward as the body descends. The
shins should remain somewhat
upright throughout the motions.
Practice and training will produce
grooves of motion which will
enforce proper lifting and motion
patterns in athletic movements and
activities of daily living. One way to

practice proper hip hinging is to place


a dowel or PVC pipe along the spine.
This pole should touch the head, the
upper back, and sacrum (the base of
your spine/pelvis). Additionally, it
should not touch the lower back or
neck which will have recessed arches.
From a standing position, bend at the
hips as the hips and pelvis descend
and move backwards.
The pole should not change in relative
position to the spine. If the lower
back touches the pole at any time,
you have a faulty motion pattern, and
you are flexing the spine. All lifters
should master the hip hinge before
progressing to the squat, deadlift,

kettlebell swings, or the clean and


jerk.

The hip hinge can be learned


and perfected with the use of
a rod of PVC piping or a
wooden dowel. The rod will
ensure, through proprioceptive
feedback, that the spine does
not move into potentially
deleterious flexion (right).
During the hip hinge, the hips
should move backward while
the shins remain vertical. At
the same time the spine will

remain in a neutral position.

Another effective biofeedback


tool for enforcing the hip hinge
is elastic therapeutic tape.
Apply the tape while the
lumbar spine (lower back) is in
lordosis (arched). If the spine
flexes, it will feel a gentle tug
as a reminder to maintain
neutral lordosis.

The Importance of the


Arched back

The importance of proper body


mechanics in lifts like the clean and
jerk and the deadlift cannot be

overstated. Most back injuries occur


when the spine is flexed (left). A
flexed spine, like the image on the
left, allows the material inside the
intervertebral disc to migrate back
toward the spinal nerves. The arched
spine is somewhat protective from
injury.
The image on the right shows that the
lumbar arch is maintained and the
squatting motion is taking place
through the hinging motion of the
hips. This is the preferred way to
bend and lift.

Stiffening the Core

To protect the spine from injury


during exercises like the vehicle push,
sled push, bear crawl, and many other
exercises, it is important to learn to
stiffen or brace the abdominal core in
anticipation for exertion (Chapter
Six). This can be accomplished
through an isometric tensing of the
abdominal muscles. Bracing in
anticipation to a punch in the gut is
very similar to what we are trying to
accomplish with the abdominal core
stiffening maneuver.
The stiffening should not be at 100%
contraction. In most exercises you
should be able to gain the protective
benefits of stiffening with 10-15% of

maximum contraction. This would be


true for exercises like box jumps,
kettlebell swings, push-ups, pull-ups,
and bends and thrusts. For more
challenging exertions, such as a heavy
deadlift, the clean and jerk, sled push,
or vehicle push, you will need to
stiffen the core more.
While contracting the abdominal core,
try to continue diaphragmatic
breathing (see the section on the
diaphragm later in this chapter). This
may take conscious thought initially,
but will become automatic in time.

The Air Squat

Stand with your feet slightly wider


than shoulder width apart and your
toes pointed slightly outward. Squat
down with your butt traveling
backwards. Try to keep your shins
perpendicular to the ground. You
may use your arms as cantilevers to
help balance. Go down as low as you
can comfortably descend without
flexing your spine or having your heels
come off of the ground.
Key points to Effective Squatting:
1.

With the toes pointing slightly


outward, grip the ground with
your feet, and corkscrew them in
external rotation (outward). No

movement of the foot will occur,


just tension into external rotation.
This ensures gluteal activation.
2.

Try to keep the shins


perpendicular to the ground when
squatting.

3.

Squat with your hips, not your


back.

4.

Your heels and toes should


maintain continual contact with
the ground.

Barbell Squats

Lay a barbell across the upper back.


Stand your legs slightly wider than
shoulder width apart and your toes
pointed slightly outward. Squat down
with your buttocks traveling
backwards as though you were
sitting. Try to keep your shins
perpendicular to the ground. Go
down as low as you can comfortably
descend without losing the arch in
your lower back or having your heels
come off of the ground.

Goblet squats

The goblet squat is so named because

the participant holds the weight, a


kettlebell or dumbbell, as if it were a
goblet. Stand with your feet slightly
more than shoulder width apart and
your toes pointed slightly outward.
Squat down with your buttocks
traveling backwards. Try to keep your
shins perpendicular to the ground. Go
down as low as you can comfortably
descend without flexing your lower
back or having your heels come off of
the ground.
Key points to Effective Squatting:
1.

With the toes pointing slightly


outward grip the ground with
your feet, and corkscrew them in

external rotation (outward). No


movement of the foot will occur,
just tension into external rotation.
This ensures gluteal activation.
2.

Try to keep the shins


perpendicular to the ground when
squatting.

3.

Squat with your hips, not your


back.

4.

Your heels and toes should


maintain continual contact with
the ground.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are a great athletic


lift which helps to develop explosive
power and cardiovascular fitness.
This exercise combines an explosive
popping of the hips from a quarter
squat position with the forward
projection of the kettlebell. Onehanded kettlebell swings is an
alternate way to perform this
exercise.
Get it Right
1.

Begin with the knees flexed,


but not in a deep squat. The
feet are a little wider than
shoulder width apart with the
toes pointed slightly outward.

2.

While maintaining a healthy


arch in your lower back, pop
your hips upward and forward
while squeezing your gluteal
muscles. This will initiate the
kettlebell into a swing. This is
not a shoulder raising exercise.
The momentum of the hip pop
should project the kettlebell
forward and upward to shoulder
level. You should not feel your
shoulder muscles working.

3.

Allow the weight of the


kettlebell to swing back between
your legs. It may tap you lightly
on the buttocks.

4.

This exercise is performed with


continuous motion. Keep the
kettlebell swinging throughout
the exercise.

The Farmers Walk

The farmers walk (sometimes called


the briefcase walk when done one

handed) is a simple exercise.


Essentially just grab a weight and
walk. The weight can be a kettlebell,
dumbbell, rucksack, sandbag, ammo
can, SCUBA bottle or other weighted
object. This is a good exercise for
strengthening the muscles needed for
carrying rubber boats, ammo cans,
water, machine guns, sea bags and
many other items. It is a full body
exercise which engages muscles in a
functional pattern of motion. It trains
the trapezius muscles, the core, the
gluteal muscles, the back, and the
forearms. One key point is to keep
your pelvis level while performing this
exercise.

The farmers walk can be done onehanded or two-handed.

One-Legged Deadlift

The one-legged deadlift is a valuable


exercise that will engage a broad
range of muscles while especially
working the gluteus maximus and
core. Grab a dumbbell, kettlebell,
barbell, ammo can, or other weighted
device while balancing on one leg that
is slightly bent. Stiffen your
abdominal core and lock in a nice arch
in your lower back. Pivot through the
hip to perform a raising and lowering
movement. Travel all the way to the
ground and then rise back to upright.
Perform sets with each hand while
balancing on one leg and then the
other.
Try to keep the pelvis level and

straight during the entire exercise. Do


not twist or hike up your pelvis.
Variations of this exercise include
performing it with a weight in each
hand or gripping the weight with both
hands.

Kettlebell Clean and Jerk

The kettlebell clean and jerk is a full


body exercise which builds athleticism
and power.
Get it Right:
1.

Keep your lower back arched


throughout the entire motion.
Straddle a kettlebell with your
feet shoulder width apart.

2.

Using your lower extremities to


drive this exercise, pull the
weight from the ground quickly.
As the weight travels up, drop
down, and allow the weight to
swing onto your forearm.

3.

Squat down a little. Then using

the force of your entire body


(not just your shoulders and
arms), in a jumping motion
thrust the weight overhead.
4.

Finally, lower the weight to the


ground as you squat down.

The Kettlebell Snatch

The kettlebell snatch is a similar


compound exercise in which the
kettlebell is pulled overhead in one
quick athletic motion. To perform
the kettlebell snatch, pull the
kettlebell from the ground with a
fast, athletic, almost jumping
motion. As the kettlebell travels up
to chest level flip the kettlebell
over your forearm and punch it
into the air. Lower it the ground.

Ball Slams

Keeping a natural arch in your lower


back, lift a weighted medicine or sand
ball overhead, and forcibly slam the
ball to the ground. Squat down and
lift the ball back up and repeat. Avoid
flexing or twisting the spine during
this exercise.

Push-up

The push-up is a cornerstone of upper


body strength training. While it may
seem simple, most people have a
difficult time performing this exercise
correctly. When done properly, the

push-up engages the core, the gluteal


muscles, the chest, shoulders, and
arms.
Get it Right:
1.

Position your hands under


your chest with the hands
turned slightly out. Once weight
bearing maintain an external
(outward from center)
corkscrewing tension on the
hands.

2.

Stiffen and brace your core and


gluteal muscles throughout the
exercise. Do not allow your
pelvis to sag.

3.

Keep your head and neck in


alignment with the rest of your
body.

4.

Descend with your elbows


close to your torso and with
your forearms remaining
perpendicular, or close to
perpendicular, to the ground.

Common Mistakes with the Push-up:


1.

The elbows are too far away


from the body.

2.

The elbows travel back and the


forearms are not perpendicular
with the ground.

3.

A lack of core stiffness results

in sagging of the belly or pelvis.


4.

A lack of outward hand tension


is maintained with the ground.

Bear Crawl

While maintaining a stiff abdominal


core get into the bear crawl position
with the buttocks elevated. Use a
cross-crawl motion (left arm and right
leg move unison, right arm and left leg
move in unison) to crawl forward.
Other variations of this exercise
include crawling backwards and
forwards and crawling sideways.

Mountain Climbers

Starting in the lean-and-rest (pushup


position), bring one foot off the floor
and raise that knee to your chest with
the foot touching the ground.
Alternate from leg to leg in a rhythmic
bouncing fashion.

Bends and Thrusts (Burpees)


Bends and thrusts (burpee)

Bends and thrusts are a mainstay in


the military. The basic bends and
thrust exercise begins in the standing
position. From the standing position,
squat down and place your hands on
the ground, thrust your legs straight
back so that you are now in the pushup position. Then, with a bouncing
motion, pull your knees up to your
chest so that you are again in a
squatting position with your hands on
the ground. Now jump up putting
your hands overhead.
There are several variations to this
exercise, including the one illustrated
here, which includes a push-up in the
middle and a jump with the arms up

in the air at the conclusion. Still


another variation includes two pushups in the middle, and no jumping. It
is called the Eight-Count Body Builder.

Bends and thrusts with one or


two push-ups in the middle.

Man Makers

Man makers are a variation of the


bends and thrust theme. This
exercise begins in the standing
position with a dumbbell in each
hand hanging by your waist.

Hexagonal dumbbells work best for


this exercise. Descend to a squatting
position with the dumbbells on the
ground, then thrust your legs back so
that you are holding the dumbbells
while in the lean and rest (pushup
position). Perform a pushup while
grasping the dumbbells. While
stiffening your core, perform a onearmed row with each hand. Then
return to the squat position and
perform a clean and jerk with the
dumbbells. That concludes one
repetition of this exercise.
This is a difficult exercise to master.
Using a lighter weight while learning
this exercise will help to ensure that

your technique does not suffer.


Master the technique before adding
additional weight.

Tire Flipping

I have included tire flipping in this


section, not because I endorse it, but
so that anyone attempting this
exercise knows the proper technique.
This is a very difficult exercise to do

properly due to the extremely low


squat that must take place. To
correctly perform this exercise you will
need to hip hinge (keep your lower
back arched and pivot from your hips)
low enough to grab the lip of the tire,
and then stand up, stride forward, flip
the tire over, and repeat. Warning:
This exercise becomes more difficult
to do correctly the faster you attempt
to perform it.

Most people flex their spines into a


deleterious posture when performing
tire flips.

Deadlifts
Deadlifts can be performed several
different ways, but my favorite
method involves using a shrug bar
(pictured). Deadlifts can also be
performed with barbells, kettlebells,
and dumbbells.

To perform a deadlift, stand inside


the shrug bar with your legs a little
wider than shoulder width apart, and
squat down as if you were going to sit
down and grasp the bar. Try to keep
your shins perpendicular to the
ground throughout the lift. Stand up
while pulling the bar up and
maintaining an arch in the lower back.
The gluteal muscles provide the main
power in this lift, but you will
certainly engage your back muscles as
well.
If you are unable to perform this lift
comfortably, or if your lower back
bends forward when you squat down

deeply, then you may want to put


blocks under the weights (on both
sides) to eliminate the need to
descend as low.

The Barbell Clean and Jerk

The clean and jerk is a technical lift


which is best performed with one or

two repetitions at a time. Since this


lift requires speed, timing, and power,
it should not be done with high
repetitions or when fatigued. Below is
a brief description about how to
perform this exercise, but I
recommend that you pursue live
coaching on the details of this lift.
Get it Right:
1.

Stand over the barbell with your


feet under the bar. Grasp the bar,
palms down. Maintain a head up
posture with your lower back
arched throughout the lift.

2.

Pull the bar up using the power of


hip extension. When the bar

reaches your knees, raise your


shoulders up to continue the pull.
As the bar reaches mid-thigh, jump
up while straightening your body.
3.

Continue to pull the bar up, then


quickly lower your body to get
under the bar, catching it. You have
now completed the clean.

4.

Dip down slightly, then with a


quick and explosive motion, propel
the barbell up.

5.

Drop your body down into a split


stance and catch the bar.

6.

Stand up with the bar overhead.

7.

Lower the bar to the ground, or

use a controlled drop.

Bar dips

The bar dip is performed on a set of


parallel bars. Begin by mounting the
parallel bars and extending your arms
until they are straight, but not
locked. Descend in a controlled
manner until your shoulder is below
the elbow. Ascend to the starting
point, and repeat. Try to keep your
forearms perpendicular to the bars
throughout the entire exercise.

Pull-ups

Pull-ups are performed with the palms


of the hands facing away from the
participant, while chin-ups have the
palms facing the participant.
Get it Right:
1.

Start by grabbing the bar with


your palms facing away from you.
Grip the bar just a bit beyond
shoulder width. The exact grip
width should be determined by
maximal comfort. Pick the most
comfortable position. Begin in the
dead hang position with both arms
fully extended.

2.

Begin the pull-up by bracing your


core and retracting (pulling down

and back) your shoulders.


3.

Continue the pull-up by pulling


your elbow down, this particularly
engages the latissimus dorsi.

4.

Continue pulling up until the chin


fully clears the bar. Aim to pull the
chest to the bar, not just clear the
bar with your chin. Pause at the
top.

5.

Lower to the dead hang position


in a controlled manner.

Chin-ups

Chin-ups are differentiated from pullups by the position of the hands.


Chin-ups are performed with the
palms of the hands facing the
participant, while pull-ups have the
palms of the hands facing away.
Get it Right:
1.

Start by grabbing the bar with


your arms relatively close to the
body [in comparison to pull-ups]
with your palms facing you. The
exact grip width should be
determined by maximum comfort.
Pick the most comfortable position
for you. Begin in the dead hang
position with both arms fully

extended.
2.

Start the chin-up by bracing your


core and retracting (pulling down
and back) your shoulders.

3.

Continue the chin-up by pulling


up with your latissimus dorsi
(muscles of your upper back) and
arm muscles.

4.

Continue pulling up until the chin


fully clears the bar. Aim to pull the
chest to the bar, not to just clear
the bar with your chin. Pause at
the top.

Lower to the dead hang position in a


controlled manner. Repeat.

Rope Climbing

Rope climbing is a very transferable


skill, especially for the seaborne
services. Marines, SEALs, and SOF dive
teams need upper body strength to
climb up and down ships, boats, piers,
and oil platforms. There are several
ways to climb ropes, however, the
most effective way is to use both your
hands and your legs to climb.
Technique: Grab the rope with both
hands and pull yourself up. Pull your
legs up, and have your dominant leg
(usually the right leg for right-handed
people) wrap around the rope so that
the rope wraps around the calf and
over the dominant foot. The nondominant foot steps on the rope to

anchor the rope. Then straighten your


legs. Reach high overhead on the
rope with your hands (always keeping
at least one hand on the rope). Then
grab the rope and pull your legs up.
Repeat. Essentially use your legs to
drive you up the rope.
An alternative method to using your
arms and legs to climb is hands-only
climbing. Hands-only climbing is a
good way to isolate and train the
upper body.
Note: Wearing trousers will protect
you from rope burns.

When Rope Climbing is Not


Available: Rope Pull-ups

When you do not have access to rope


climbing facilities, you can get a
similar training effect by placing a
rope over a pull-up bar or other
strong, fixed anchor. Grasp the rope
and perform pull-ups with it.

When Rope Climbing is Not


Available: Towel Pull-Ups

Another training alternative when


there is no rope climbing facility is the
use of towel pull-ups. Place two
towels over the bar and grasp them as
illustrated. Performing pull-ups in this
manner is more difficult than
performing traditional pull-ups.

Battle Ropes

Using wide diameter ropes or old fire


hoses for this maneuver can provide a

very rigorous workout. The rope


should be anchored to a fixed point
prior to starting this exercise.
Beginning by sinking down into a
partial squat, stiffening your
abdominal core, and grasping the
ends of the rope. Then alternate your
arms in a whipping motion to create
the appearance of a wave in the
rope. Try to use your entire body to
make the waves. Another way to
create waves which uses even more of
the body is to make coordinated
waves. This is done by keeping the
hands together, raising and lowering
the arms simultaneously.

Box Jumps

Box jumps target fast-twitch muscles


and are great for building speed and
power.
Get it Right:
1.

Launch from about two feet from


the box.

2.

Start in a crouched position with


your arms back.

3.

When you jump, thrust your arms


forward and up.

4.
5.

Land softly on the box.


Jump off or step off of the box,
trying to land just as softly as when

you jumped up.


6.

Only do box jumps when you are


fresh
.

Sled Pushes and Pulls

Sled pushes and sled rope pulls are


two of my favorite exercises. They are
absolute butt-kickers. I really believe
that these exercises use just about
every muscle in your body, but they
are really good for your core, as well
as cardiovascular fitness.
Sled pushes are performed with the
lumbar spine arched and the
abdominal core contracted and
stiffened. The major drivers are the
gluteal muscles while the shoulder
and abdominal muscles are locked
into a stiffened column. Tie a 75 foot
fitness rope to the sled, and load it

with weight. Using proper form, push


the sled until the rope is totally
straightened out. Then run to the
end of the rope to begin the sled rope
pull.
Sled rope pulls are also performed
with the back in a protective arched
position while stiffening the
abdominal core. Pull the sled back to
the starting point using a hand-overhand method.

Vehicle Pushing

Vehicle pushing requires one person

to be in the vehicle to steer and use


the brakes when needed. The person
pushing needs to avoid flexing the
spine. To push, stay low, stiffen the
abdominal core, and push with the
muscles of your legs, mainly the
gluteal muscles. Most vehicles will
require at least two people to push
it. As with all these exercises, do not
perform them unless you have a
clearance from your physician.

Underwater Kettlebell Run

All breath-holding drills should only

be performed by active duty military


diving personnel. There should
always be a lifeguard, Corpsman, and
safety diver present whenever there
are underwater breath-holding drills
taking place.
To perform the underwater kettlebell
run, select a heavy kettlebell. Heavier
weights actually make this exercise
easier. Fifty to eighty pounds should
work well. You may use a kettlebell, a
divers weight belt, an ammo can
filled with brass, or anything of
sufficient weight to hold a person on
the bottom.
Place the weighted object gently on

the bottom of a deep pool or training


tank. Dropping weights into a pool
may crack the plaster. The runner
swims down to the weight, lifts it up,
and then begins to run or walk across
the pool to the other side. Set it
down gently when finished.
Note: Water shoes or dive booties
are good idea to prevent chafing of
the feet.

Lunges
Lunges are a foundational exercise
that can be done anywhere. To
perform a basic lunge, begin in an
upright standing position with your
hips and shoulders level and aligned.
Slightly stiffen your core. Lunge (step)
forward with one leg and descend
until both knees are bent to 90
degrees. Ensure that your front knee
does not travel forward and that your
front shin is perpendicular to the
ground. The rear knee should not
touch the ground. Rise up to the
standing position and repeat with the

other leg.

Single Arm Lunge Walk

Overhead lunge walks are performed


by jerking a weight overhead, then
lunge walking with the weight. Having
a long bar (barbell) particularly
engages the muscles of the core and
shoulders. This exercise may be
performed with sandbags, ammo
cans, dumbbells, or kettlebells. In a
pinch you can also use a rucksack.

Sandbag Lunge Walk

Sandbag lunge walks can be


performed with a sandbag or sea bag
on one shoulder, across both
shoulders, or held overhead with both
hands. Step forward into a deep
lunge position, then rise up and step
forward into another deep lunge with
the rear leg.
Try to keep your shoulders and hips
level throughout the exercise.

Curl Ups
Curl ups work the abdominal muscles
while protecting the lumbar discs.
The key to this exercise is the
isolation of the abdominal muscles
while avoiding spinal flexion. Lie on
your back with your arm or a folded
towel under your lower back. Bend
one knee, while keeping the other
straight. Begin by stiffening the core
and then curl the upper back off the
floor a few inches while maintaining
the neutral spinal curve of the lower
back. Avoid jutting the neck or head

forward while performing this


exercise.
Hold contractions for up to 8
seconds. Build muscular endurance
by gradually increasing the number of
repetitions. Alternate which leg is
bent at the midpoint of repetitions.

Planks

To perform a plank, begin by


supporting yourself on the balls of

your feet and your elbows.


Concentrate on stiffening the back
and abdominal muscles while
maintaining a rigid posture. Strive to
keep your body in alignment. Do not
allow your midsection or head to sag
or rise.

Side Bridges

To form a side bridge with your body,


use your elbow to support your upper
body and your feet to support your
lower body. Stiffen your stomach and
back muscles, and strive to keep your
spine straight. Build muscular
endurance by gradually increasing the
number of repetitions. This exercise
should be performed on both sides.

Combining Core Stabilizers

Combining side bridges and planking


can add intensity to your core
stabilization program. Start in a side
bridge, and hold for eight seconds.
Then transition to a plank for eight
seconds. End with a side bridge on
the opposite side for eight seconds.
Repeat. Stiffen your core so that your
ribs, pelvis, and trunk move as one
unit. Do not allow your torso to sag,
twist, or bend.

Split Jump

Stand with your feet shoulder width


apart. Step forward into a lunge, and
then spring up quickly, jumping into

the air. While in the air, quickly shift


the legs so the front leg shifts to the
back and the back leg shifts to the
front. Immediately descend into a
lunge, and then repeat this sequence.
Key points to split jumping:
7.

Keep your pelvis level to the


ground and avoid twisting the
pelvis in the frontal plain.

8.

Try to keep the front shin


perpendicular as you descend into
the lunge.

9.

Your front heel and toes should


maintain continual contact with
the ground during the lunge.

Skater Jump

Cross your left leg behind your right


leg as you descend into the speed
skater stance. Then spring to the left
while shifting legs and land on your
left leg descending into the speed
skater stance on the left leg.
Continue to bound back and forth in
this manner for the specified number
of repetitions.
Key points to skater jumping:
1.

This exercise can be done in


place, or it can be used to bound
obliquely and forward.

2.

For an added challenge, wear a


weight vest.

Single-Leg Squat

Stand on one leg, stiffen your


abdominal muscles, and then descend
backward and down. You may use
your arms as counter balancing
cantilevers. Descend to a point where
the back leg almost touches the
ground.
Key points for performing the singleleg squat:
1.

Keep your lower back arched, and


move through the hip joint.

2.

For an added challenge, wear a


weight vest or hold some light
dumbbells.

3.

Keep your pelvis square (aligned)

with your shoulders.

Side Jump Squat

Stand with your feet slightly wider


than shoulder width apart and your
toes pointed slightly outward. Squat
down with your buttocks traveling
backwards. Try to keep your shins
perpendicular to the ground. You
may use your arms as cantilevers to
help balance. Go down as low as you
can comfortably descend without
flexing your spine or having your heels
come off of the ground. From the
deep squat position, jump up and to
the left, landing in a deep squat. From
the deep squat, jump up and to the
right. Repeat this exercise for the
designated number of reps or time.
Key points for performing the side

jump squat:
1.

Keep your lower back arched,


and move through the hip joint
during the squat.

2.

For an added challenge, wear a


weight vest or hold some light
dumbbells.

3.

Keep your pelvis square


(aligned) with your shoulders

Donkey Kick

Start in the push-up position and


stiffen your core muscles. Then with a
bouncing movement, pull your knees
toward your chest, and kick up into
the air. Reverse the process as you
descend, and try to land softly on the
balls of your feet. That is one
repetition.
Key points for performing the donkey
kick:
1.

Use muscle control, not jerky


movements, to avoid injury.

2.

For an additional challenge,


perform bends and thrusts
(burpees) with a donkey kick.

Body Roll

Start by lying on your back with your


abdominal muscles stiffened and your
arms and legs elevated. Stiffen your
entire body in muscular contraction;
then rotate to one side, never letting
your arms or legs touch the ground.
Next roll onto your back, and then roll
to the other side. Pause briefly for
two seconds in each posture before
proceeding to the next posture.

Rock Star

Rock Star combines the upper body


strengthening push-up with planking
and side bridging. Start in the leanand-rest position, (push-up beginning
posture) then descend into a push up,
rise up into a right-hand-supported

right side bridge with your right foot


forward. Pause for a moment, then
return to the lean-and-rest position
before descending into a push-up.
When rising from the push-up, raise
up onto the left hand with your right
arm extended and your left foot
forward. Pause for a moment, then
return to the push-up. This completes
one repetition.

Sprinter Step

Start in the sprinter "start stance"


with your right leg forward and flexed

and the left hand forward and


touching the ground. Bring the left leg
forward as you hop into the air with a
powerful motion. Return to the start
position. This concludes one
repetition on one side.
Key points for performing the sprinter
step:
1.

Use muscle control, not jerky


movements, to avoid injury.

2.

For an additional challenge, this


exercise can be performed with a
weighted vest.

3.

Even though you are not really


running forward with this exercise,

you should use explosive power


when coming up from the start
position to jump into the air.
4.

Perform an equal number of


sprinter steps on each side for
balance.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is not an

exercise according to the strict


definition of exercise, but it is an
important component to athletic
activities and performance. It is
especially important to learn for
breath-hold diving and to ensure
maximum expulsion of carbon dioxide
while diving.
Diaphragmatic breathing is also
known as belly breathing. The
diaphragm is a large muscle under the
lungs which when contracted, totally
expands the pleural cavity and the
abdomen, and fully inflates the lungs.
By learning to consciously
diaphragmatic breathe, you will be
able to expel more of the residual

carbon dioxide from your lungs,


bronchioles, and trachea and as a
result, more completely saturate your
blood with oxygen.
Chest breathing is the antithesis of
diaphragmatic breathing. Chest
breathing, small shallow breaths due
to the raising and lowering of the
chest, is a component of the fight or
flight reflex.
To practice diaphragmatic breathing,
lie on your back with your knees
bent. Place the fingertips of both
hands on your abdomen, one hand on
each side. Breathe in through your
nose deeply and slowly. Concentrate

on having your abdomen expand and


rise as you inhale. Pause at maximal
inhalation, then exhale fully through
pursed lips. Practice this for 10
breaths, 3-4 times per day. As you
master diaphragmatic breathing,
attempt it during activities of normal
living as well as during exercise.

Section II: Hero


Workouts

Warning: The
exercises and
workouts in this
book are intended to
be used by trained
and conditioned
special operations
units. For all others,
these workouts are
intended to provide

entertainment.
This section of Hero Workouts
provides specific workouts which have
been named and dedicated to Special
Operations Medal of Honor
recipients. After each workout, read
the official Medal of Honor citation
for each hero. This book is written to
honor our heroes and to remember
their sacrifice as you train.
On the following page is the list of the
Medal of Honor recipients from the
various Special Operational Forces of
the United States of America.

Special Operational
Forces
Medal of Honor
Recipients
Korea
Army Master Sgt. Ola L. Mize
Vietnam
Army Capt. Humbert Roque Versace
Army Capt. Roger H. C. Donlon
Army 1st Lt. Charles Q. Williams
Marine Corps 1st Lt. Frank S. Reasoner
Air Force Maj. Bernard F. Fisher
Army Capt. Ronald E. Ray
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jimmie E.
Howard
Navy Boatswains Mate 1st Class James
E. Williams
Army 1st Lt. George K. Sisler

Navy Seaman David G. Ouellet


Army Master Sgt. Charles E. Hosking, Jr.
Army Sgt. Gordon D. Yntema
Army Staff Sgt. Drew D. Dix
Army Sgt. 1st Class Eugene Ashley, Jr.
Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Terrence C. Graves
Army Sgt. 1st Class Fred W. Zabitosky
Marine Corps PFC Ralph H. Johnson
Army Master Sgt. Roy P. Benavidez
Air Force Lt. Col. Joe M. Jackson
Army Specialist 5th Class John J.
Kedenburg
Air Force Col. William A. Jones III
Army Staff Sgt. Laszlo Rabel
Air Force Capt. James P. Fleming
Army Staff Sgt. Robert L. Howard
Army Specialist 4th Class Robert D. Law
Air Force Airman 1st Class John L.
Levitow
Marine Corps LCPL Robert H. Jenkins, Jr.
Navy Lt. j.g. (SEAL) Joseph R. Kerrey
Army Sgt. 1st Class William M. Bryant
Marine Corps LCPL Richard A. Anderson
Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Pruden
Army Staff Sgt. Franklin D. Miller

Army Sgt. Gary B. Beikirch


Army Sgt. 1st Class Gary L. Littrell
Army Sgt. Brian L. Buker
Army Staff Sgt. John R. Cavaiani
Army 1st Lt. Loren D. Hagen
Navy Lt. (SEAL) Thomas R. Norris
Navy Engineman 2nd Class (SEAL)
Michael E. Thornton
Somalia
Army Master Sgt. Gary I. Gordon
Army Sgt. 1st Class Randall D. Shughart
Iraq - Afghanistan
Navy Lt. (Seal) Michael P. Murphy
Navy Master-at-Arms 2nd Class (SEAL)
Michael Monsoor
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Miller
Army Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry
Army Capt. William D. Swenson

Chapter One:

Heroism

Heroism
Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his
friends.
Jesus
True acts of bravery are really acts
of sacrificial love. Consider the acts
of Army Captain William Swenson
who received the Congressional
Medal of Honor for his acts of
bravery in Afghanistan on
September 8, 2009. While in the

midst of a raging battle, Captain


Swenson carried a wounded
comrade to a medevac helicopter
while under fire, and just before he
returned to the battle to save others,
he took a moment to bend down and
kiss his wounded comrade on the
forehead. His acts of bravery were
really acts of sacrificial love for his
brethren. Greater love hath no man
than this, that a man lay down his
life for his friends; a truer statement
has never been said.
Sacrificial valor is the most
esteemed characteristic in the
warrior class, even more so in
special warfare and elite units. The

men honored in this book were not


only willing to lay down their lives for
their country and countrymen, but
also had dedicated years of their
lives to train their bodies and minds
to become the elite warriors that set
them apart from others in virtually
every way. Dedication to duty and
valor come alive in Into the Fire as
the reader is introduced to the
official Medal of Honor citations of
Americas chosen soldiers and elite
troops.
The Congressional Medal of Honor
is an unrivaled honor. This
exceptional honor is reserved to
acknowledge exemplary acts of

valor, almost unfathomable acts of


bravery, in Americas heroes. Those
who receive this award are set apart
from all others. They are considered
both national heroes and national
treasures. The Medal of Honor is the
highest honor which can be
bestowed for heroism by a grateful
nation. It is reserved for those
Americans whose acts of valor
exceed all expectations of duty.
Throughout this book you will
continually read the phrases
conspicuous gallantry, at the risk
of his own life, and above and
beyond the call of duty. These
terms are a feeble attempt to put

into words the acts these men


performed in the face of
unspeakable horror and against
insurmountable odds. The Medal of
Honor is only awarded to American
servicemen who are the bravest of
the brave.
The men honored in this book come
from a variety of backgrounds. They
have varied social-economic
backgrounds, ethnicity, and
represent both officer and enlisted
personnel. These men volunteered
to become special operations troops
and went through the most
strenuous of selection screening and
the most intense military training

imaginable. They are the men of


Army Special Forces, Army
Rangers, Navy SEALS, Marine
Reconnaissance, and Air Force
special operational units. They are
not only the best of the best, but
also the bravest of the brave.
If a nation is defined by its heroes,
then the United States of America
can revel in its definition. As you
read these official government
citations, try to visualize the scene of
action: the cold of night, the steamy
darkness of a jungle night, the raging
ocean, the swarming masses of an
unstoppable enemy force, the heat
of battle against unbeatable odds.

Honor the sacrifices made by those


who have given their last full
measure on your behalf.

______________________________
John 15:13, American Standard
Bible

Ola Lee Mize


1.
2.

Jump rope 5 minutes


Weighted squats: 4 sets of 7
repetitions
3. Single leg dead lifts: 3 sets of 15
repetitions
4. 30 Pull-ups

5.

Side bridge/plank/side bridge:


Hold each transition for 8 seconds;
4 minutes total
6. 60 Kettlebell swings
7. Jump rope: 75 repetitions
8. 60 Kettlebell swings
9. 30 Curl ups: 8 seconds of
contraction, 4 seconds rest
10. 30 Pull-ups
11. Kettlebell snatch: 15 repetitions
on each side

Meet the Hero


Ola Lee Mize
Born: Aug. 28, 1931

Branch: U.S. Army


Place / Date of Action: Near
Surang-ni, Korea, June 10 to 11,
1953

Citation
M/Sgt. Mize, a member of Company
K, distinguished himself by
conspicuous gallantry and
outstanding courage above and
beyond the call of duty in action
against the enemy. Company K was
committed to the defense of
Outpost Harry, a strategically
valuable position, when the enemy
launched a heavy attack. Learning

that a comrade on a friendly listening


post had been wounded he moved
through the intense barrage,
accompanied by a medical aid man,
and rescued the wounded soldier.
On returning to the main position he
established an effective defense
system and inflicted heavy casualties
against attacks from determined
enemy assault forces which had
penetrated into trenches within the
outpost area. During his fearless
actions he was blown down by
artillery and grenade blasts 3 times
but each time he dauntlessly
returned to his position, tenaciously
fighting and successfully repelling

hostile attacks. When enemy


onslaughts ceased he took his few
men and moved from bunker to
bunker, firing through apertures and
throwing grenades at the foe,
neutralizing their positions. When an
enemy soldier stepped out behind a
comrade, prepared to fire, M/Sgt.
Mize killed him, saving the life of his
fellow soldier. After rejoining the
platoon, moving from man to man,
distributing ammunition, and shouting
words of encouragement he
observed a friendly machine gun
position overrun. He immediately
fought his way to the position, killing
10 of the enemy and dispersing the

remainder. Fighting back to the


command post, and finding several
friendly wounded there, he took a
position to protect them. Later,
securing a radio, he directed friendly
artillery fire upon the attacking
enemys routes of approach. At
dawn he helped regroup for a
counterattack which successfully
drove the enemy from the outpost.
M/Sgt. Mizes valorous conduct and
unflinching courage reflect lasting
glory upon himself and uphold the
noble traditions of the military
service.

Herbert R. Versace
Warm up with a 1 mile run and a set
of 50 pushups. Then the unit forms
a line at the pull-up bar with not

more than 10 in each line.


1. Pull-up ladder: 1 set of 1 pull
ups, followed by a set of 2 pullups, followed by a set of 3 pullups, then 4, then 5, working up to
10.
2. Run 5 miles.

Meet the Hero


Humbert R.
Versace
July 2, 1937Sept. 26, 1965
Branch: U.S. Army
Place / Date of Action: An Xuyen
Province, Republic of Vietnam, Oct.
29, 1963 to Sept. 26, 1965

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above

and beyond the call of duty while a


prisoner of war during the period of
October 29, 1963 to September 26,
1965 in the Republic of Vietnam.
While accompanying a Civilian
Irregular Defense Group patrol
engaged in combat operations in
Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen
Province, Republic of Vietnam on
October 29, 1963, Captain Versace
and the CIDG assault force were
caught in an ambush from intense
mortar, automatic weapons, and
small arms fire from elements of a
reinforced enemy Main Force
battalion. As the battle raged,
Captain Versace fought valiantly and

encouraged his CIDG patrol to


return fire against overwhelming
enemy forces. He provided covering
fire from an exposed position to
enable friendly forces to withdraw
from the killing zone when it was
apparent that their position would be
overrun, and was severely wounded
in the knee and back from automatic
weapons fire and shrapnel. He
stubbornly resisted capture with the
last full measure of his strength and
ammunition. Taken prisoner by the
Viet Cong, he demonstrated
exceptional leadership and resolute
adherence to the tenets of the Code
of Conduct from the time he entered

into a prisoner of war status.


Captain Versace assumed command
of his fellow American prisoners, and
despite being kept locked in irons in
an isolation box, raised their morale
by singing messages to popular
songs of the day, and leaving
inspiring messages at the latrine.
Within three weeks of captivity, and
despite the severity of his untreated
wounds, he attempted the first of
four escape attempts by dragging
himself on his hands and knees out
of the camp through dense swamp
and forbidding vegetation to
freedom. Crawling at a very slow
pace due to his weakened condition,

the guards quickly discovered him


outside the camp and recaptured
him. Captain Versace scorned the
enemy's exhaustive interrogation and
indoctrination efforts, and inspired
his fellow prisoners to resist to the
best of their ability. When he used
his Vietnamese language skills to
protest improper treatment of the
American prisoners by the guards,
he was put into leg irons and gagged
to keep his protestations out of
earshot of the other American
prisoners in the camp. The last time
that any of his fellow prisoners heard
from him, Captain Versace was
singing God Bless America at the

top of his voice from his isolation


box. Unable to break his indomitable
will, his faith in God, and his trust in
the United States of America and his
fellow prisoners, Captain Versace
was executed by the Viet Cong on
September 26, 1965. Captain
Versaces extraordinary heroism,
self-sacrifice, and personal bravery
involving conspicuous risk of life
above and beyond the call of duty
were in keeping with the highest
traditions of the United States Army,
and reflect great credit to himself
and the U.S. Armed Forces.

Roger Hugh C. Donlon


1. Warm up with a 1 mile run.
2. 25 Man makers: use two 25
pound dumbbells

3. Run 3 miles.

Meet the Hero


Roger Hugh C.
Donlon
Born: Jan. 30, 1934
Branch: U.S. Army Special Forces
Place / Date of Action: Near Nam
Dong, Republic of Vietnam, July 6,
1964

Citation (Synopsis)
Capt. Donlon was serving as the
commanding officer of the U.S. Army

Special Forces Detachment A-726


at Camp Nam Dong when a
reinforced Viet Cong battalion
suddenly launched a full-scale,
predawn attack on the camp. During
the violent battle that ensued, lasting
5 hours and resulting in heavy
casualties on both sides, Capt.
Donlon directed the defense
operations in the midst of an enemy
barrage of mortar shells, falling
grenades, and extremely heavy
gunfire. Upon the initial onslaught, he
swiftly marshaled his forces and
ordered the removal of the needed
ammunition from a blazing building.
He then dashed through a hail of

small arms and exploding hand


grenades to abort a breach of the
main gate. En route to this position
he detected an enemy demolition
team of 3 in the proximity of the
main gate and quickly annihilated
them. Although exposed to the
intense grenade attack, he then
succeeded in reaching a 60mm
mortar position despite sustaining a
severe stomach wound as he was
within 5 yards of the gun pit. When
he discovered that most of the men
in this gunpit were also wounded, he
completely disregarded his own
injury, directed their withdrawal to a
location 30 meters away, and again

risked his life by remaining behind


and covering the movement with the
utmost effectiveness. Noticing that
his team sergeant was unable to
evacuate the gun pit he crawled
toward him and, while dragging the
fallen soldier out of the gunpit, an
enemy mortar exploded and inflicted
a wound in Capt. Donlon's left
shoulder. Although suffering from
multiple wounds, he carried the
abandoned 60mm mortar weapon to
a new location 30 meters away
where he found 3 wounded
defenders. After administering first
aid and encouragement to these
men, he left the weapon with them,

headed toward another position, and


retrieved a 57mm recoilless rifle.
Then with great courage and
coolness under fire, he returned to
the abandoned gun pit, evacuated
ammunition for the 2 weapons, and
while crawling and dragging the
urgently needed ammunition,
received a third wound on his leg by
an enemy hand grenade. Without
hesitation, he left this sheltered
position, and moved from position to
position around the beleaguered
perimeter while hurling hand
grenades at the enemy and inspiring
his men to superhuman effort. As he
bravely continued to move around

the perimeter, a mortar shell


exploded, wounding him in the face
and body. As the long awaited
daylight brought defeat to the enemy
forces and their retreat back to the
jungle leaving behind 54 of their
dead, many weapons, and
grenades, Capt. Donlon immediately
reorganized his defenses and
administered first aid to the
wounded. His dynamic leadership,
fortitude, and valiant efforts inspired
not only the American personnel but
the friendly Vietnamese defenders
as well and resulted in the
successful defense of the camp.

Charles Williams
1. 100 Mountain climbers
2. 100 Jumping bends and
thrusts (burpees)
3. 30 Ball slams with 30 pound

ball
4. 30 Curl ups: hold each for 8
seconds
5. One-legged deadlifts: 3
sets of 15 repetitions
6. Farmer's walk: 100 meters
with 60 pounds; 1 set with
each hand
7. 50 Goblet squats with 30
pound dumbbell or kettlebell
8. 100 Kettlebell swings
9. 50 Bar dips
10. Side bridge/plank/side
bridge: Hold each transition 8
seconds for a total of 4 minutes

Meet the Hero


Charles Quincy
Williams
Sept. 17, 1933 Oct. 15, 1982
Branch: U.S. Army Special Forces
Place / Date of Action: Dong Xoai,
Republic of Vietnam, June 9 to 10,
1965

Citation (Synopsis)
1st Lt. Williams was serving as
executive officer of a Special Forces

Detachment when an estimated


Vietcong reinforced regiment struck
the camp and threatened to overrun
it and the adjacent district
headquarters. He awoke personnel,
organized them, determined the
source of the insurgents main effort
and led the troops to their defensive
positions on the south and west
walls. As the insurgents attempted
to scale the walls and as some of
the Vietnamese defenders began to
retreat, he dashed through a
barrage of gunfire, succeeded in
rallying these defenders, and led
them back to their positions.
Although wounded in the thigh and

left leg during this gallant action, he


returned to his position and, upon
being told that communications were
reestablished and that his
commanding officer was seriously
wounded, 1st Lt. Williams took
charge of actions in both
compounds. Then, in an attempt to
reach the communications bunker,
he sustained wounds in the stomach
and right arm from grenade
fragments. As the defensive
positions on the walls had been held
for hours and casualties were
mounting, he ordered the
consolidation of the American
personnel from both compounds to

establish a defense in the district


building. By his courage, he inspired
his team to hold out against the
insurgent force that was closing in
on them and throwing grenades into
the windows of the building. As
daylight arrived and the Vietcong
continued to besiege the stronghold,
firing a machine gun directly south of
the district building, he was
determined to eliminate this menace
that threatened the lives of his men.
Taking a 3.5 rocket launcher and a
volunteer to load it, he worked his
way across open terrain, reached
the berm south of the district
headquarters, and took aim at the

Vietcong machine gun 150 meters


away. Although the sight was faulty,
he succeeded in hitting the machine
gun. While he and the loader were
trying to return to the district
headquarters, they were both
wounded. With a fourth wound, this
time in the right arm and leg, and
realizing he was unable to carry his
wounded comrade back to the
district building, 1st Lt. Williams
pulled him to a covered position and
then made his way back to the
district building where he sought the
help of others who went out and
evacuated the injured soldier.
Although seriously wounded and

tired, he continued to direct the air


strikes closer to the defensive
position. As morning turned to
afternoon and the Vietcong pressed
their effort with direct recoilless rifle
fire into the building, he ordered the
evacuation of the seriously wounded
to the safety of the communications
bunker. When informed that
helicopters would attempt to land as
the hostile gunfire had abated, he
led his team from the building to the
artillery position, making certain of
the timely evacuation of the
wounded from the communications
area, and then on to the pickup
point. Despite resurgent Vietcong

gunfire, he directed the rapid


evacuation of all personnel.

Frank Reasoner
1. 40 meter Bear crawl
2. 100 Kettlebell swings with a

50 pound kettlebell
3. 50 Pull ups
4. 50 Ball slams with a 20
pound ball
5. 100 Kettlebell swings
6. 50 Goblet squats with a 50
pound kettlebell or dumbbell
7. 25 Curl ups
8. 100 Kettlebell swings with a
50 pound kettlebell
9. 50 bar dips
10. Side bridge/plank/side
bridge: hold each transition
for 8 seconds for a total of 4
minutes
11. 40 meter Bear crawl

Meet the Hero


Frank S. Reasoner
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
Recon
Place / Date of Action: Near
Danang, Republic of Vietnam,
July 12, 1965
Died: July 12, 1965

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and

intrepidity at the risk of his life above


and beyond the call of duty while
serving as Commanding Officer,
Company A, 3d Reconnaissance
Battalion, 3d Marine Division in
action against hostile Viet Cong
forces near Danang, Vietnam on 12
July 1965. The reconnaissance
patrol led by First Lieutenant
Reasoner had deeply penetrated
heavily controlled enemy territory
when it came under extremely heavy
fire from an estimated 50 to 100 Viet
Cong insurgents. Accompanying the
advance party and the point that
consisted of five men, he
immediately deployed his men for an

assault after the Viet Cong had


opened fire from numerous
concealed positions. Boldly shouting
encouragement, and virtually
isolated from the main body, he
organized a base of fire for an
assault on the enemy positions. The
slashing fury of the Viet Cong
machine gun and automatic weapons
fire made it impossible for the main
body to move forward. Repeatedly
exposing himself to the devastating
attack he skillfully provided covering
fire, killing at least two Viet Cong
and effectively silencing an
automatic weapons position in a
valiant attempt to effect evacuation

of a wounded man. As casualties


began to mount his radio operator
was wounded and First Lieutenant
Reasoner immediately moved to his
side and tended his wounds. When
the radio operator was hit a second
time while attempting to reach a
covered position, First Lieutenant
Reasoner courageously running to
his aid through the grazing machine
gun fire fell mortally wounded. His
indomitable fighting spirit, valiant
leadership and unflinching devotion
to duty provided the inspiration that
was to enable the patrol to complete
its mission without further casualties.
In the face of almost certain death,

he gallantly gave his life in the


service of his country. His actions
upheld the highest traditions of the
Marine Corps and the United States
Naval Service.

Bernard Francis Fisher


1. Mountain climbers: 100
repetitions
2. Air squats: 50 repetitions
3. Push-ups: 60 repetitions
4. Chin-ups: 20 repetitions

5. One-legged dead lifts: 3


sets of 15 repetitions
6. Push-ups: 50 repetitions
7. Curl ups: 25 repetitions
8. Push-ups: 50 repetitions
9. Side bridge/plank/side
bridge: Hold each transition 8
seconds for a total of 4
minutes
10. Pull-ups: 15 repetitions
11. Run 4 miles

Meet the Hero


Bernard Francis
Fisher
Born: Jan. 11, 1927
Branch: U.S. Air Force
Place / Date of Action: Bien Hoa
and Pleiku, Republic of Vietnam,
March 10, 1966

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above

and beyond the call of duty. On that


date, the special forces camp at A
Shau was under attack by 2,000
North Vietnamese Army regulars.
Hostile troops had positioned
themselves between the airstrip and
the camp. Other hostile troops had
surrounded the camp and were
continuously raking it with automatic
weapons fire from the surrounding
hills. The tops of the 1,500-foot hills
were obscured by an 800 foot
ceiling, limiting aircraft
maneuverability and forcing pilots to
operate within range of hostile gun
positions, which often were able to
fire down on the attacking aircraft.

During the battle, Maj. Fisher


observed a fellow airman crash land
on the battle-torn airstrip. In the
belief that the downed pilot was
seriously injured and in imminent
danger of capture, Maj. Fisher
announced his intention to land on
the airstrip to effect a rescue.
Although aware of the extreme
danger and likely failure of such an
attempt, he elected to continue.
Directing his own air cover, he
landed his aircraft and taxied almost
the full length of the runway, which
was littered with battle debris and
parts of an exploded aircraft. While
effecting a successful rescue of the

downed pilot, heavy ground fire was


observed, with 19 bullets striking his
aircraft. In the face of the withering
ground fire, he applied power and
gained enough speed to lift-off at the
overrun of the airstrip. Maj. Fisher's
profound concern for his fellow
airman, and at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty
are in the highest traditions of the
U.S. Air Force and reflect great
credit upon himself and the Armed
Forces of his country.

Ronald Eric Ray


1. Ruck march with a 60 pound
rucksack and rifle: 8 miles
within 2 hours

Meet the Hero


Ronald Eric Ray
Born: Dec. 7, 1941
Branch: U.S. Army
Place / Date of Action: la
Drang Valley, Republic of
Vietnam, June 19, 1966

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his
life above and beyond the call of
duty. Capt. Ray distinguished himself

while serving as a platoon leader


with Company A. When one of his
ambush patrols was attacked by an
estimated reinforced Viet Cong
company, Capt. Ray organized a
reaction force and quickly moved
through 2 kilometers of mountainous
jungle terrain to the contact area.
After breaking through the hostile
lines to reach the beleaguered
patrol, Capt. Ray began directing
the reinforcement of the site. When
an enemy position pinned down 3 of
his men with a heavy volume of
automatic weapons fire, he silenced
the emplacement with a grenade
and killed 4 Viet Cong with his rifle

fire. As medics were moving a


casualty toward a sheltered position,
they began receiving intense hostile
fire. While directing suppressive fire
on the enemy position, Capt. Ray
moved close enough to silence the
enemy with a grenade. A few
moments later Capt. Ray saw an
enemy grenade land, unnoticed,
near 2 of his men. Without hesitation
or regard for his safety he dove
between the grenade and the men,
thus shielding them from the
explosion while receiving wounds in
his exposed feet and legs. He
immediately sustained additional
wounds in his legs from an enemy

machine gun, but nevertheless he


silenced the emplacement with
another grenade. Although suffering
great pain from his wounds, Capt.
Ray continued to direct his men,
providing the outstanding courage
and leadership they vitally needed,
and prevented their annihilation by
successfully leading them from their
surrounded position. Only after
assuring that his platoon was no
longer in immediate danger did he
allow himself to be evacuated for
medical treatment. By his gallantry
at the risk of his life in the highest
traditions of the military service,
Capt. Ray has reflected great credit

on himself, his unit, and the U.S.


Army.

Jimmie E. Howard
Pool workout requiring a corpsman,
lifeguard, and safety diver.
1. Warm up with a 500 meter swim

of any stroke.
2. Form up two teams. Place two
70 lb kettlebells (do not drop
weights into pool) or weight belts
on the bottom of the deep end of
a training tank or Olympic pool.
Have a supervised relay race
between two teams. The starters
for each team will jump into the
water and pick up the kettlebell or
weight belt and run on the bottom
of the pool for 25 yards or meters
to hand the weight to the waiting
relay member (who will be on the
bottom). If a relay member must
surface they must set the weight
down on the bottom of the pool

while they catch their breath


before resuming the race.
3. The losing team will perform 50
push ups.
4. Everyone swims 1300 meters of
any stroke.

Meet the Hero


Jimmie E. Howard
1929 - 1993
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
Recon
Place / Date of Action:
Republic of Vietnam, July 13-15,
1966

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and

intrepidity at the risk of his own life


above and beyond the call of duty.
G/Sgt. Howard and his 18-man
platoon were occupying an
observation post deep within enemycontrolled territory. Shortly after
midnight a Viet Cong force of
estimated battalion size approached
the Marines' position and launched a
vicious attack with small arms,
automatic weapons, and mortar fire.
Reacting swiftly and fearlessly in the
face of the overwhelming odds,
G/Sgt. Howard skillfully organized
his small but determined force into a
tight perimeter defense and calmly
moved from position to position to

direct his men's fire. Throughout the


night, during assault after assault,
his courageous example and firm
leadership inspired and motivated his
men to withstand the unrelenting fury
of the hostile fire in the seemingly
hopeless situation. He constantly
shouted encouragement to his men
and exhibited imagination and
resourcefulness in directing their
return fire. When fragments of an
exploding enemy grenade wounded
him severely and prevented him from
moving his legs, he distributed his
ammunition to the remaining
members of his platoon and
proceeded to maintain radio

communications and direct air


strikes on the enemy with uncanny
accuracy. At dawn, despite the fact
that 5 men were killed and all but 1
wounded, his beleaguered platoon
was still in command of its position.
When evacuation helicopters
approached his position, G/Sgt.
Howard warned them away and
called for additional air strikes and
directed devastating small-arms fire
and air strikes against enemy
automatic weapons positions in
order to make the landing zone as
secure as possible. Through his
extraordinary courage and resolute
fighting spirit, G/Sgt. Howard was

largely responsible for preventing the


loss of his entire platoon. His valiant
leadership and courageous fighting
spirit served to inspire the men of his
platoon to heroic endeavor in the
face of overwhelming odds, and
reflect the highest credit upon G/Sgt.
Howard, the Marine Corps, and the
U.S. Naval Service.

Jimmie E. Howard (in dive gear)


inserting from the diesel boat the
USS Perch. Pre-MOH days in recon.

James Elliot Williams


Open water swim requiring support
boats, corpsman, and safety
swimmers.

1. Open water fin swim for 2.5


kilometers.

Meet the Hero


James Elliot
Williams
Nov. 13, 1930Oct. 13, 1999
Branch: U.S. Navy
Place / Date of Action:
Mekong River, Republic of
Vietnam, Oct. 31, 1966

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above
and beyond the call of duty. BM1

Williams was serving as Boat


Captain and Patrol Officer aboard
River Patrol Boat (PBR) 105
accompanied by another patrol boat
when the patrol was suddenly taken
under fire by 2 enemy sampans.
BM1 Williams immediately ordered
the fire returned, killing the crew of 1
enemy boat and causing the other
sampan to take refuge in a nearby
river inlet. Pursuing the fleeing
sampan, the U.S. patrol encountered
a heavy volume of small-arms fire
from enemy forces, at close range,
occupying well-concealed positions
along the river bank. Maneuvering
through this fire, the patrol

confronted a numerically superior


enemy force aboard 2 enemy junks
and 8 sampans augmented by heavy
automatic weapons fire from ashore.
In the savage battle that ensued,
BM1 Williams, with utter disregard
for his safety exposed himself to the
withering hail of enemy fire to direct
counter-fire and inspire the actions
of his patrol. Recognizing the
overwhelming strength of the enemy
force, BM1 Williams deployed his
patrol to await the arrival of armed
helicopters. In the course of his
movement he discovered an even
larger concentration of enemy boats.
Not waiting for the arrival of the

armed helicopters, he displayed


great initiative and boldly led the
patrol through the intense enemy fire
and damaged or destroyed 50
enemy sampans and 7 junks. This
phase of the action completed, and
with the arrival of the armed
helicopters, BM1 Williams directed
the attack on the remaining enemy
force. Now virtually dark, and
although BM1 Williams was aware
that his boats would become even
better targets, he ordered the patrol
boats' search lights turned on to
better illuminate the area and moved
the patrol perilously close to shore
to press the attack. Despite a

waning supply of ammunition the


patrol successfully engaged the
enemy ashore and completed the
rout of the enemy force. Under the
leadership of BM1 Williams, who
demonstrated unusual professional
skill and indomitable courage
throughout the 3 hour battle, the
patrol accounted for the destruction
or loss of 65 enemy boats and
inflicted numerous casualties on the
enemy personnel. His extraordinary
heroism and exemplary fighting spirit
in the face of grave risks inspired the
efforts of his men to defeat a larger
enemy force, and are in keeping with
the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval

Service.

George Sisler
Vehicle Push
Break into six man teams. One
man is behind the wheel of a
vehicle to steer, and two others

ride as passengers. Three men


at a time push the car for one
mile. The teams switch places
after the first mile.

Meet the Hero


George Kenton
Sisler
Sept. 19, 1937Feb. 7, 1967
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action:
Republic of Vietnam, Feb. 7,
1967

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and

intrepidity at the risk of his life and


above and beyond the call of duty.
1st Lt. Sisler was the platoon
leader/adviser to a Special United
States/Vietnam exploitation force.
While on patrol deep within enemy
dominated territory, 1st Lt. Sislers
platoon was attacked from 3 sides
by a company sized enemy force.
1st Lt. Sisler quickly rallied his men,
deployed them to a better defensive
position, called for air strikes, and
moved among his men to encourage
and direct their efforts. Learning that
2 men had been wounded and were
unable to pull back to the perimeter,
1st Lt. Sisler charged from the

position through intense enemy fire


to assist them. He reached the men
and began carrying 1 of them back
to the perimeter, when he was taken
under more intensive weapons fire
by the enemy. Laying down his
wounded comrade, he killed 3
onrushing enemy soldiers by firing
his rifle and silenced the enemy
machine gun with a grenade. As he
returned the wounded man to the
perimeter, the left flank of the
position came under extremely
heavy attack by the superior enemy
force and several additional men of
his platoon were quickly wounded.
Realizing the need for instant action

to prevent his position from being


overrun, 1st Lt. Sisler picked up
some grenades and charged singlehandedly into the enemy onslaught,
firing his weapon and throwing
grenades. This singularly heroic
action broke up the vicious assault
and forced the enemy to begin
withdrawing. Despite the continuing
enemy fire, 1st Lt. Sisler was
moving about the battlefield directing
air strikes when he fell mortally
wounded. His extraordinary
leadership, infinite courage, and
selfless concern for his men saved
the lives of a number of his
comrades. His actions reflect great

credit upon himself and uphold the


highest traditions of the military
service.

David Ouellet
1. Warm up with a 1 mile run.
2. Bends and thrusts
(burpees): 30 repetitions.
3. Push-ups: 1 set of 50
repetitions.
4. The unit forms a line at the

pull-up bar, not more than ten


in each line. Pull-up ladder: 1
set of 1 pull ups, followed by
a set of 2 pull-ups, followed
by a set of 3 pull-ups, then 4,
then 5, working up to 10.
5. Curl ups: 30 repetitions.
6. Side bridge/plank/side
bridge: Hold each transition 8
seconds for a total of 4
minutes
7. Run 5 miles.

Meet the Hero


David George
Ouellet
June 13, 1944March 6, 1967
Branch: U.S. Navy
Place / Date of Action:
Mekong River, Republic of
Vietnam, March 6, 1967

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above

and beyond the call of duty while


serving with River Section 532, in
combat against the enemy in the
Republic of Vietnam. As the forward
machine gunner on River Patrol Boat
(PBR) 124, which was on patrol on
the Mekong River during the early
evening hours of March 6, 1967,
Seaman Ouellet observed suspicious
activity near the river bank, alerted
his Boat Captain, and recommended
movement of the boat to the area to
investigate. While the PBR was
making a high-speed run along the
river bank, Seaman Ouellet spotted
an incoming enemy grenade falling
toward the boat. He immediately left

the protected position of his gun


mount and ran aft for the full length
of the speeding boat, shouting to his
fellow crew members to take cover.
Observing the Boat Captain standing
unprotected on the boat, Seaman
Ouellet bounded onto the engine
compartment cover, and pushed the
Boat Captain down to safety. In the
split second that followed the
grenade's landing, and in the face of
certain death, Seaman Ouellet
fearlessly placed himself between
the deadly missile and his
shipmates, courageously absorbing
most of the blast fragments with his
own body in order to protect his

shipmates from injury and death. His


extraordinary heroism and his
selfless and courageous actions on
behalf of his comrades at the
expense of his own life were in the
finest tradition of the United States
Naval Service.

Charles E. Hosking, Jr.


1. Mountain climbers: 1 set of
60 repetitions
2. Box jumps: 4 sets of 10
jumps onto a 24-30 inch

platform
3. Cling and jerk burpee
(burpees while holding a
weight and incorporating a
clean and jerk at the top)
Use a 40-50 lb sandbag with
handles or two 25 pound
hexagonal dumbbells, 25
repetitions
4. Sandbag lunge walk: Place
a sandbag on one shoulder
and lunge walk 50 meters;
switch shoulders and walk an
additional 50 meters
5. Farmer's walk with 70
pounds for 100 meters, then
switch hands and walk an

additional 100 meters


6. Plank for 3 minutes
7. Curl ups: 20 repetitions of 8
seconds

Meet the Hero


Charles Ernest
Hosking, Jr.
May 12, 1924 March 21, 1967
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action: Phuoc
Long Province, Republic of
Vietnam, March 21, 1967

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and

intrepidity in action at the risk of his


life above and beyond the call of
duty. Master Sergeant Hosking (then
Sergeant First Class), Detachment
A-302, Company A, greatly
distinguished himself while serving
as company advisor in the III Corps
Civilian Irregular Defense Group
Reaction Battalion during combat
operations in Don Luan District. A
Viet Cong suspect was apprehended
and subsequently identified as a Viet
Cong sniper. While MSG Hosking
was preparing the enemy for
movement back to the base camp,
the prisoner suddenly grabbed a
hand grenade from MSG Hosking's

belt, armed the grenade, and started


running towards the company
command group which consisted of
2 Americans and 2 Vietnamese who
were standing a few feet away.
Instantly realizing that the enemy
intended to kill the other men, MSG
Hosking immediately leaped upon
the Viet Congs back. With utter
disregard for his personal safety, he
grasped the Viet Cong in a Bear
Hug forcing the grenade against the
enemy soldier's chest. He then
wrestled the Viet Cong to the ground
and covered the enemy's body with
his body until the grenade
detonated. The blast instantly killed

both MSG Hosking and the Viet


Cong. By absorbing the full force of
the exploding grenade with his body
and that of the enemy, he saved the
other members of his command
group from death or serious injury.
MSG Hosking's risk of his life above
and beyond the call of duty are in
the highest tradition of the U.S. Army
and reflect great credit upon himself
and the Armed Forces of his
country.

Gordon Douglas Yntema


1. Run 1 mile at a warm up
pace
2. Rope climb 20 feet
3. Run 1/2 mile
4. Rope climb 20 feet
5. Run 1/2 mile

6. Rope climb 20 feet


7. Run 1/2 mile
8. Rope climb 20 feet
9. Run 1/2 mile
10. Rope climb 20 feet
11. Eight count body builders:
50 repetitions
12. Run 1 mile

Meet the Hero


Gordon Douglas
Yntema
June 26, 1945 Jan. 18, 1968
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action: Near
Thong Binh, Republic of
Vietnam, Jan. 16-18, 1968

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and

intrepidity in action at the risk of his


life above and beyond the call of
duty. Sgt. Yntema, U.S. Army,
distinguished himself while assigned
to Detachment A-431, Company D.
As part of a larger force of civilian
irregulars from Camp Cai Cai, he
accompanied 2 platoons to a
blocking position east of the village
of Thong Binh, where they became
heavily engaged in a small arms fire
fight with the Viet Cong. Assuming
control of the force when the
Vietnamese commander was
seriously wounded, he advanced his
troops to within 50 meters of the
enemy bunkers. After a fierce 30

minute fire fight, the enemy forced


Sgt. Yntema to withdraw his men to
a trench in order to afford them
protection and still perform their
assigned blocking mission. Under
cover of machine gun fire,
approximately 1 company of Viet
Cong maneuvered into a position
which pinned down the friendly
platoons from 3 sides. A dwindling
ammunition supply, coupled with a
Viet Cong mortar barrage which
inflicted heavy losses on the
exposed friendly troops, caused
many of the irregulars to withdraw.
Seriously wounded and ordered to
withdraw himself, Sgt. Yntema

refused to leave his fallen comrades.


Under withering small arms and
machine gun fire, he carried the
wounded Vietnamese commander
and a mortally wounded American
Special Forces advisor to a small
gully 50 meters away in order to
shield them from the enemy fire.
Sgt. Yntema then continued to
repulse the attacking Viet Cong
attempting to overrun his position
until, out of ammunition and
surrounded, he was offered the
opportunity to surrender. Refusing,
Sgt. Yntema stood his ground, using
his rifle as a club to fight the
approximately 15 Viet Cong

attempting his capture. His


resistance was so fierce that the
Viet Cong were forced to shoot in
order to overcome him. Sgt.
Yntema's personal bravery in the
face of insurmountable odds and
supreme self-sacrifice were in
keeping with the highest traditions of
the military service and reflect the
utmost credit upon himself, the 1st
Special Forces, and the U.S. Army.

Drew Dix
1. Bear crawl 100 meters one
direction, then run back to the
starting point.
2. Lunge walk 100 meters, then run

3.

4.

5.
6.
7.
8.

9.

back to starting point.


Side step agility run drill: 25
meters down and back at 50%
speed, 5 times
Farmer's walk down and back
with an ammo can or 30 pound
kettlebell in each hand
Goblet squats with ammo can or
30 pound weight: 50 repetitions
Push-ups: 50 repetitions
Mountain climbers: 100
repetitions
Overhead press of ammo can or
30 pound weight; perform as
many repetitions as possible in 2
minutes
Side bridge/plank/side bridge:

Hold each transition 8 seconds for


a total of 4 minutes
10. Run 3 miles

Meet the Hero


Drew Dennis Dix
Born: Dec. 14, 1944
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action: Chau
Doc Province, Republic of
Vietnam, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1,
1968

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his

life above and beyond the call of


duty. S/Sgt. Dix distinguished himself
by exceptional heroism while serving
as a unit adviser. Two heavily armed
Viet Cong battalions attacked the
Province capital city of Chau Phu
resulting in the complete breakdown
and fragmentation of the defenses of
the city. S/Sgt. Dix, with a patrol of
Vietnamese soldiers, was recalled to
assist in the defense of Chau Phu.
Learning that a nurse was trapped in
a house near the center of the city,
S/Sgt. Dix organized a relief force,
successfully rescued the nurse, and
returned her to the safety of the
Tactical Operations Center. Being

informed of other trapped civilians


within the city, S/Sgt. Dix voluntarily
led another force to rescue 8 civilian
employees located in a building
which was under heavy mortar and
small-arms fire. S/Sgt. Dix then
returned to the center of the city.
Upon approaching a building, he was
subjected to intense automatic rifle
and machine gun fire from an
unknown number of Viet Cong. He
personally assaulted the building,
killing 6 Viet Cong, and rescuing 2
Filipinos. The following day S/Sgt.
Dix, still on his own volition,
assembled a 20- man force and
though under intense enemy fire

cleared the Viet Cong out of the


hotel, theater, and other adjacent
buildings within the city. During this
portion of the attack, Army Republic
of Vietnam soldiers inspired by the
heroism and success of S/Sgt. Dix,
rallied and commenced firing upon
the Viet Cong. S/Sgt. Dix captured
20 prisoners, including a high ranking
Viet Cong official. He then attacked
enemy troops who had entered the
residence of the Deputy Province
Chief and was successful in rescuing
the official's wife and children. S/Sgt.
Dix's personal heroic actions
resulted in 14 confirmed Viet Cong
killed in action and possibly 25 more,

the capture of 20 prisoners, 15


weapons, and the rescue of the 14
United States and free world
civilians. The heroism of S/Sgt. Dix
was in the highest tradition and
reflects great credit upon the U.S.
Army.

Eugene Ashley, Jr.


Three point underwater
compass swim for 3 kilometers

Meet the Hero


Eugene Ashley, Jr.
Oct. 12, 1931 Feb. 7, 1968
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action: Near
Lang Vei, Republic of Vietnam,
Feb. 6 and 7, 1968

Citation
Sfc. Ashley, distinguished himself by
conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity
while serving with Detachment A-

101, Company C. Sfc. Ashley was


the senior special forces advisor of a
hastily organized assault force
whose mission was to rescue
entrapped U.S. special forces
advisors at Camp Lang Vei. During
the initial attack on the special
forces camp by North Vietnamese
army forces, Sfc. Ashley supported
the camp with high explosive and
illumination mortar rounds. When
communications were lost with the
main camp, he assumed the
additional responsibility of directing
air strikes and artillery support. Sfc.
Ashley organized and equipped a
small assault force composed of

local friendly personnel. During the


ensuing battle, Sfc. Ashley led a
total of 5 vigorous assaults against
the enemy, continuously exposing
himself to a voluminous hail of
enemy grenades, machine gun and
automatic weapons fire. Throughout
these assaults, he was plagued by
numerous booby-trapped satchel
charges in all bunkers on his avenue
of approach. During his fifth and final
assault, he adjusted air strikes
nearly on top of his assault element,
forcing the enemy to withdraw and
resulting in friendly control of the
summit of the hill. While exposing
himself to intense enemy fire, he

was seriously wounded by machine


gun fire but continued his mission
without regard for his personal
safety. After the fifth assault he lost
consciousness and was carried from
the summit by his comrades only to
suffer a fatal wound when an enemy
artillery round landed in the area.
Sfc. Ashley displayed extraordinary
heroism in risking his life in an
attempt to save the lives of his
entrapped comrades and
commanding officer. His total
disregard for his personal safety
while exposed to enemy observation
and automatic weapons fire was an
inspiration to all men committed to

the assault. The resolute valor with


which he led 5 gallant charges
placed critical diversionary pressure
on the attacking enemy and his
valiant efforts carved a channel in
the overpowering enemy forces and
weapons positions through which the
survivors of Camp Lang Vei
eventually escaped to freedom. Sfc.
Ashley's bravery at the cost of his
life was in the highest traditions of
the military service, and reflects
great credit upon himself, his unit,
and the U.S. Army.

Terrence Graves
1.
2.

Run 800 meters as a warm-up.


Alternate one set of 10 pull ups
with one set of 25 push ups.
Repeat 4 times.
3. Weighted sled drill: Push a
weighted sled 25 yards, run back,

and then using the rope attached


to the sled, pull the sled back by
hand-over-hand. Repeat five
times.
4. Lunge walk with a barbell held
overhead in one hand for 15 yards,
then switch hands. Rest for one
minute between sets. Perform 3
sets.
5. Battle ropes: 4 minutes of Tabata
(alternating 20 seconds of exercise
and 10 seconds of rest) rope drills.
6. Run 2 miles.

Meet the Hero


Terrence C.
Graves
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
Recon
Died: February 17, 1968
Place / Date of Action:
Republic of Vietnam, February
16-17, 1968

Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and


intrepidity at the risk of his life above
and beyond the call of duty as a
Platoon Commander with the Third
Force Reconnaissance Company,
Third Reconnaissance Battalion,
Third Marine Division, in the Republic
of Vietnam on 16 February 1968.
While on a large-range
reconnaissance mission, Lieutenant
Grave's eight-man patrol observed
seven enemy soldiers approaching
their position. Reacting instantly, he
deployed his men and directed their
fire on the approaching enemy. After
the fire had ceased, he and two
patrol members commenced a

search of the area, and suddenly


came under a heavy volume of
hostile small arms and automatic
weapons fire from a numerically
superior enemy force. When one of
his men was hit by enemy fire,
Lieutenant Graves moved through
the fire-swept area to his radio and,
while directing suppressive fire from
his men, requested air support and
adjusted a heavy volume of artillery
and helicopter gunship fire upon the
enemy. After attending the wounded,
Lieutenant Graves, accompanied by
another Marine, moved from his
relatively safe position to confirm the
results of the earlier engagement.

Observing that several of the enemy


were still alive, he launched a
determined assault, eliminating the
remaining enemy troops. He then
began moving the patrol to a landing
zone for extraction, when the unit
again came under intense fire which
wounded two more Marines and
Lieutenant Graves. Refusing medical
attention, he once more adjusted air
strikes and artillery fire upon the
enemy while directing the fire of his
men. He led his men to a new
landing site into which he skillfully
guided the in-coming aircraft and
boarded his men while remaining
exposed to the hostile fire. Realizing

that one of the wounded had not


embarked, he directed the aircraft to
depart and, along with another
Marine, moved to the side of the
causality. Confronted with a
shortage of ammunition, Lieutenant
Graves utilized supporting arms and
directed fire until a second helicopter
arrived. At this point, the volume of
enemy fire intensified, hitting the
helicopter and causing it to crash
shortly after liftoff. All aboard were
killed. Lieutenant Graves'
outstanding courage, superb
leadership and indomitable fighting
spirit throughout the day were in
keeping with the highest traditions of

the Marine Corps and the United


States Naval Service. He gallantly
gave his life for his country.

Fred Zabitosky
1. Kettlebell swings: 50
repetitions with a 30 pound
kettlebell
2. Push-ups: 40 repetitions
3. Kettlebell swings: 50

4.

5.

6.
7.

repetitions with a 50 pound


kettlebell
Barbell clean and jerk: 30
sets of 1 repetition resting
briefly between each one
performed to allow enough
recovery time to maintain
good form.
Overhead single arm lunge
walk for 25 meters with 45
pounds; switch hands and
repeat for another 25
meters. Perform 2 sets per
side.
Curl ups: 20 repetitions of 8
seconds
Side bridge/plank/side

bridge: Hold each transition 8


seconds for a total of 4
minutes
8. Battle ropes: 4 minutes of
Tabata rope drills (alternating
20 seconds of exercise and
10 seconds of rest)
9. Run 1 mile.

Meet the Hero


Fred William
Zabitosky
Oct. 27, 1942 Jan. 18, 1996
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action:
Republic of Vietnam, Feb. 19,
1968

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and

intrepidity in action at the risk of his


life above and beyond the call of
duty. Sfc. Zabitosky, U.S. Army,
distinguished himself while serving
as an assistant team leader of a 9man Special Forces long-range
reconnaissance patrol. Sfc.
Zabitoskys patrol was operating
deep within enemy controlled
territory when they were attacked by
a numerically superior North
Vietnamese Army unit. Sfc.
Zabitosky rallied his team members,
deployed them into defensive
positions, and, exposing himself to
concentrated enemy automatic
weapons fire, directed their return

fire. Realizing the gravity of the


situation, Sfc. Zabitosky ordered his
patrol to move to a landing zone for
helicopter extraction while he
covered their withdrawal with rifle
fire and grenades. Rejoining the
patrol under increasing enemy
pressure, he positioned each man in
a tight perimeter defense and
continually moved from man to man,
encouraging them and controlling
their defensive fire. Mainly due to his
example, the outnumbered patrol
maintained its precarious position
until the arrival of tactical air support
and a helicopter extraction team. As
the rescue helicopters arrived, the

determined North Vietnamese


pressed their attack. Sfc. Zabitosky
repeatedly exposed himself to their
fire to adjust suppressive helicopter
gunship fire around the landing zone.
After boarding 1 of the rescue
helicopters, he positioned himself in
the door delivering fire on the enemy
as the ship took off. The helicopter
was engulfed in a hail of bullets and
Sfc. Zabitosky was thrown from the
craft as it spun out of control and
crashed. Recovering consciousness,
he ignored his extremely painful
injuries and moved to the flaming
wreckage. Heedless of the danger
of exploding ordnance and fuel, he

pulled the severely wounded pilot


from the searing blaze and made
repeated attempts to rescue his
patrol members but was driven back
by the intense heat. Despite his
serious burns and crushed ribs, he
carried and dragged the unconscious
pilot through a curtain of enemy fire
to within 10 feet of a hovering
rescue helicopter before collapsing.
Sfc. Zabitosky's extraordinary
heroism and devotion to duty were in
keeping with the highest traditions of
the military service and reflect great
credit upon himself, his unit, and the
U.S. Army.

Ralph H. Johnson
Run 9 miles.

Meet the Hero


Ralph H. Johnson
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
Recon
Died: March 5, 1968
Place / Date of Action: Republic of
Vietnam, March 5, 1968

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above

and beyond the call of duty while


serving as a reconnaissance scout
with Company A, First
Reconnaissance Battalion, First
Marine Division in action against the
North Vietnamese Army and Viet
Cong forces in the Republic of
Vietnam. In the early morning hours
of 5 March 1968, during
OPERATION ROCK, First Class
Johnson was a member of a fifteenman reconnaissance patrol manning
an observation post on Hill 146
overlooking the Quan Duc Duc
Valley deep in enemy controlled
territory. They were attacked by a
platoon-size hostile force employing

automatic weapons, satchel charges


and hand grenades. Suddenly a
hand grenade landed in the threeman fighting hole occupied by
Private First Class Johnson and two
fellow Marines. Realizing the
inherent danger to his comrades, he
shouted a warning and unhesitatingly
hurled himself upon the explosive
device. When the grenade exploded,
Private First Class Johnson
absorbed the tremendous impact of
the blast and was killed instantly. His
prompt and heroic act saved the life
of one Marine at the cost of his own
and undoubtedly prevented the
enemy from penetrating his sector of

the patrol's perimeter. Private First


Class Johnson's courage inspiring
valor and selfless devotion to duty
were in keeping with the highest
traditions of the Marine Corps and
the United States Naval Service. He
gallantly gave his life for his country.

Roy Benavidez
1. Warm up with 1 mile run.
2. Air squats: 50 repetitions
3. Kettlebell swings: 50
repetitions with a 50 pound
kettlebell
4. Goblet squats: 50

repetitions with a 50 pound


kettlebell
5. Kettlebell snatches: 4 sets
of 15 repetitions
6. 12 Shrugs with 240-300
pounds followed by 5
deadlifts without setting the
bar down. Perform 4 sets.
7. 50 Goblet squats with a 50
pound kettlebell
8. 50 kettlebell swings with a
50 pound kettlebell
9. 50 air squats
10. One set of maximum pullups, then one set of
maximum push-ups
11. Curl ups: 20 repetitions

12. Side bridge: Hold 1 minute


on each side
13. Run 2 miles

Meet the Hero


Roy Perez
Benavidez
August 5, 1935 Nov. 29, 1998
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action: West of
Loc Ninh, Republic of Vietnam,
May 2, 1968

Citation (Synopsis)
A 12-man Special Forces
Reconnaissance Team was inserted

by helicopters in a dense jungle area


west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam. The
team met heavy enemy resistance,
and requested emergency
extraction. Benavidez was at the
Forward Operating Base monitoring
the operation by radio when these
helicopters returned to off-load
wounded crew members. Benavidez
voluntarily boarded a returning
aircraft to assist in another
extraction attempt. Realizing that all
the team members were either dead
or wounded and unable to move to
the pickup zone, he directed the
aircraft to a nearby clearing where
he jumped from the hovering

helicopter, and ran approximately 75


meters under withering small arms
fire to the crippled team. Prior to
reaching the teams position he was
wounded in his right leg, face, and
head. Despite these painful injuries,
he took charge, repositioning the
team members and directing their
fire to facilitate the landing of an
extraction aircraft, and the loading of
wounded and dead team members.
He then threw smoke canisters to
direct the aircraft to the teams
position. Despite his severe wounds
and under intense enemy fire, he
carried and dragged half of the
wounded team members to the

awaiting aircraft. As the enemys


fire intensified, he hurried to recover
the body and classified documents
on the dead team leader. When he
reached the leader's body,
Benavidez was severely wounded by
small arms fire in the abdomen and
grenade fragments in his back. At
nearly the same moment, the aircraft
pilot was mortally wounded, and his
helicopter crashed. Although in
extremely critical condition due to his
multiple wounds, Benavidez secured
the classified documents and made
his way back to the wreckage,
where he aided the wounded out of
the overturned aircraft, and gathered

the stunned survivors into a


defensive perimeter. Facing a
buildup of enemy opposition,
Benavidez mustered his strength,
began calling in tactical air strikes
and directed the fire from supporting
gunships to suppress the enemys
fire and so permit another extraction
attempt. He was wounded again in
his thigh by small arms fire while
administering first aid to a wounded
team member just before another
extraction helicopter was able to
land. His indomitable spirit kept him
going as he began to ferry his
comrades to the craft. On his
second trip with the wounded, he

was clubbed with additional wounds


to his head and arms before killing
his adversary. He then continued
under devastating fire to carry the
wounded to the helicopter. Upon
reaching the aircraft, he spotted and
killed two enemy soldiers who were
rushing the craft. With little strength
remaining, he made one last trip to
the perimeter to ensure that all
classified material had been
collected or destroyed, and to bring
in the remaining wounded. Only then,
in extremely serious condition from
numerous wounds and loss of blood,
did he allow himself to be pulled into
the extraction aircraft. Benavidez

gallant choice to join voluntarily his


comrades who were in critical
straits, to expose himself constantly
to withering enemy fire, and his
refusal to be stopped, saved the
lives of at least eight men.

Joe Jackson
Breath-hold drills:
Lie down in a darkened room; if
possible be hooked up to a vital
signs machine (pulse, blood
pressure, O2 saturation, and

respiration rate). Using


diaphragmatic breathing and
purposeful relaxation
techniques, try to slow your
pulse rate, respiration, and
lower your blood pressure while
keeping your O2 saturation rate
at or near 100%. Perform this
exercise for 10 minutes; then
perform a relaxed breath-hold
attempt for time while striving to
remain relaxed and maintain a
suppressed heart rate. Repeat
for three attempts.

Meet the Hero


Joe Madison
Jackson
Born: March 14, 1923
Branch: U.S. Air Forces
Place / Date of Action: Kham
Duc, Republic of Vietnam, May
12, 1968

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his

life above and beyond the call of


duty. Lt. Col. Jackson distinguished
himself as pilot of a C123 aircraft.
Lt. Col. Jackson volunteered to
attempt the rescue of a 3-man USAF
Combat Control Team from the
Special Forces camp at Kham Duc.
Hostile forces had overrun the
forward outpost and established gun
positions on the airstrip. They were
raking the camp with small arms,
mortars, light and heavy automatic
weapons, and recoilless rifle fire.
The camp was engulfed in flames
and ammunition dumps were
continuously exploding and littering
the runway with debris. In addition,

eight aircraft had been destroyed by


the intense enemy fire and one
aircraft remained on the runway
reducing its usable length to only
2,200 feet. To further complicate the
landing, the weather was
deteriorating rapidly, thereby
permitting only one air strike prior to
his landing. Although fully aware of
the extreme danger and likely failure
of such an attempt. Lt. Col. Jackson
elected to land his aircraft and
attempt to rescue. Displaying superb
airmanship and extraordinary
heroism, he landed his aircraft near
the point where the combat control
team was reported to be hiding.

While on the ground, his aircraft was


the target of intense hostile fire. A
rocket landed in front of the nose of
the aircraft but failed to explode.
Once the combat control team was
aboard, Lt. Col. Jackson succeeded
in getting airborne despite the hostile
fire directed across the runway in
front of his aircraft. Lt. Col.
Jackson's profound concern for his
fellow men, at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty
are in keeping with the highest
traditions of the U.S. Air Force and
reflect great credit upon himself, and
the Armed Forces of his country.

James Kedenburg
Pool workouts require lifeguards
and medical support.
1. Warm up with a 300 meter
swim using underwater
recovery strokes.

2. Enter the pool and form


squads of 8-12 into a circle
and tread water. Take a 2030 pound kettlebell and pass
it from person to person while
treading water. Continue for
20 minutes.
3. Swim 500 meters of breast
stroke or side stroke.

Meet the Hero


John James
Kedenburg
July 31, 1946 June 14, 1968
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action:
Republic of Vietnam, June 13,
1968

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and

intrepidity in action at the risk of his


life above and beyond the call of
duty. Sp5 Kedenburg, U.S. Army,
Command and Control Detachment
North, Forward Operating Base 2,
5th Special Forces Group
(Airborne), distinguished himself
while serving as advisor to a longrange reconnaissance team of South
Vietnamese irregular troops. The
teams mission was to conduct
counter-guerrilla operations deep
within enemy-held territory. Prior to
reaching the days objective, the
team was attacked and encircled by
a battalionsize North Vietnamese
Army force. Sp5 Kedenburg

assumed immediate command of the


team which succeeded, after a
fierce fight, in breaking out of the
encirclement. As the team moved
through thick jungle to a position
from which it could be extracted by
helicopter, Sp5 Kedenburg
conducted a gallant rear guard fight
against the pursuing enemy and
called for tactical air support and
rescue helicopters. His withering fire
against the enemy permitted the
team to reach a preselected landing
zone with the loss of only 1 man,
who was unaccounted for. Once in
the landing zone, Sp5 Kedenburg
deployed the team into a perimeter

defense against the numerically


superior enemy force. When tactical
air support arrived, he skillfully
directed air strikes against the
enemy, suppressing their fire so that
helicopters could hover over the
area and drop slings to be used in
the extraction of the team. After half
of the team was extracted by
helicopter, Sp5 Kedenburg and the
remaining 3 members of the team
harnessed themselves to the sling on
a second hovering helicopter. Just
as the helicopter was to lift them out
of the area, the South Vietnamese
team member who had been
unaccounted for after the initial

encounter with the enemy appeared


in the landing zone. Sp5 Kedenburg
unhesitatingly gave up his place in
the sling to the man and directed the
helicopter pilot to leave the area. He
then continued to engage the enemy
who were swarming into the landing
zone, killing 6 enemy soldiers before
he was overpowered. Sp5
Kedenburgs inspiring leadership,
consummate courage and willing
self-sacrifice permitted his small
team to inflict heavy casualties on
the enemy and escape almost
certain annihilation. His actions
reflect great credit upon himself and
the U.S. Army.

William Atkinson Jones, III


Squats, Push-up, Pull-up
Countdown
1. 100 air squats-10 pull-ups
2. 75 air squats-30 push-ups
3. 50 air squats-15 pull-ups
4. 25 air squats-50 push-ups

5. Walk mile
6. Run 5 miles

Meet the Hero


William Atkinson
Jones, III
May 31, 1922 - Nov. 15, 1969
Branch: U.S. Air Forces
Place / Date of Action: Near
Dong Hoi, North Vietnam, Sept.
1, 1968

Citation(Synopsis)
Col. Jones distinguished himself as
the pilot of an A-1H Skyraider

aircraft near Dong Hoi, North


Vietnam. On that day, as the onscene commander in the attempted
rescue of a downed U.S. pilot, Col.
Jones' aircraft was repeatedly hit by
heavy and accurate antiaircraft fire.
On one of his low passes, Col.
Jones felt an explosion beneath his
aircraft and his cockpit rapidly filled
with smoke. With complete
disregard of the possibility that his
aircraft might still be burning, he
unhesitatingly continued his search
for the downed pilot. On this pass,
he sighted the survivor and a
multiple-barrel gun position firing at
him from near the top of a karst

formation. He could not attack the


gun position on that pass for fear he
would endanger the downed pilot.
Leaving himself exposed to the gun
position, Col. Jones attacked the
position with cannon and rocket fire
on 2 successive passes. On his
second pass, the aircraft was hit
with multiple rounds of automatic
weapons fire. One round impacted
the Yankee Extraction System
rocket mounted directly behind the
headrest, igniting the rocket. His
aircraft was observed to burst into
flames in the center fuselage
section, with flames engulfing the
cockpit area. He pulled the

extraction handle, jettisoning the


canopy. The influx of fresh air made
the fire burn with greater intensity for
a few moments, but since the rocket
motor had already burned, the
extraction system did not pull Col.
Jones from the aircraft. Despite
searing pains from severe burns
sustained on his arms, hands, neck,
shoulders, and face, Col. Jones
pulled his aircraft into a climb and
attempted to transmit the location of
the downed pilot and the enemy gun
position to the other aircraft in the
area. His calls were blocked by
other aircraft transmissions
repeatedly directing him to bail out

and within seconds his transmitters


were disabled and he could receive
only on 1 channel. Completely
disregarding his injuries, he elected
to fly his crippled aircraft back to his
base and pass on essential
information for the rescue rather
than bail out. Col. Jones successfully
landed his heavily damaged aircraft
and passed the information to a
debriefing officer while on the
operating table. As a result of his
heroic actions and complete
disregard for his personal safety, the
downed pilot was rescued later in
the day.

Laszlo Rabel
Ten rounds for time (of pushups, pull-ups, and squats)
1. 10 push-ups
2. 5 pull-ups
3. 20 squats

Rest 5 minutes.
Run 4 miles.

Meet the Hero


Laszlo Rabel
Sept. 21, 1937 Nov. 13, 1968
Branch: U.S. Army Ranger
Place / Date of Action: Binh
Dinh Province, Republic of
Vietnam, Nov. 13, 1968

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his
life above and beyond the call of
duty. S/Sgt. Rabel distinguished

himself while serving as leader of


Team Delta, 74th Infantry
Detachment. At 1000 hours on this
date, Team Delta was in a defensive
perimeter conducting
reconnaissance of enemy trail
networks when a member of the
team detected enemy movement to
the front. As S/Sgt. Rabel and a
comrade prepared to clear the area,
he heard an incoming grenade as it
landed in the midst of the team's
perimeter. With complete disregard
for his life, S/Sgt. Rabel threw
himself on the grenade and, covering
it with his body, received the
complete impact of the immediate

explosion. Through his indomitable


courage, complete disregard for his
safety and profound concern for his
fellow soldiers, S/Sgt. Rabel averted
the loss of life and injury to the other
members of Team Delta. By his
gallantry at the cost of his life in the
highest traditions of the military
service, S/Sgt. Rabel has reflected
great credit upon himself, his unit,
and the U.S. Army.

James Fleming
Rucksack Appreciation Workout
1. Load a rucksack with 50
pounds
2. Press or jerk the rucksack
overhead with one hand and

3.

4.
5.

6.
7.

lunge walk for 16 steps


Switch hands and lunge
walk with the other hand for
16 steps
Put the rucksack on and
bear crawl for 50 meters
Stand up and perform 50
squats with the rucksack still
on
Drop down and perform 50
push-ups
March with the rucksack on
for 6 miles within 1 hours

Meet the Hero


James Phillip
Fleming
Born: March 12, 1943
Branch: U.S. Air Forcer
Place / Date of Action: Near
Duc Co, Republic of Vietnam,
Nov. 26, 1968

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his

life above and beyond the call of


duty. Capt. Fleming (then 1st Lt.)
distinguished himself as the Aircraft
Commander of a UH-1F transport
Helicopter. Capt. Fleming went to
the aid of a 6-man special forces
long range reconnaissance patrol
that was in danger of being overrun
by a large, heavily armed hostile
force. Despite the knowledge that 1
helicopter had been downed by
intense hostile fire, Capt. Fleming
descended, and balanced his
helicopter on a river bank with the
tail boom hanging over open water.
The patrol could not penetrate to the
landing site and he was forced to

withdraw. Dangerously low on fuel,


Capt. Fleming repeated his original
landing maneuver. Disregarding his
own safety, he remained in this
exposed position. Hostile fire
crashed through his windscreen as
the patrol boarded his helicopter.
Capt. Fleming made a successful
takeoff through a barrage of hostile
fire and recovered safely at a
forward base. Capt. Fleming's
profound concern for his fellowmen,
and at the risk of his life above and
beyond the call of duty are in
keeping with the highest traditions of
the U.S. Air Force and reflect great
credit upon himself and the Armed

Forces of his country.

Robert Lewis Howard


1. Three sets of 12 one arm
deadlifts per arm
2. Alternate planking and side
bridges: 30 seconds per
plank or bridge for five
minutes total

3. Rope climb: 5 sets of


climbing a 20 foot rope (if no
rope is available substitute 5
sets of 10 towel pull-ups)
4. 50 push-ups
5. Run 3 miles with a goal of
running a 6:30 minute/mile
pace or faster

Meet the Hero


Robert Lewis
Howard
July 11, 1939 Dec. 23, 2009
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action:
Republic of Vietnam, Dec. 30,
1968

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and

intrepidity in action at the risk of his


life above and beyond the call of
duty. 1st Lt. Howard (then Sfc.),
distinguished himself while serving
as platoon sergeant of an AmericanVietnamese platoon which was on a
mission to rescue a missing
American soldier in enemy controlled
territory in the Republic of Vietnam.
The platoon had left its helicopter
landing zone and was moving out on
its mission when it was attacked by
an estimated 2-company force.
During the initial engagement, 1st Lt.
Howard was wounded and his
weapon destroyed by a grenade
explosion. 1st Lt. Howard saw his

platoon leader had been wounded


seriously and was exposed to fire.
Although unable to walk, and
weaponless, 1st Lt. Howard
unhesitatingly crawled through a hail
of fire to retrieve his wounded
leader. As 1st Lt. Howard was
administering first aid and removing
the officer's equipment, an enemy
bullet struck 1 of the ammunition
pouches on the lieutenant's belt,
detonating several magazines of
ammunition. 1st Lt. Howard
momentarily sought cover and then
realizing that he must rejoin the
platoon, which had been
disorganized by the enemy attack,

he again began dragging the


seriously wounded officer toward the
platoon area. Through his
outstanding example of indomitable
courage and bravery, 1st Lt. Howard
was able to rally the platoon into an
organized defense force. With
complete disregard for his safety,
1st Lt. Howard crawled from
position to position, administering
first aid to the wounded, giving
encouragement to the defenders and
directing their fire on the encircling
enemy. For 312 hours 1st Lt.
Howard's small force and supporting
aircraft successfully repulsed enemy
attacks and finally were in sufficient

control to permit the landing of


rescue helicopters. 1st Lt. Howard
personally supervised the loading of
his men and did not leave the bulletswept landing zone until all were
aboard safely. 1st Lt. Howards
gallantry in action, his complete
devotion to the welfare of his men at
the risk of his life were in keeping
with the highest traditions of the
military service and reflect great
credit on himself, his unit, and the
U.S. Army.

Robert L. Law
As many repetitions as possible
(AMRAP) in 20 minutes:
1. Rope climb 20 feet (may
substitute 10 rope or towel
pull-ups for rope climb)
2. Run 400 meters

3. Push-ups: 30 repetitions

Meet the Hero


Robert David Law
Sept. 15, 1944 Feb. 22, 1969
Branch: U.S. Army Ranger
Place / Date of Action: Tinh Phuoc
Thanh province, Republic of
Vietnam, Feb. 22 1969

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his
life above and beyond the call of
duty. Sp4 Law distinguished himself

while serving with Company I. While


on a long-range reconnaissance
patrol in Tinh Phuoc Thanh province,
Sp4 Law and 5 comrades made
contact with a small enemy patrol.
As the opposing elements
exchanged intense fire, he
maneuvered to a perilously exposed
position flanking his comrades and
began placing suppressive fire on
the hostile troops. Although his team
was hindered by a low supply of
ammunition and suffered from an
unidentified irritating gas in the air,
Sp4 Law's spirited defense and
challenging counter assault rallied his
fellow soldiers against the well-

equipped hostile troops. When an


enemy grenade landed in his team's
position, Sp4 Law, instead of diving
into the safety of a stream behind
him, threw himself on the grenade to
save the lives of his comrades. Sp4
Law's extraordinary courage and
profound concern for his fellow
soldiers were in keeping with the
highest traditions of the military
service and reflect great credit on
himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

John L. Levitow
As many repetitions as possible
(AMRAP) in 20 minutes:
1. Ball slams: 10 repetitions
with a 20 pound ball
2. Eight count body builders:

10 repetitions
3. Chin ups: 8 repetitions
4. Run 400 meters

Meet the Hero


John L. Levitow
Nov. 1, 1945-Nov. 8, 2000
Branch: U.S. Air Force
Place / Date of Action: Long
Binh, Republic of Vietnam, Feb.
24, 1969

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his
life above and beyond the call of
duty. Sgt. Levitow (then A1c.), U.S.

Air Force, distinguished himself by


exceptional heroism while assigned
as a loadmaster aboard an AC-47
aircraft flying a night mission in
support of Long Binh Army post.
Sgt. Levitow's aircraft was struck by
a hostile mortar round. The resulting
explosion ripped a hole 2 feet in
diameter through the wing and
fragments made over 3,500 holes in
the fuselage. All occupants of the
cargo compartment were wounded
and helplessly slammed against the
floor and fuselage. The explosion
tore an activated flare from the
grasp of a crew member who had
been launching flares to provide

illumination for Army ground troops


engaged in combat. Sgt. Levitow,
though stunned by the concussion of
the blast and suffering from over 40
fragment wounds in the back and
legs, staggered to his feet and
turned to assist the man nearest to
him who had been knocked down
and was bleeding heavily. As he was
moving his wounded comrade
forward and away from the opened
cargo compartment door, he saw
the smoking flare ahead of him in the
aisle. Realizing the danger involved
and completely disregarding his own
wounds, Sgt. Levitow started toward
the burning flare. The aircraft was

partially out of control and the flare


was rolling wildly from side to side.
Sgt. Levitow struggled forward
despite the loss of blood from his
many wounds and the partial loss of
feeling in his right leg. Unable to
grasp the rolling flare with his hands,
he threw himself bodily upon the
burning flare. Hugging the deadly
device to his body, he dragged
himself back to the rear of the
aircraft and hurled the flare through
the open cargo door. At that instant
the flare separated and ignited in the
air, but clear of the aircraft. Sgt.
Levitow, by his selfless and heroic
actions, saved the aircraft and its

entire crew from certain death and


destruction. Sgt. Levitow's gallantry,
his profound concern for his
fellowmen, at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty
are in keeping with the highest
traditions of the U.S. Air Force and
reflect great credit upon himself and
the Armed Forces of his country.

Robert H. Jenkins, Jr.


Pool workouts require lifeguards
and medical support.

1. Warm up with a 300 meter


swim using underwater
recovery strokes
2. At your own pace and under
the supervision of a lifeguard,
perform a 25 meter breathhold swim. After arriving at
the far wall, grip the lip of the
pool and remain underwater
for a count of ten before
surfacing. Recover fully and
repeat nine times.
3. Form a circle in the deep
end of the pool and tread
water. Pass a 20 pound
weight from person to person
in the pool, keeping the

kettlebell from sinking. Better


yet, keep the weight totally
out of the water. Keep the
drill going for 10 minutes.
4. Swim 1200 meters any
stroke

Meet the Hero


Robert H. Jenkins,
Jr.
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
Recon
Died: March 5, 1969
Place / Date of Action: Republic of
Vietnam, March 5, 1969

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above
and beyond the call of duty while
serving as a Marine Gunner with
Company C, Third Reconnaissance
Battalion, Third Marine Division in
connection with operations against
enemy forces in the Republic of
Vietnam. Early on the morning of 5
March 1969, Private First Class
Jenkins' twelve-man reconnaissance
team was occupying a defensive
position at Fire Support Base
Argonne south of the Demilitarized
Zone. Suddenly, the Marines were

assaulted by a North Vietnamese


Army Platoon employing mortars,
automatic weapons and hand
grenades. Reacting instantly, Private
First Class Jenkins and another
Marine quickly moved into a twoman fighting emplacement, and as
they boldly delivered accurate
machine gun fire against the enemy,
a North Vietnamese soldier threw a
hand grenade into the friendly
emplacement. Fully realizing the
inevitable results of his action,
Private First Class Jenkins quickly
seized his comrade, and pushing the
man to the ground, he leaped on top
of the Marine to shield him from the

explosion. Private First Class


Jenkins was seriously injured and
subsequently succumbed to his
wounds. His courage, inspiring valor
and selfless devotion to duty saved
a fellow Marine from serious injury
or possible death and upheld the
highest traditions of the Marine
Corps and the United States Naval
Service. He gallantly gave his life for
his country.

Joseph R. Kerry
1. Maximum pull-ups: 1 set
2. Maximum push-ups: 1 set
3. Alternate planking and side
bridges: 30 seconds per
plank or bridge for 5 minutes
total

4. Fin swim in the ocean for 2


kilometers

Meet the Hero


Joseph Robert
Kerrey
Born: Aug. 27, 1943
Branch: U.S. Navy SEAL
Place / Date of Action: Near
Nha Trang Bay, Republic of
Vietnam, March 14, 1969

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above

and beyond the call of duty while


serving as a SEAL team leader
during action against enemy
aggressor (Viet Cong) forces. Acting
in response to reliable intelligence,
Lt. (j.g.) Kerrey led his SEAL team
on a mission to capture important
members of the enemys area
political cadre known to be located
on an island in the bay of Nha Trang.
In order to surprise the enemy, he
and his team scaled a 350-foot
sheer cliff to place themselves
above the ledge on which the enemy
was located. Splitting his team in 2
elements and coordinating both, Lt.
(jg.) Kerrey led his men in the

treacherous downward descent to


the enemys camp. Just as they
neared the end of their descent,
intense enemy fire was directed at
them, and Lt. (jg.) Kerrey received
massive injuries from a grenade that
exploded at his feet and threw him
backward onto the jagged rocks.
Although bleeding profusely and
suffering great pain, he displayed
outstanding courage and presence
of mind in immediately directing his
element's fire into the heart of the
enemy camp. Utilizing his radio, Lt.
(jg.) Kerrey called in the second
elements fire support, which caught
the confused Viet Cong in a

devastating crossfire. After


successfully suppressing the
enemys fire, and although
immobilized by his multiple wounds,
he continued to maintain calm,
superlative control as he ordered his
team to secure and defend an
extraction site. Lt. (jg.) Kerrey
resolutely directed his men, despite
his near unconscious state, until he
was eventually evacuated by
helicopter. The havoc brought to the
enemy by this very successful
mission cannot be over-estimated.
The enemy soldiers who were
captured provided critical intelligence
to the allied effort. Lt. (jg.) Kerreys

courageous and inspiring leadership,


valiant fighting spirit, and tenacious
devotion to duty in the face of almost
overwhelming opposition sustain and
enhance the finest traditions of the
U.S. Naval Service.

William Maud Bryant


As many repetitions as possible
(AMRAP) in 30 minutes:
1. Pull-ups: 6 repetitions
2. Push-ups: 10 repetitions
3. Air squats: 15 repetitions

4. Run 400 meters

Meet the Hero


William Maud
Bryant
Feb. 16, 1933 March 24,
1969
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action: Long
Khanh Province, Republic of
Vietnam, March 24, 1969

Citation (Synopsis)
Sfc. Bryant, assigned to Company

A, distinguished himself while serving


as commanding officer of Civilian
Irregular Defense Group Company
321, 2d Battalion, 3d Mobile Strike
Force Command, during combat
operations. The battalion came
under heavy fire and became
surrounded by the elements of 3
enemy regiments. Sfc. Bryant
displayed extraordinary heroism
throughout the succeeding 34 hours
of incessant attack as he moved
throughout the company position
heedless of the intense hostile fire
while establishing and improving the
defensive perimeter, directing fire
during critical phases of the battle,

distributing ammunition, assisting the


wounded, and providing the
leadership and inspirational example
of courage to his men. When a
helicopter drop of ammunition was
made to re-supply the beleaguered
force, Sfc. Bryant with complete
disregard for his safety ran through
the heavy enemy fire to retrieve the
scattered ammunition boxes and
distributed needed ammunition to his
men. During a lull in the intense
fighting, Sfc. Bryant led a patrol
outside the perimeter to obtain
information of the enemy. The patrol
came under intense automatic
weapons fire and was pinned down.

Sfc. Bryant single-handedly repulsed


1 enemy attack on his small force
and by his heroic action inspired his
men to fight off other assaults.
Seeing a wounded enemy soldier
some distance from the patrol
location, Sfc. Bryant crawled
forward alone under heavy fire to
retrieve the soldier for intelligence
purposes. Finding that the enemy
soldier had expired, Sfc. Bryant
crawled back to his patrol and led
his men back to the company
position where he again took
command of the defense. As the
siege continued, Sfc. Bryant
organized and led a patrol in a

daring attempt to break through the


enemy encirclement. The patrol had
advanced some 200 meters by
heavy fighting when it was pinned
down by the intense automatic
weapons fire from heavily fortified
bunkers and Sfc. Bryant was
severely wounded. Despite his
wounds he rallied his men, called for
helicopter gunship support, and
directed heavy suppressive fire upon
the enemy positions. Following the
last gunship attack, Sfc. Bryant
fearlessly charged an enemy
automatic weapons position,
overrunning it, and single-handedly
destroying its 3 defenders. Inspired

by his heroic example, his men


renewed their attack on the
entrenched enemy. While regrouping
his small force for the final assault
against the enemy, Sfc. Bryant fell
mortally wounded by an enemy
rocket.

Richard A. Anderson
Run-swim-run:
1. Run 2 miles while carrying swim
gear (fins, mask, life vest)

2. Fin swim 3 kilometers


3. Run 2 miles

Meet the Hero


Richard A.
Anderson
Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
Recon
Died: August 24, 1969
Place / Date of Action:
Republic of Vietnam, August 24,
1969

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above
and beyond the call of duty while
serving as a Assistant Fire Team
Leader with Company E, Third
Reconnaissance Battalion, Third
Marine Division, in connection with
combat operations against an armed
enemy in the Republic of Vietnam.
While conducting a patrol during the
early morning hours of 24 August
1969, Lance Corporal Anderson's
reconnaissance team came under a
heavy volume of automatic weapons
and machine-gun fire from a
numerically superior and well-

concealed enemy force. Although


painfully wounded in both legs and
knocked to the ground during the
initial moments of the fierce fire fight,
Lance Corporal Anderson assumed
a prone position and continued to
deliver intense suppressive fire in an
attempt to repulse the attackers.
Moments later he was wounded a
second time by an enemy soldier
who had approached to within eight
feet of the team's position.
Undaunted, he continued to pour a
relentless stream of fire at the
assaulting unit, even while a
companion was treating his leg
wounds. Observing an enemy

grenade land between himself and


the other Marine, Lance Corporal
Anderson immediately rolled over
and covered the lethal weapon with
his body, absorbing the full effects of
the detonation. By his indomitable
courage, inspiring initiative, and
selfless devotion to duty, Lance
Corporal Anderson was instrumental
in saving several Marines from
serious injury or possible death. His
actions were in keeping with the
highest traditions of the Marine
Corps and of the United States
Naval Service. He gallantly gave his
life in the service of his country.

Robert J. Pruden
1. Clean and jerks: 15 sets of
2 repetitions
2. Box jumps on a 30 inch
box: 4 sets of 10 repetitions
3. One arm deadlifts: 3 sets

of 15 repetitions per arm


4. Sandbag lunge walk with 50
pound sandbags: 40 meters
per side; 3 sets
5. Sled pushes and pulls.
Load the sled with 300
pounds. Push the sled 25
yards while dragging a 25
yard rope, run back, and pull
the sled back hand-overhand. Repeat 5 times.

Meet the Hero


Robert Joseph
Pruden
Sept. 9, 1949 Nov. 29, 1969
Branch: U.S. Army Ranger
Place / Date of Action: Quang
Ngai Province, Republic of
Vietnam, Nov. 29, 1969

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his

life above and beyond the call of


duty. S/Sgt. Pruden, Company G,
distinguished himself while serving
as a reconnaissance team leader
during an ambush mission. The
6man team was inserted by
helicopter into enemy controlled
territory to establish an ambush
position and to obtain information
concerning enemy movements. As
the team moved into the preplanned
area, S/Sgt. Pruden deployed his
men into 2 groups on the opposite
sides of a well used trail. As the
groups were establishing their
defensive positions, 1 member of the
team was trapped in the open by the

heavy fire from an enemy squad.


Realizing that the ambush position
had been compromised, S/Sgt.
Pruden directed his team to open
fire on the enemy force.
Immediately, the team came under
heavy fire from a second enemy
element. S/Sgt. Pruden, with full
knowledge of the extreme danger
involved, left his concealed position
and, firing as he ran, advanced
toward the enemy to draw the
hostile fire. He was seriously
wounded twice but continued his
attack until he fell for a third time, in
front of the enemy positions. S/Sgt.
Pruden's actions resulted in several

enemy casualties and withdrawal of


the remaining enemy force. Although
grievously wounded, he directed his
men into defensive positions and
called for evacuation helicopters,
which safely withdrew the members
of the team. S/Sgt. Pruden's
outstanding courage, selfless
concern for the welfare of his men,
and intrepidity in action at the cost of
his life were in keeping with the
highest traditions of the military
service and reflect great credit upon
himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Franklin D. Miller
Vehicle push: With a driver in a
vehicle, two men push the car
for 200 meters, then they are
replaced by another two man
team. The teams switch places
every 200 meters until they have

completed 2600 meters.

Meet the Hero


Franklin Douglas
Miller
Jan. 27, 1945June 30, 2000
Branch: U.S. Army Special Forces
Place / Date of Action: Kontum
Province, Republic of Vietnam, Jan.
5, 1970

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his

life above and beyond the call of


duty. S/Sgt. Miller, 5th Special
Forces Group, distinguished himself
while serving as team leader of an
American-Vietnamese long-range
reconnaissance patrol operating
deep within enemy controlled
territory. Leaving the helicopter
insertion point, the patrol moved
forward on its mission. Suddenly, 1
of the team members tripped a
hostile booby trap which wounded 4
soldiers. S/Sgt. Miller, knowing that
the explosion would alert the enemy,
quickly administered first aid to the
wounded and directed the team into
positions across a small stream bed

at the base of a steep hill. Within a


few minutes, S/Sgt. Miller saw the
lead element of what he estimated
to be a platoon-size enemy force
moving toward his location.
Concerned for the safety of his men,
he directed the small team to move
up the hill to a more secure position.
He remained alone, separated from
the patrol, to meet the attack. S/Sgt.
Miller single-handedly repulsed 2
determined attacks by the
numerically superior enemy force
and caused them to withdraw in
disorder. He rejoined his team,
established contact with a forward
air controller and arranged the

evacuation of his patrol. However,


the only suitable extraction location
in the heavy jungle was a bomb
crater some 150 meters from the
team location. S/Sgt. Miller
reconnoitered the route to the crater
and led his men through the enemy
controlled jungle to the extraction
site. As the evacuation helicopter
hovered over the crater to pick up
the patrol, the enemy launched a
savage automatic weapon and
rocket-propelled grenade attack
against the beleaguered team,
driving off the rescue helicopter.
S/Sgt. Miller led the team in a valiant
defense which drove back the

enemy in its attempt to overrun the


small patrol. Although seriously
wounded and with every man in his
patrol a casualty, S/Sgt. Miller
moved forward to again singlehandedly meet the hostile attackers.
From his forward exposed position,
S/Sgt. Miller gallantly repelled 2
attacks by the enemy before a
friendly relief force reached the
patrol location. S/Sgt. Miller's
gallantry, intrepidity in action, and
selfless devotion to the welfare of
his comrades are in keeping with the
highest traditions of the military
service and reflect great credit on
him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Gary B. Beikich
Ruck run.
Load a rucksack with 50 pounds
and run 6 miles.

Meet the Hero


Gary Burnell
Beikirch
Born: Aug. 29, 1947
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action: Kontum
Province, Republic of Vietnam,
April 1, 1970

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and

intrepidity in action at the risk of his


life above and beyond the call of
duty. Sgt. Beikirch, medical aidman,
Detachment B-24, Company B,
distinguished himself during the
defense of Camp Dak Seang. The
allied defenders suffered a number
of casualties as a result of an
intense, devastating attack launched
by the enemy from well-concealed
positions surrounding the camp. Sgt.
Beikirch, with complete disregard for
his personal safety, moved
unhesitatingly through the withering
enemy fire to his fallen comrades,
applied first aid to their wounds and
assisted them to the medical aid

station. When informed that a


seriously injured American officer
was lying in an exposed position,
Sgt. Beikirch ran immediately
through the hail of fire. Although he
was wounded seriously by
fragments from an exploding enemy
mortar shell, Sgt. Beikirch carried
the officer to a medical aid station.
Ignoring his own serious injuries,
Sgt. Beikirch left the relative safety
of the medical bunker to search for
and evacuate other men who had
been injured. He was again wounded
as he dragged a critically injured
Vietnamese soldier to the medical
bunker while simultaneously applying

mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to
sustain his life. Sgt. Beikirch again
refused treatment and continued his
search for other casualties until he
collapsed. Only then did he permit
himself to be treated. Sgt. Beikirchs
complete devotion to the welfare of
his comrades, at the risk of his life
are in keeping with the highest
traditions of the military service and
reflect great credit on him, his unit,
and the U.S. Army.

Gary Lee Littrell


As many repetitions as possible
(AMRAP) in 30 minutes:
1. Pull-ups: 6 repetitions
2. Bar dips: 10 repetitions
3. Kettlebell swings with 50
pounds: 20 repetitions

4. Run 400 meters

Meet the Hero


Gary Lee Littrell
Born: Oct. 26, 1944
Branch: U.S. Army Ranger
Place / Date of Action: Kontum
province, Republic of Vietnam, April
4 to 8, 1970

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his
life above and beyond the call of
duty. Sfc. Littrell, U.S. Military

Assistance Command, Vietnam,


Advisory Team 21, distinguished
himself while serving as a Light
Weapons Infantry Advisor with the
23d Battalion, 2nd Ranger Group,
Republic of Vietnam Army, near Dak
Seang. After establishing a
defensive perimeter on a hill on April
4, the battalion was subjected to an
intense enemy mortar attack which
killed the Vietnamese commander,
one adviser, and seriously wounded
all the advisors except Sfc. Littrell.
During the ensuing 4 days, Sfc.
Littrell exhibited near superhuman
endurance as he single-handedly
bolstered the besieged battalion.

Repeatedly abandoning positions of


relative safety, he directed artillery
and air support by day and marked
the unit's location by night, despite
the heavy, concentrated enemy fire.
His dauntless will instilled in the men
of the 23d Battalion a deep desire to
resist. Assault after assault was
repulsed as the battalion responded
to the extraordinary leadership and
personal example exhibited by Sfc.
Littrell as he continuously moved to
those points most seriously
threatened by the enemy,
redistributed ammunition,
strengthened faltering defenses,
cared for the wounded and shouted

encouragement to the Vietnamese in


their own language. When the
beleaguered battalion was finally
ordered to withdraw, numerous
ambushes were encountered. Sfc.
Littrell repeatedly prevented
widespread disorder by directing air
strikes to within 50 meters of their
position. Through his indomitable
courage and complete disregard for
his safety, he averted excessive loss
of life and injury to the members of
the battalion. The sustained
extraordinary courage and
selflessness displayed by Sfc. Littrell
over an extended period of time
were in keeping with the highest

traditions of the military service and


reflect great credit on him and the
U.S. Army.

Brian Leroy Buker


Three rounds for time:
1. 50 air squats
2. 20 wall ball throws with 24
pound ball
3. 15 one arm snatches with 30
pound kettlebell or dumbbell

4. 15 one arm snatches with 30


Pound kettlebell or dumbbell with
the other hand
5. 50 yard farmer's walk left hand
with 80 pound weight
6. 50 yard farmer's walk right hand
with 80 pound weight
7. 40 push-ups
8. Bar dips: 10 repetitions
9. Pull-ups: 10 repetitions

Meet the Hero


Brian Leroy Buker
Nov. 3, 1949 April 5, 1970
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action: Chau
Doc Province, Republic of
Vietnam, April 5, 1970

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of life
above and beyond the call of duty.

Sgt. Buker, Detachment B-55,


distinguished himself while serving
as a platoon adviser of a
Vietnamese mobile strike force
company during an offensive
mission. Sgt. Buker personally led
the platoon, cleared a strategically
located well-guarded pass, and
established the first foothold at the
top of what had been an
impenetrable mountain fortress.
When the platoon came under the
intense fire from a determined
enemy located in 2 heavily fortified
bunkers, and realizing that
withdrawal would result in heavy
casualties, Sgt. Buker unhesitatingly,

and with complete disregard for his


personal safety, charged through the
hail of enemy fire and destroyed the
first bunker with hand grenades.
While reorganizing his men for the
attack on the second bunker, Sgt.
Buker was seriously wounded.
Despite his wounds and the deadly
enemy fire, he crawled forward and
destroyed the second bunker. Sgt.
Buker refused medical attention and
was reorganizing his men to continue
the attack when he was mortally
wounded. As a direct result of his
heroic actions, many casualties were
averted, and the assault of the
enemy position was successful. Sgt.

Buker's extraordinary heroism at the


cost of his life are in the highest
traditions of the military service and
reflect great credit on him, his unit,
and the U.S. Army.

Jon Robert Cavaiani


1. Deadlifts: 5 sets of 5
repetitions
2. Clean and jerks: 20 sets of
1 repetition per set
3. One arm overhead
presses: 6 repetitions per

arm; 4 sets
4. Box jumps: 20 repetitions
on a 24 inch box; 4 sets
5. Curl ups: 20 repetitions of
8 seconds each
6. Side bridge/plank/side
bridge: Hold each transition 8
seconds for a total of 4
minutes
7. Farmer's walk with 80
pound weight: 100 meters per
side; 2 sets

Meet the Hero


Jon Robert
Cavaiani
Born: Aug. 2, 1943
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action:
Republic of Vietnam, June 4 and
5, 1971

Citation (Synopsis)
On the morning of 4 June 1971, the
entire camp came under an intense

barrage of enemy small arms,


automatic weapons, rocketpropelled grenade and mortar fire
from a superior size enemy force.
S/Sgt. Cavaiani acted with complete
disregard for his personal safety as
he repeatedly exposed himself to
heavy enemy fire in order to move
about the camp's perimeter directing
the platoon's fire and rallying the
platoon in a desperate fight for
survival. S/Sgt. Cavaiani also
returned heavy suppressive fire upon
the assaulting enemy force during
this period with a variety of
weapons. When the entire platoon
was to be evacuated, S/Sgt.

Cavaiani unhesitatingly volunteered


to remain on the ground and direct
the helicopters into the landing zone.
S/Sgt. Cavaiani was able to direct
the first 3 helicopters in evacuating a
major portion of the platoon. Due to
intense increase in enemy fire,
S/Sgt. Cavaiani was forced to
remain at the camp overnight where
he calmly directed the remaining
platoon members in strengthening
their defenses. On the morning of 5
June, a heavy ground fog restricted
visibility. The superior size enemy
force launched a major ground
attack in an attempt to completely
annihilate the remaining small force.

The enemy force advanced in 2


ranks, first firing a heavy volume of
small arms automatic weapons and
rocket propelled grenade fire while
the second rank continuously threw
a steady barrage of hand grenades
at the beleaguered force. S/Sgt.
Cavaiani returned a heavy barrage
of small arms and hand grenade fire
on the assaulting enemy force but
was unable to slow them down. He
ordered the remaining platoon
members to attempt to escape while
he provided them with cover fire.
With 1 last courageous exertion,
S/Sgt. Cavaiani recovered a
machine gun, stood up, completely

exposing himself to the heavy enemy


fire directed at him, and began firing
the machine gun in a sweeping
motion along the 2 ranks of
advancing enemy soldiers. Through
S/Sgt. Cavaiani's valiant efforts with
complete disregard for his safety,
the majority of the remaining platoon
members were able to escape.
While inflicting severe losses on the
advancing enemy force, S/Sgt.
Cavaiani was wounded numerous
times. S/Sgt. Cavaianis conspicuous
gallantry, extraordinary heroism and
intrepidity at the risk of his life,
above and beyond the call of duty,
were in keeping with the highest

traditions of the military service and


reflect great credit upon himself and
the U.S. Army.

Loren D. Hagen
Run 10 miles

Meet the Hero


Loren Douglas
Hagen
Feb. 25, 1946 Aug. 7, 1971
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action:
Republic of Vietnam, August 7,
1971

Citation
1st Lt. Hagen distinguished himself in

action while serving as the team


leader of a small special
reconnaissance team operating
deep within enemy-held territory. At
approximately 0630 hours on the
morning of 7 August 1971 the small
team came under a fierce assault by
a superior-sized enemy force using
heavy small arms, automatic
weapons, mortar, and rocket fire.
1st Lt. Hagen immediately began
returning small-arms fire upon the
attackers and successfully led his
team in repelling the first enemy
onslaught. He then quickly deployed
his men into more strategic defense
locations before the enemy struck

again in an attempt to overrun and


annihilate the beleaguered team's
members. 1st Lt. Hagen repeatedly
exposed himself to the enemy fire
directed at him as he constantly
moved about the team's perimeter,
directing fire, rallying the members,
and resupplying the team with
ammunition, while courageously
returning small arms and hand
grenade fire in a valorous attempt to
repel the advancing enemy force.
The courageous actions and expert
leadership abilities of 1st Lt. Hagen
were a great source of inspiration
and instilled confidence in the team
members. After observing an enemy

rocket make a direct hit on and


destroy 1 of the teams bunkers, 1st
Lt. Hagen moved toward the
wrecked bunker in search for team
members despite the fact that the
enemy force now controlled the
bunker area. With total disregard for
his own personal safety, he crawled
through the enemy fire while
returning small-arms fire upon the
enemy force. Undaunted by the
enemy rockets and grenades
impacting all around him, 1st Lt.
Hagen desperately advanced upon
the destroyed bunker until he was
fatally wounded by enemy small
arms and automatic weapons fire.

With complete disregard for his


personal safety, 1st Lt. Hagens
courageous gallantry, extraordinary
heroism, and intrepidity above and
beyond the call of duty, at the cost
of his own life, were in keeping with
the highest traditions of the military
service and reflect great credit upon
him and the U.S. Army.

Thomas R. Norris
Underwater kettlebell relay
race. A lifeguard, corpsman,
and safety diver are required for
this event.
Divide a platoon into two or
three teams.

Place a 50-80 pound kettlebell,


ammo box, or weight belt on the
bottom of a training tanks deep
end.
At go a swimmer from each
team will jump into the training
tank (pool), lift the kettlebell and
then run the 25 meters or yards
across the pool. At the other
end of the pool, the runner must
hand the kettlebell to a
teammate who will run back
across the pool. The relay will
continue until all members of the
platoon have completed a 25
meter run across the pool.
The losing teams will perform

100 push-ups. Then all platoon


members will complete a 500
meter pool swim using the
breast stroke or side stroke.

Meet the Hero


Thomas Rolland
Norris
Born: Jan. 14, 1944
Branch: U.S. Navy SEAL
Place / Date of Action: Quang
Tri Province, Republic of
Vietnam, April 10 to 13, 1972

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his

life above and beyond the call of


duty while serving as a SEAL
Advisor with the Strategic Technical
Directorate Assistance Team,
Headquarters, U.S. Military
Assistance Command, Vietnam.
During the period 10 to 13 April
1972, Lieutenant Norris completed
an unprecedented ground rescue of
two downed pilots deep within
heavily controlled enemy territory in
Quang Tri Province. Lieutenant
Norris, on the night of 10 April, led a
five-man patrol through 2,000
meters of heavily controlled enemy
territory, located one of the downed
pilots at daybreak, and returned to

the Forward Operating Base (FOB).


On 11 April, after a devastating
mortar and rocket attack on the
small FOB, Lieutenant Norris led a
three man team on two unsuccessful
rescue attempts for the second pilot.
On the afternoon of the 12th, a
Forward Air Controller located the
pilot and notified Lieutenant Norris.
Dressed in fishermen disguises and
using a sampan, Lieutenant Norris
and one Vietnamese traveled
throughout that night and found the
injured pilot at dawn. Covering the
pilot with bamboo and vegetation,
they began the return journey,
successfully evading a North

Vietnamese patrol. Approaching the


FOB, they came under heavy
machine gun fire. Lieutenant Norris
called in an air strike which provided
suppression fire and a smoke
screen, allowing the rescue party to
reach the FOB. By his outstanding
display of decisive leadership,
undaunted courage, and selfless
dedication in the face of extreme
danger, Lieutenant Norris enhanced
the finest traditions of the United
States Naval Service.

Michael Edwin Thorton


1.

Fireman-carry someone of similar


size to you for 200 yards; then he
carries you 200 yards.
2. Open water fin swim of 4
kilometers.

Meet the Hero


Michael Edwin
Thornton
Born: March 23, 1949
Branch: U.S. Navy SEAL
Place / Date of Action:
Republic of Vietnam, Oct. 31,
1972

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above

and beyond the call of duty while


participating in a daring operation
against enemy forces. PO Thornton,
as Assistant U.S. Navy Advisor,
along with a U.S. Navy lieutenant
serving as Senior Advisor,
accompanied a 3-man Vietnamese
Navy SEAL patrol on an intelligence
gathering and prisoner capture
operation against an enemy
occupied naval river base. Launched
from a Vietnamese Navy junk in a
rubber boat, the patrol reached land
and was continuing on foot toward
its objective when it suddenly came
under heavy fire from a numerically
superior force. The patrol called in

naval gunfire support and then


engaged the enemy in a fierce
firefight, accounting for many enemy
casualties before moving back to the
waterline to prevent encirclement.
Upon learning that the Senior
Advisor had been hit by enemy fire
and was believed to be dead, PO
Thornton returned through a hail of
fire to the lieutenant's last position;
quickly disposed of 2 enemy soldiers
about to overrun the position, and
succeeded in removing the seriously
wounded and unconscious Senior
Naval Advisor to the water's edge.
He then inflated the lieutenant's
lifejacket and towed him seaward for

approximately 2 hours until picked up


by support craft. By his
extraordinary courage and
perseverance, PO Thornton was
directly responsible for saving the
life of his superior officer and
enabling the safe extraction of all
patrol members, thereby upholding
the highest traditions of the U.S.
Naval Service.

Gary I. Gordon
1. Kettlebell swings: 100
repetitions with 50 pounds
2. Push-ups: 50 repetitions
3. Air squats: 100 repetitions
4. 20 foot rope climb
5. Goblet squats with 40

pounds: 50 repetitions
6. 20 foot rope climb
7. Push-ups: 50 repetitions
8. Kettlebell swings: 50
repetitions
9. 20 foot rope climb
10. Kettlebell snatches: 20
repetitions per hand with 30
pound kettlebells
11. 20 foot rope climb
12. Lunge walk with no weight
for 20 yards
13. Curl ups: 20 repetitions of 8
second contractions
14. Side bridge/plank/side
bridge: hold each transition 8
seconds for a total of 4

minutes
15. 20 foot rope climb

Meet the Hero


Gary Ivan Gordon
Aug. 30, 1960 Oct. 3, 1993
Branch: U.S. Army
Place / Date of Action:
Mogadishu, Somalia, Oct. 3,
1993

Citation
Master Sergeant Gordon, United
States Army, distinguished himself
by actions above and beyond the
call of duty on 3 October 1993, while

serving as Sniper Team Leader,


United States Army Special
Operations Command with Task
Force Ranger in Mogadishu,
Somalia. Master Sergeant Gordon's
sniper team provided precision fires
from the lead helicopter during an
assault and at two helicopter crash
sites, while subjected to intense
automatic weapons and rocket
propelled grenade fires. When
Master Sergeant Gordon learned
that ground forces were not
immediately available to secure the
second crash site, he and another
sniper unhesitatingly volunteered to
be inserted to protect the four

critically wounded personnel, despite


being well aware of the growing
number of enemy personnel closing
in on the site. After his third request
to be inserted, Master Sergeant
Gordon received permission to
perform his volunteer mission. When
debris and enemy ground fires at the
site caused them to abort the first
attempt, Master Sergeant Gordon
was inserted one hundred meters
south of the crash site. Equipped
with only his sniper rifle and a pistol,
Master Sergeant Gordon and his
fellow sniper, while under intense
small arms fire from the enemy,
fought their way through a dense

maze of shanties and shacks to


reach the critically injured crew
members. Master Sergeant Gordon
immediately pulled the pilot and the
other crew members from the
aircraft, establishing a perimeter
which placed him and his fellow
sniper in the most vulnerable
position. Master Sergeant Gordon
used his long range rifle and side
arm to kill an undetermined number
of attackers until he depleted his
ammunition. Master Sergeant
Gordon then went back to the
wreckage, recovering some of the
crew's weapons and ammunition.
Despite the fact that he was critically

low on ammunition, he provided


some of it to the dazed pilot and
then radioed for help. Master
Sergeant Gordon continued to travel
the perimeter, protecting the
downed crew. After his team
member was fatally wounded and
his own rifle ammunition exhausted,
Master Sergeant Gordon returned to
the wreckage, recovering a rifle with
the last five rounds of ammunition
and gave it to the pilot with the
words, "good luck." Then, armed
only with his pistol, Master Sergeant
Gordon continued to fight until he
was fatally wounded. His actions
saved the pilot's life. Master

Sergeant Gordon's extraordinary


heroism and devotion to duty were in
keeping with the highest standards
of military service and reflect great
credit upon him, his unit and the
United States Army.

Randall D. Shughart
Diaphragmatic breathing
exercises benefit diving and
marksmanship operations. For
the best results the use of
biofeedback is recommended.
Attach a pulse monitor with

preferably an oxygen saturation


measuring device and blood
pressure cuff. Virtually any vital
signs machine will do. To
practice diaphragmatic
breathing, lie on your back with
your knees bent. Place the
fingertips of both hands on your
abdomen, one hand on each
side. Breathe in through your
nose deeply and slowly.
Concentrate on having your
abdomen expand and rise as
you inhale. Pause at maximal
inhalation, then exhale fully
through pursed lips. Practice
this type of breathing while

monitoring your vital signs. Use


the biofeedback device to help
you practice slowing your
respiration and heart rates while
lowering your blood pressure.
As you master diaphragmatic
breathing, use it during activities
of normal living as well as
exercise. This skill is
particularly useful in improving
precision shooting.

Meet the Hero


Randall David
Shughart
Aug. 13, 1958 Oct. 3, 1993
Branch: U.S. Army
Place / Date of Action:
Mogadishu, Somalia, Oct. 3,
1993

Citation
Sergeant First Class Shughart,
United States Army, distinguished
himself by actions above and beyond

the call of duty on 3 October 1993,


while serving as a Sniper Team
Member, United States Army
Special Operations Command with
Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu,
Somalia. Sergeant First Class
Shughart provided precision sniper
fires from the lead helicopter during
an assault on a building and at two
helicopter crash sites, while
subjected to intense automatic
weapons and rocket propelled
grenade fires. While providing critical
suppressive fires at the second
crash site, Sergeant First Class
Shughart and his team leader
learned that ground forces were not

immediately available to secure the


site. Sergeant First Class Shughart
and his team leader unhesitatingly
volunteered to be inserted to protect
the four critically wounded
personnel, despite being well aware
of the growing number of enemy
personnel closing in on the site. After
their third request to be inserted,
Sergeant First Class Shughart and
his team leader received permission
to perform this volunteer mission.
When debris and enemy ground fires
at the site caused them to abort the
first attempt, Sergeant First Class
Shughart and his team leader were
inserted one hundred meters south

of the crash site. Equipped with only


his sniper rifle and a pistol, Sergeant
First Class Shughart and his team
leader, while under intense small
arms fire from the enemy, fought
their way through a dense maze of
shanties and shacks to reach the
critically injured crew members.
Sergeant First Class Shughart pulled
the pilot and the other crew
members from the aircraft,
establishing a perimeter which
placed him and his fellow sniper in
the most vulnerable position.
Sergeant First Class Shughart used
his long range rifle and side arm to
kill an undetermined number of

attackers while traveling the


perimeter, protecting the downed
crew. Sergeant First Class Shughart
continued his protective fire until he
depleted his ammunition and was
fatally wounded. His actions saved
the pilot's life. Sergeant First Class
Shughart's extraordinary heroism
and devotion to duty were in keeping
with the highest standards of military
service and reflect great credit upon
him, his unit and the United States
Army.

Michael Patrick Murphy


"The Murph" is a workout with a
following. It has its own web
page and has been performed
by millions of CrossfFit
devotees the world over. This
workout was one of Michael P.

Murphy's favorite workouts. He


called it "Body Armor," but we
now know it as the Murph.
For time complete this workout:
1. 1 mile run
2. 100 pull-pus
3. 200 push-ups
4. 300 air squats
5. 1 mile run
By the way, Michael Murphy did
it with 20 pounds of body armor.
Use a 20 pound vest or body
armor. I recommend breaking
the calisthenic portion of the
workout into 20 cycles of 5 pullups, followed by 10 push-ups,

followed by 15 air squats.


My best time (without the
weighted vest) was 39 minutes
at age 55.

Meet the Hero


Michael Patrick
Murphy
May 7, 1976 June 28, 2005
Branch: U.S. Navy SEAL
Place / Date of Action: Near
Asadabad, Afghanistan, June
28, 2005

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above
and beyond the call of duty as the

leader of a special reconnaissance


element with Naval Special Warfare
Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28
June 2005. While leading a mission
to locate a high-level anti-coalition
militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy
demonstrated extraordinary heroism
in the face of grave danger in the
vicinity of Asadabad, Konar
Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June
2005, operating in an extremely
rugged enemy-controlled area,
Lieutenant Murphys team was
discovered by anti-coalition militia
sympathizers, who revealed their
position to Taliban fighters. As a
result, between 30 and 40 enemy

fighters besieged his four member


team. Demonstrating exceptional
resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly
led his men in engaging the large
enemy force. The ensuing fierce
firefight resulted in numerous enemy
casualties, as well as the wounding
of all four members of the team.
Ignoring his own wounds and
demonstrating exceptional
composure, Lieutenant Murphy
continued to lead and encourage his
men. When the primary
communicator fell mortally wounded,
Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly
attempted to call for assistance for
his beleaguered teammates.

Realizing the impossibility of


communicating in the extreme
terrain, and in the face of almost
certain death, he fought his way into
open terrain to gain a better position
to transmit a call. This deliberate,
heroic act deprived him of cover,
exposing him to direct enemy fire.
Finally achieving contact with his
Headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy
maintained his exposed position
while he provided his location and
requested immediate support for his
team. In his final act of bravery, he
continued to engage the enemy until
he was mortally wounded, gallantly
giving his life for his country and for

the cause of freedom. By his


selfless leadership, courageous
actions, and extraordinary devotion
to duty, Lieutenant Murphy reflected
great credit upon himself and upheld
the highest traditions of the United
States Naval Service.

Michael A. Monsoor
1. Curl ups: 20 repetitions of 8
second contractions
2. 50 push-ups
3. Side bridge/plank/side
bridge: hold each transition 8
seconds for a total of 5

minutes
4. 50 push-ups
5. Mountain climbers: 100
repetitions
6. 50 push-ups
7. 100 air squats
8. 50 Push-ups
9. 50 bends and thrusts
(burpees)
10. 50 push-ups
11. Run 6 miles

Meet the Hero


Michael Anthony
Monsoor
April 5, 1981 Sept. 29, 2006
Branch: U.S. Navy SEAL
Place / Date of Action: Ar
Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 29, 2006

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above
and beyond the call of duty while
serving as Automatic Weapons

Gunner for Naval Special Warfare


Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in
support of Operation IRAQI
FREEDOM on 29 September 2006.
As a member of a combined SEAL
and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch
element, tasked with providing early
warning and stand-off protection
from a rooftop in an insurgent-held
sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty
Officer Monsoor distinguished
himself by his exceptional bravery in
the face of grave danger. In the
early morning, insurgents prepared
to execute a coordinated attack by
reconnoitering the area around the
element's position. Element snipers

thwarted the enemy's initial attempt


by eliminating two insurgents. The
enemy continued to assault the
element, engaging them with a
rocket-propelled grenade and small
arms fire. As enemy activity
increased, Petty Officer Monsoor
took a position with his machine gun
between two teammates on an
outcropping of the roof. While the
SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy
activity, an insurgent threw a hand
grenade from an unseen location,
which bounced off Petty Officer
Monsoors chest and landed in front
of him. Although only he could have
escaped the blast, Petty Officer

Monsoor chose instead to protect


his teammates. Instantly and without
regard for his own safety, he threw
himself onto the grenade to absorb
the force of the explosion with his
body, saving the lives of his two
teammates. By his undaunted
courage, fighting spirit, and
unwavering devotion to duty in the
face of certain death, Petty Officer
Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his
country, thereby reflecting great
credit upon himself and upholding the
highest traditions of the United
States Naval Service.

Robert J. Miller
Perform these exercises with
rest between sets:
1. Kettlebell one-legged
deadlift: 3 sets of 15
repetitions with 20 pounds

2. Box jumps onto a 30 inch


box: 4 sets of 10 repetitions
3. Clean and jerk with barbell:
15 sets of 2 repetitions
Then perform as many
repetitions as possible
(AMRAP) of these exercises in
30 minutes:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Pull-ups: 6 repetitions
Push-ups: 10 repetitions
Air squats: 15 repetitions
Run 400 meters

Meet the Hero


Robert James
Miller
Oct. 14 1983 Jan. 25 2008
Branch: U.S. Army Special
Forces
Place / Date of Action: Konar
Province, Afghanistan, Jan. 25
2008

Citation
Robert J. Miller distinguished himself
by extraordinary acts of heroism

while serving as the Weapons


Sergeant in Special Forces
Operational Detachment Alpha
3312, Special Operations Task
Force-33, Combined Joint Special
Operations Task Force-Afghanistan
during combat operations against an
armed enemy in Konar Province,
Afghanistan on January 25, 2008.
While conducting a combat
reconnaissance patrol through the
Gowardesh Valley, Staff Sergeant
Miller and his small element of U.S.
and Afghan National Army soldiers
engaged a force of 15 to 20
insurgents occupying prepared
fighting positions. Staff Sergeant

Miller initiated the assault by


engaging the enemy positions with
his vehicle's turret-mounted Mark-19
40 millimeter automatic grenade
launcher while simultaneously
providing detailed descriptions of the
enemy positions to his command,
enabling effective, accurate close air
support. Following the engagement,
Staff Sergeant Miller led a small
squad forward to conduct a battle
damage assessment. As the group
neared the small, steep, narrow
valley that the enemy had inhabited,
a large, well coordinated insurgent
force initiated a near ambush,
assaulting from elevated positions

with ample cover. Exposed and with


little available cover, the patrol was
totally vulnerable to enemy rocket
propelled grenades and automatic
weapon fire. As point man, Staff
Sergeant Miller was at the front of
the patrol, cut off from supporting
elements, and less than 20 meters
from enemy forces. Nonetheless,
with total disregard for his own
safety, he called for his men to
quickly move back to covered
positions as he charged the enemy
over exposed ground and under
overwhelming enemy fire in order to
provide protective fire for his team.
While maneuvering to engage the

enemy, Staff Sergeant Miller was


shot in his upper torso. Ignoring the
wound, he continued to push the
fight, moving to draw fire from over
one hundred enemy fighters upon
himself. He then again charged
forward through an open area in
order to allow his teammates to
safely reach cover. After killing at
least 10 insurgents, wounding
dozens more, and repeatedly
exposing himself to withering enemy
fire while moving from position to
position, Staff Sergeant Miller was
mortally wounded by enemy fire. His
extraordinary valor ultimately saved
the lives of seven members of his

own team and 15 Afghanistan


National Army soldiers. Staff
Sergeant Miller's heroism and
selflessness above and beyond the
call of duty, and at the cost of his
own life, are in keeping with the
highest traditions of military service
and reflect great credit upon himself
and the United States Army.

Leroy Arthur Petry


As many repetitions as possible
(AMRAP) in 30 minutes:
1. Bear crawl 50 meters
2. Air squats: 30 repetitions
3. Bar dips: 10 repetitions

4. Pull-ups: 10 repetitions
5. Run 400 meters

Meet the Hero


Leroy Arthur Petry
Born: July 29, 1979
Branch: U.S. Army Ranger
Place / Date of Action: Paktya
Province, Afghanistan, May 26,
2008

Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity at the risk of his life above
and beyond the call of duty: Staff
Sergeant Leroy A. Petry

distinguished himself by acts of


gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of
his life above and beyond the call of
duty in action with an armed enemy
in the vicinity of Paktya Province,
Afghanistan, on May 26, 2008. As a
Weapons Squad Leader with D
Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th
Ranger Regiment, Staff Sergeant
Petry moved to clear the courtyard
of a house that potentially contained
high-value combatants. While
crossing the courtyard, Staff
Sergeant Petry and another Ranger
were engaged and wounded by
automatic weapons fire from enemy
fighters. Still under enemy fire, and

wounded in both legs, Staff


Sergeant Petry led the other Ranger
to cover. He then reported the
situation and engaged the enemy
with a hand grenade, providing
suppression as another Ranger
moved to his position. The enemy
quickly responded by maneuvering
closer and throwing grenades. The
first grenade explosion knocked his
two fellow Rangers to the ground
and wounded both with shrapnel. A
second grenade then landed only a
few feet away from them. Instantly
realizing the danger, Staff Sergeant
Petry, unhesitatingly and with
complete disregard for his safety,

deliberately and selflessly moved


forward, picked up the grenade, and
in an effort to clear the immediate
threat, threw the grenade away from
his fellow Rangers. As he was
releasing the grenade it detonated,
amputating his right hand at the wrist
and further injuring him with multiple
shrapnel wounds. Although picking
up and throwing the live grenade
grievously wounded Staff Sergeant
Petry, his gallant act undeniably
saved his fellow Rangers from being
severely wounded or killed. Despite
the severity of his wounds, Staff
Sergeant Petry continued to maintain
the presence of mind to place a

tourniquet on his right wrist before


communicating the situation by radio
in order to coordinate support for
himself and his fellow wounded
Rangers. Staff Sergeant Petrys
extraordinary heroism and devotion
to duty are in keeping with the
highest traditions of military service,
and reflect great credit upon himself,
75th Ranger Regiment, and the
United States Army.

William D. Swenson
As many repetitions as possible
(AMRAP) in 12 minutes:
1. Bends and thrusts (burpees): 10
repetitions
2. Air squats: 10 repetitions
3. Push-ups: 10 repetitions

Meet the Hero


William D. Swenson
Branch: U.S. Army Ranger
Place / Date of Action: Kunar
Province, Afghanistan, September 8,
2009.

Citation
Captain William D. Swenson
distinguished himself by acts of
gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of
his life above and beyond the call of
duty while serving as embedded

advisor to the Afghan National


Border Police, Task Force Phoenix,
Combined Security Transition
Command-Afghanistan in support of
1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry
Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat
Team, 10th Mountain Division, during
combat operations against an armed
enemy in Kunar Province,
Afghanistan on September 8, 2009.
On that morning, more than 60 wellarmed, well-positioned enemy
fighters ambushed Captain
Swenson's combat team as it moved
on foot into the village of Ganjgal for
a meeting with village elders. As the
enemy unleashed a barrage of

rocket-propelled grenade, mortar


and machine gun fire, Captain
Swenson immediately returned fire
and coordinated and directed the
response of his Afghan Border
Police, while simultaneously calling in
suppressive artillery fire and aviation
support. After the enemy effectively
flanked Coalition Forces, Captain
Swenson repeatedly called for
smoke to cover the withdrawal of
the forward elements. Surrounded
on three sides by enemy forces
inflicting effective and accurate fire,
Captain Swenson coordinated air
assets, indirect fire support and
medical evacuation helicopter

support to allow for the evacuation


of the wounded. Captain Swenson
ignored enemy radio transmissions
demanding surrender and
maneuvered uncovered to render
medical aid to a wounded fellow
soldier. Captain Swenson stopped
administering aid long enough to
throw a grenade at approaching
enemy forces, before assisting with
moving the soldier for air evacuation.
With complete disregard for his own
safety, Captain Swenson
unhesitatingly led a team in an
unarmored vehicle into the kill zone,
exposing himself to enemy fire on at
least two occasions, to recover the

wounded and search for four missing


comrades. After using aviation
support to mark locations of fallen
and wounded comrades, it became
clear that ground recovery of the
fallen was required due to heavy
enemy fire on helicopter landing
zones. Captain Swensons team
returned to the kill zone another time
in a Humvee. Captain Swenson
voluntarily exited the vehicle,
exposing himself to enemy fire, to
locate and recover three fallen
Marines and one fallen Navy
corpsman. His exceptional
leadership and stout resistance
against the enemy during six hours

of continuous fighting rallied his


teammates and effectively disrupted
the enemy's assault. Captain William
D. Swenson's extraordinary heroism
and selflessness above and beyond
the call of duty are in keeping with
the highest traditions of military
service and reflect great credit upon
himself, Task Force Phoenix, 1st
Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment,
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th
Mountain Division and the United
States Army.

Special

Operations
Forces
Distinguished
Service, Navy,
and Air Force
Cross Recipients

Special
Operations

Forces
Distinguished
Service, Navy, & Air
Force Cross
Recipients
The Congressional Medal of Honor
is the highest military decoration that
can be awarded by the United
States Government. The second
highest award(s) for valor and
heroism are the service crosses that

are given out by each of the


services. The Distinguished Service
Cross is awarded by the Army, the
Navy Cross is Awarded by the Navy,
Marine Corps, and Coast Guard
(when working under the authority of
the Navy), and the Air Force Cross
is awarded by the Air Force. These
awards are equivalent to each other.
These medals are awarded for
extraordinary heroism while also
meeting these criteria:
1. While engaged in action against
an enemy of the United States
2. While engaged in military
operations involving conflict with

an opposing foreign force; or


3. While serving with friendly
foreign forces engaged in an
armed conflict against an
opposing armed force in which
the United States is not a
belligerent party.
The next few pages will highlight a
few of the many service cross
recipients.

David F. Cooper
As many repetitions as possible
(AMRAP) in 20 minutes:

1. Pull-ups: 5 repetitions
2. Push-ups: 10 repetitions
3. Air Squats: 15 repetitions

Meet the Hero


David F. Cooper
Citation
The President of the United
States Takes Pleasure in
Presenting The Distinguished
Service Cross
To
David F. Cooper
Chief Warrant Officer 5, U.S.
Army For Services as Set Forth in
the Following

For extraordinary heroism in action


on 27 November 2006, while serving
with the 160th Special Operations
Aviation Regiment (Airborne), during
combat operations against an armed
enemy during aerial flight as an AH-6
Flight Lead Pilot for the Joint Task
Force in support of Operation IRAQI
FREEDOM. Without regard for his
personal safety, Chief Warrant
Officer 5 Cooper continued to
provide effective fires for the Joint
Task Force ground forces despite
the presence of effective enemy fire.
His actions destroyed several enemy
positions, which prevented the
ground forces from sustaining heavy

casualties and allowed them to hold


their position. His superb actions in
flight, especially at one point as the
lone air support aircraft under terrific
enemy fire, contributed greatly to the
mission success. Chief Warrant
Officer 5 Coopers distinctive
accomplishments are in keeping with
the finest traditions of the military
service and reflect great credit upon
himself, the Joint Task Force and
the United States Army.

Jarion Halbisengibbs
Sprints
Run 100 meters every minute on the

minute for 15 minutes. Gradually


accelerate to maximum speed by 40
meters, and maintain maximum
speed from 40-100 meters.

Meet the Hero


Jarion Halbisengibbs
Citation
The President of the United
States Takes Pleasure in
Presenting The Distinguished
Service Cross
To
Jarion Halbisengibbs
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army For
Services as Set Forth in the
Following

For exceptional gallantry under


intense enemy fire as the
Detachment Weapons Sergeant of
Special Forces Operational
Detachment - Alpha 083, Advanced
Operating Base 080, on 10
September 2007. SSG
Halbisengibbs, while combat
advising a combined assault element
of Iraqi National Police during
Operation CHROMIUM, an
intelligence driven raid to capture a
High Value Islamic State of Iraq
terrorist in the Samarra area, acted
with the utmost bravery and valor
through exemplary violence of action

to eliminate a heavily armed and


entrenched enemy stronghold. Upon
air infiltration into an unplanned
landing zone, SSG Halbisengibbs
immediately redirected the
disoriented Iraqi assault force
towards the objective in total
brownout conditions. His quick
thinking and ability to refocus the
confused assault element ensured
that the enemy could not effectively
reposition itself and engage the
support element maneuvering to his
flank. Upon clearing the first
structure, the assault element
immediately came under enemy
machine gun fire causing a

dangerous pause in the momentum


of the Iraqi National Police. SSG
Halbisengibbs instantly identified the
immediate threat and killed an
enemy defending from inside the
doorway of the targeted building.
He then proceeded to regain the
momentum by personally leading the
assault force into the targeted
building while under constant enemy
gunfire. Initiating the assault with a
single fragmentary grenade, instantly
killing an additional three terrorists
entrenched inside the building, he
instinctively cleared the entryway,
entered the building and engaged
and instantly killed an enemy firing at

the assault element from inside the


building at close range. SSG
Halbisengibbs continued to clear the
structure in complete darkness as
his night vision goggles and personal
radio were all destroyed by enemy
gunfire at point blank range.
Stumbling over a dead enemy, he
was shot in the thumb and propelled
to the ground by the blast of an
enemy grenade which propelled two
other Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) assaulters out of the
building. Alone, he relentlessly
continued to engage the concealed
enemy and in a moment of intense
close quarters battle killed one

additional terrorist inside the now


chaotic structure. Once the targeted
building was cleared, SSG
Halbisengibbs exited the building and
immediately passed a verbal status
report to his ODA indicating that he
was injured but that he was able to
continue the fight. He immediately
came under automatic weapons fire
at close range from a defending
enemy position in an adjacent
structure not yet cleared by the
stalled National Police assault force.
As SSG Halbisengibbs reacted to
the threat, he was shot in the
abdomen, but was still able to kill the
enemy as he fell to the ground

seriously wounded. SSG


Halbisengibbs heroic performance
rekindled the fighting spirit in the
stalled Iraqi force, who carried on
the assault and cleared the
remainder of the objective. SSG
Halbisengibbs was responsible for
single - handedly killing six enemy
out of a total of eleven on this
objective and eliminating a High
Value Terrorist who led operations
throughout Salah ad Din Province.
His actions are in keeping with the
finest traditions of valorous military
service and reflect great credit upon
himself, Special Operations
Command Central, and the United

States Army.

Mark E. Mitchell
Five rounds for time:

1. Pull-ups: 10 repetitions
2. Eight count body builders: 10
repetitions
3. Bar dips: 10 repetitions
4. Single arm lunge walks with 40
pounds held overhead: 10 steps
with each arm
Run 4 miles

Meet the Hero


Mark E. Mitchell
Citation
The President of the United
States Takes Pleasure in
Presenting The Distinguished
Service Cross
To
Mark E. Mitchell
Major, U.S. Army For Services as
Set Forth in the Following

For extraordinary heroism while


serving with Headquarters and
Headquarters Detachment, 3d
Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group
(Airborne), during the period of 25 to
28 November 2001, distinguished
himself while engaged in combat
operations during Operation
Enduring Freedom. As the Ground
Force Commander of a rescue
operation during the Battle of Qala-IJang Fortress, Mazar-e-Sharif,
Afghanistan, Major Mitchell ensured
the freedom of one American and
the posthumous repatriation of
another. His unparalleled courage
under fire, decisive leadership and

personal sacrifice were directly


responsible for the success of the
rescue operation and were further
instrumental in ensuring the city of
Mazar-e-Sharif did not fall back in
the hands of the Taliban. His
personal example has added yet
another laurel to the proud military
history of this Nation and serves as
the standard for all others to
emulate. Major Mitchells gallant
deed was truly above and beyond
the call of duty and is in keeping with
the finest traditions of the military
service and reflects great credit
upon himself, the 5th Special Forces
Group (Airborne), the United States

Army, and the United States of


America.

Operation Red Wings


Complete for time:
1. Run 1 mile
2. Man makers: 25 repetitions
with 25 pound dumbbells

3. Run 1 mile

Meet the Heroes


Matthew G.
Axelson, Danny P.
Dietz, Marcus
Luttrell
Citation (Synopsis)
The President of the United
States Takes Pride in
Presenting The Navy Cross

To
Matthew G. Axelson, Danny
P. Dietz, Marcus Luttrell,
United States Navy For
Services as Set Forth in the
Following

For extraordinary heroism in actions


against the enemy while serving in a
four-man Special Reconnaissance
element with SEAL Delivery Vehicle
Team ONE, Naval Special Warfare
Task unit, Afghanistan from 27 to 28
June 2005. Axelson, Dietz and
Luttrell demonstrated extraordinary

heroism in the face of grave danger


in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar
Province, Afghanistan. Operating in
the middle of an enemy controlled
area, in extremely rugged terrain,
their Special Reconnaissance
element was tasked with locating a
high-level Anti-Coalition Militia
leader, in support of a follow-on
direct action mission to disrupt
enemy activity. On 28 June 2005,
the element was spotted by AntiCoalition Militia sympathizers, who
immediately revealed their position
to the militia fighters. As a result, the
element directly encountered the
enemy. Demonstrating exceptional

resolve and fully understanding the


gravity of the situation, their element
bravely engaged the militia, who held
both a numerical and positional
advantage. The ensuing firefight
resulted in numerous enemy
personnel killed, with several of the
Navy members suffering casualties.
By their undaunted courage,
fortitude under fire, and unwavering
dedication to duty, they reflected
great credit upon themselves and
upheld the highest traditions of the
United States Naval Service. Axelson
and Dietz gallantly gave their lives
for the cause of freedom.

Petty Officer
Petty
2nd Class
Officer 2nd
(SEAL)
Class
Matthew
(SEAL)
Axelson
Danny Dietz

Brendan O'Connor
1. Sandbag lunge walk with a 50
pound sandbag for 100 meters
per side

2. Bear crawl 100 meters


3. Battle ropes using Tabata timing
(20 seconds of exercise followed
by 10 seconds of rest) for 4
minutes
4. Bends and thrusts (burpees): 30
repetitions
5. Single leg deadlifts: 20
repetitions per side with 20 pound
kettlebell
6. Farmer's walk with 80 pound
weight for 100 meters: 2 sets per
arm
Run four miles

Meet the Hero


Brendan O'Connor
Citation
The President of the United
States Takes Pleasure in
Presenting The Distinguished
Service Cross
To
Brendan OConnor
Master Sergeant, U.S. Army For
Services as Set Forth in the
Following

For extraordinary heroism in combat


as the Senior Medical Sergeant for
Special Forces Operational
Detachment Alpha 765 (ODA-765),
Company A, 2d Battalion, 7th
Special Forces Group (Airborne), in
support of Operation ENDURING
FREEDOM, in Panjawal District,
Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. On
24 June 2006, during Operation
Kaiki, Sergeant O'Connor led a
quick-reaction force to reinforce a
surrounded patrol and rescue two
wounded comrades. He maneuvered
his force through Taliban positions
and crawled alone and unprotected,

under enemy machine gun fire to


reach the wounded soldiers. He
provided medical care while exposed
to heavy volumes of Taliban fire,
then carried one of the wounded 150
meters across open ground to an
area of temporary cover. He climbed
over a wall three times, in plain view
of the enemy, to assist the wounded
soldiers in seeking cover while
bullets pounded the structure around
them. Sergeant OConnor assumed
duties as the detachment operations
sergeant and led the consolidation of
three friendly elements, each
surrounded, isolated, and receiving
fire from all directions. His

remarkable actions are in keeping


with the highest traditions of military
heroism and reflect distinct credit
upon himself, Special Operations
Command Central, the United States
Army and the Department of
Defense.

Stephen Bass
As many repetitions as possible
(AMRAP) in 20 minutes:
1. Rope climb 20 feet (may
substitute 10 rope or towel
pull-ups for rope climb)

2. Run 400 meters


3. Push-ups: 30 repetitions
4. Bends and thrusts (burpees)
with a donkey kick: 10
repetitions

Meet the Hero


Stephen Bass
Citation
The President of the United
States Takes Pleasure in
Presenting The Navy Cross
To
Stephen Bass
Chief Petty Officer, United
States Navy For Services as
Set Forth in the Following

For extraordinary heroism while


serving with the British Special Boat
Service during combat operations in
Northern Afghanistan on 25 and 26
November 2001. Chief Petty Officer
Stephen Bass deployed to the area
as a member of a Joint American
and British Special Forces Rescue
Team to locate and recover two
missing American citizens, one
presumed to be seriously injured or
dead, after hard-line Al Qaeda and
Taliban prisoners at the Quala-IJangi fortress in Mazar-e-Sharif over
powered them and gained access to
large quantities of arms and

ammunition stored at the fortress.


Once inside, Chief Petty Officer
Bass was engaged continuously by
direct small arms fire, indirect mortar
fire and rocket propelled grenade
fire. He was forced to walk through
an active antipersonnel minefield in
order to gain entry to the fortress.
After establishing the possible
location of both American citizens,
under heavy fire and without concern
for his own personal safety, he
made two attempts to rescue the
uninjured citizen by crawling toward
the fortress interior to reach him.
Forced to withdraw due to large
volumes of fire falling on his position,

he was undeterred. After reporting


his efforts to the remaining members
of the rescue team, they left and
attempted to locate the missing
citizen on the outside of the fortress.
As darkness began to fall, no
attempt was going to be made to
locate the other injured American
citizen. Chief Petty Officer Bass then
took matters into his own hands.
Without regard for his own personal
safety, he moved forward another
300-400 meters into the heart of the
fortress by himself under constant
enemy fire in an attempt to locate
the injured citizen. Running low on
ammunition, he utilized weapons

from deceased Afghans to continue


his rescue attempt. Upon verifying
the condition and location of the
American citizen, he withdrew from
the fortress. By his outstanding
display of decisive leadership,
unlimited courage in the face of
enemy fire, and utmost devotion to
duty, Chief Petty Officer Bass
reflected great credit upon himself
and upheld the highest traditions of
the United States Naval Service.

Mark L. Donald
1. Kettlebell swings: 100
repetitions with a 40 pound
kettlebell
2. Barbell squats: 5 sets of 10

3.
4.
5.
6.

repetitions
Overhead lunge walk with 40
pounds: 20 yards with each hand
Goblet squats with 30 pounds:
30 repetitions
Rockstar: 30 repetitions
Hollow body roll: 30 repetitions
to each side

Meet the Hero


Mark L. Donald
Citation
The President of the United
States Takes Pleasure in
Presenting The Navy Cross To
Mark L. Donald Lieutenant, United
States Navy For Services as Set
Forth in the Following
The President of the United States
of America takes pleasure in
presenting the Navy Cross to

Lieutenant Mark L. Donald, United


States Navy, for extraordinary
heroism as Medical Officer assigned
to a Joint Operational Unit
conducting combat operations
against Al Qaida and Taliban enemy
forces in support of Operation
ENDURING FREEDOM, in October
2003. Lieutenant Donald was part of
a multivehicle mounted patrol
ambushed by extremely heavy fire
from rocket-propelled grenades and
small arms. When two rocketpropelled grenades exploded
immediately in front of his vehicle,
Lieutenant Donald exited the vehicle
and began returning fire. While under

heavy and continuous machine gun


fire he pulled the wounded Afghan
commander to relative safety behind
the vehicle's engine block. He left his
position, completely exposing himself
to the small arms fire, and pulled a
wounded American trapped behind
the steering wheel to cover behind
the vehicle. He covered the wounded
with his own body while returning fire
and providing care. In the process,
multiple bullets passed through his
clothing and equipment. Identifying
wounded Afghan personnel in the
two lead vehicles, Lieutenant Donald
moved to their aid under heavy fire
and began medical treatment. After

treating the wounded, he took


charge of an Afghan squad in
disarray, deployed them to break
the ambush, and continued to treat
numerous critically injured personnel,
while arranging for their prompt
medical evacuation. That afternoon,
while sweeping an area of earlier
action, a U.S./Afghan element was
ambushed by a platoon-sized enemy
force near Lieutenant Donalds
position. Knowing personnel were
gravely wounded, Lieutenant Donald
without hesitation and with complete
disregard for his own safety ran 200
meters between opposing forces
exposing him to withering and

continuous heavy machine gun and


small arms fire to render medical
treatment to two wounded
personnel, one Afghan and one
American. He placed himself
between the casualties and the
extremely heavy enemy fire now
directed at him and began
emergency medical treatment. Still
under intense enemy fire, wounded
by shrapnel, and knowingly within
dangerously close range of attacking
U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopter
rockets, he organized the surviving
Afghan soldiers and led a 200 meter
fighting withdrawal to friendly
positions. Lieutenant Donald

coordinated the medical evacuation


of wounded soldiers and withdrew
overland back to base before
treating his own wounds. By his
heroic display of decisive and
tenacious leadership, unyielding
courage in the face of constant
enemy fire, and utmost devotion to
duty, Lieutenant Donald reflected
great credit upon himself and upheld
the highest traditions of the United
States Naval Service.

Britt Slabinski
As Many Rounds as Possible in 30
minutes
1. Split jumps: 30 repetitions
2. Rockstars: 30 repetitions

3.
4.
5.
6.

Skater jumps: 30 repetitions


Chin-ups: 10 repetitions
Bear crawl 20 yards
400 meter run

Meet the Hero


Britt Slabinski
Citation (Synopsis)
The President of the United
States Takes Pleasure in
Presenting The Navy Cross
To
Britt Slabinski
Senior Chief Petty Officer, United
States Navy For Services as Set
Forth in the Following

On the evening of 3 March, 2002,


Senior Chief Petty Officer Britt
Slabinski led his seven-man
reconnaissance team onto the
snowcovered, 10,000 foot
mountaintop known as Takur Ghar,
to establish a combat overwatch
position in support of U.S. Army
forces advancing against the enemy
on the valley floor. As their
helicopter hovered over the mountain
it was met by unrelenting rocket
propelled grenade (RPG) and small
arms fire by entrenched enemy
forces. As a result of several RPG
hits, a member of Senior Chief Petty
Officer Slabinski 's team was

ejected from the helicopter into the


midst of the fortified enemy
positions. The badly damaged
helicopter conducted a controlled
crash, at which time Senior Chief
Petty Officer Slabinski immediately
took charge and established security
on the crash location until the crew
and his team were recovered to a
support base. At this point, Senior
Chief Slabinski fully aware of the
overwhelming, fixed, enemy forces
over the mountain, but also knowing
the desperate situation of his
missing teammate, now reportedly
fighting for his life, without hesitation
made the selfless decision to lead

his team on an immediate, bold


rescue mission. He heroically led the
remainder of his SEAL element back
onto the snow-covered, remote,
mountaintop into the midst of the
numerically superior enemy forces in
a daring and valiant attempt to
rescue one of their own. After a
treacherous helicopter insertion onto
the mountaintop, Senior Chief Petty
Officer Slabinski led his team in a
close quarter firefight. He skillfully
maneuvered his team and bravely
engaged multiple enemy positions,
personally clearing one bunker and
killing several enemy within. His unit
became caught in a withering

crossfire from other bunkers and the


closing enemy forces. Despite
mounting casualties, Senior Chief
Petty Officer Slabinski maintained
his composure and continued to
engage the enemy until his position
became untenable. Faced with no
choice but a tactical withdrawal, he
coolly directed fire from airborne
assets to cover his team. He then
led an arduous movement through
the mountainous terrain, constantly
under fire, covering over one
kilometer in waist-deep snow, while
carrying a seriously wounded
teammate. Arriving at a defensible
position, he organized his teams

security posture and stabilized his


casualties. For over fourteen hours,
Senior Chief Petty Officer Slabinski
directed the defense of his position
through countless engagements,
personally engaging the enemy and
directing close air support onto the
enemy positions until the enemy was
ultimately defeated. During this
entire sustained engagement, Senior
Chief Petty Officer Slabinski
exhibited classic grace under fire in
steadfastly leading the intrepid
rescue operation, saving the lives of
his wounded men and setting the
conditions for the ultimate
vanquishing of the enemy and the

seizing of Takur Ghar.

John A. Chapman
Motor Control Workout
Rest for one minute between sets
and exercises. Try to work on
control and proper technique for
these exercises.

1. Kettlebell swings: 50 repetitions


2. Bear crawl 100 yards
3. Single leg deadlifts with
kettlebell: 3 sets of 12 repetitions
per leg; right hand for one set, left
hand for one set; then both hands
grasping the kettlebell
4. Overhead lunge walk 30 yards
with each hand
5. Farmer's walk 200 yards with
each hand
6. Levitating squats: 10 repetitions
per leg
7. Pull-ups: chest to bar, 12
repetitions
8. Sprinter step: 20 repetitions per
leg

9. Rockstar: 40 repetitions
10. Hollow body roll: 40 repetitions
11. Goblet squats: 40 repetitions

Meet the Hero


John A. Chapman
Citation
The President of the United
States Takes Pleasure in
Presenting The Air Force Cross
(Posthumously)
To
John A. Chapman
Technical Sergeant, United Sates
Air Force For Services as Set

Forth in the Following

The President of the United States


of America, authorized by Title 10,
Section 8742, United States Code,
awards the Air Force Cross to TSgt
John Chapman for extraordinary
heroism in a military operation
against an armed enemy of the
United States as a 24th Special
Tactics Squadron, Combat
Controller in the vicinity of Gardez, in
the eastern highlands of Afghanistan,
on 4 March 2002. On this date,
during his helicopter insertion for a
reconnaissance and time sensitive

targeting close air support mission,


Sergeant Chapmans aircraft came
under heavy machine gun fire and
received a direct hit from a rocket
propelled grenade which caused a
United States Navy sea-air-land
team member to fall from the
aircraft. Though heavily damaged,
the aircraft egressed the area and
made an emergency landing seven
kilometers away. Once on the
ground Sergeant Chapman
established communication with an
AC-130 gunship to insure the area
was secure while providing close air
support coverage for the entire
team. He then directed the gunship

to begin the search for the missing


team member. He requested,
coordinated, and controlled the
helicopter that extracted the
stranded team and aircrew
members. These actions limited the
exposure of the aircrew and team to
hostile fire. Without regard for his
own life, Sergeant Chapman
volunteered to rescue his missing
team member from an enemy
stronghold. Shortly after insertion,
the team made contact with the
enemy. Sergeant Chapman engaged
and killed two enemy personnel. He
continued to advance, reaching the
enemy position, then engaged a

second enemy position, a dug-in


machine gun nest. At this time the
rescue team came under effective
enemy fire from three directions.
From close range he exchanged fire
with the enemy from minimum
personal cover until he succumbed
to multiple wounds. His engagement
and destruction of the first enemy
position and advancement on the
second position enabled his team to
move to cover and break enemy
contact. In his own words, his Navy
sea-air-land team leader credits
Sergeant Chapman unequivocally
with saving the lives of the entire
rescue team. Through his

extraordinary heroism, superb


airmanship, aggressiveness in the
face of the enemy, and the
dedication to the service of his
country, Sergeant Chapman reflects
the highest credit upon himself and
the United States Air Force.

Jason Dean Cunningham


No Equipment Workout
1. Mountain climbers: 100
repetitions

2. Bear crawl 100 meters


3. Push-ups: 50 repetitions
4. Lateral jump squats: 50
repetitions
5. Hollow body roll: 30 repetitions
per side
6. Skater jump bounding forward
for 50 meters
7. Eight count body builders: 40
repetitions
8. Curl ups: 60 repetitions
9. Combining Core stabilizers (side
bridge, plank, side bridge): 30
repetitions
10. Sprinter steps: 20 repetitions per
side
11. Bends and thrusts: 30 repetitions

12.
13.
14.
15.

Side jump squat: 30 repetitions


Push-ups: 50 repetitions
Split Jumps: 50 repetitions
Rockstars: 30 repetitions

Meet the Hero


Jason Dean
Cunningham
Citation
The President of the United
States Takes Pleasure in
Presenting The Air Force Cross
(Posthumously) To Jason Dean
Cunningham Senior Airman, U.S.
Air Force For Services as Set
Forth in the Following
The President of the United States

of America, authorized by Title 10,


Section 8742, United States Code,
awards the Air Force Cross to
Senior Airman Jason D. Cunningham
for extraordinary heroism in military
operations against an opposing
armed force while serving as a
pararecueman near the village of
Marzak in the Paktia Province of
Afghanistan on 4 March 2002. On
that proud day, Airman Cunningham
was the primary Air Force Combat
Search and Rescue medic assigned
to a Quick Reaction Force tasked to
recover two American servicemen
evading capture in austere terrain
occupied by massed Al Qaida and

Taliban forces. Shortly before


landing, his MH-47E helicopter
received accurate rocket-propelled
grenade and small arms fire,
severely disabling the aircraft and
causing it to crash land. The assault
force formed a hasty defense and
immediately suffered three fatalities
and five critical casualties. Despite
effective enemy fire, and at great
risk to his own life, Airman
Cunningham remained in the burning
fuselage of the aircraft in order to
treat the wounded. As he moved his
patients to a more secure location,
mortar rounds began to impact
within fifty feet of his position.

Disregarding this extreme danger,


he continued the movement and
exposed himself to enemy fire on
seven separate occasions. When the
second casualty collection point was
also compromised, in a display of
uncommon valor and gallantry,
Airman Cunningham braved an
intense small arms and rocketpropelled grenade attack while
repositioning the critically wounded
to a third collection point. Even after
he was mortally wounded and
quickly deteriorating, he continued to
direct patient movement and
transferred care to another medic. In
the end, his distinct efforts led to the

successful delivery of ten gravely


wounded Americans to life-saving
medical treatment. Through his
extraordinary heroism, superb
airmanship, aggressiveness in the
face of the enemy, and in the
dedication of his service to his
country, Senior Airman Cunningham
reflected the highest credit upon
himself and the United States Air
Force.

Robert Gutierrez, Jr.


Hell's Bells
Kettlebell workout
1. Kettlebell swings with 40 pound
kettlebell: 100 repetitions

2. Single leg deadlift with two hand


grip: 20 repetitions per leg
3. Kettlebell snatch with 40 pound
kettlebell: 30 repetitions per side
4. Farmer's walk with 70-80 pound
kettlebell: 400 meters per each
side
5. Goblet squats with 30-40 pound
kettlebell: 25 repetitions
6. Overhead lunge walk with 20-30
pound kettlebell: 40 meters with
each hand
7. Kettlebell clean and jerk: 20
repetitions
8. Man makers with 25 pound
kettlebells: 25 repetitions
9. Kettlebell swings with 40 pound

kettlebell: 100 repetitions


10. Run 4 miles

Meet the Hero


Robert Gutierrez, Jr.
Citation
The President of the United
States Takes Pride in
Presenting The Air Force
Cross To
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Air
Force For Services as Set

Forth in the Following


The President of the United States
of America, authorized by Title 10,
Section 8742, United States Code,
takes pleasure in presenting the Air
Force Cross to Staff Sergeant
Robert Gutierrez, Jr., United States
Air Force, for extraordinary heroism
in military operations against an
armed enemy of the United States in
Heart Province, Afghanistan, on 5
October 2009. On that date, while
assigned as a combat controller to
an Army Special Forces
Detachment, Sergeant Gutierrez and
his team conducted a high-risk

nighttime raid to capture the number


two Taliban leader in the region.
During the initial assault, the team
was attacked with a barrage of rifle
and heavy machine-gun fire from a
numerically superior and determined
enemy force. Sergeant Gutierrez
was shot in the chest, his team
leader was shot in the leg, and the
ten-man element was pinned down
in a building with no escape route. In
great pain and confronting the very
real possibility that he would die,
Sergeant Gutierrez seized the
initiative and refused to relinquish his
duties as joint terminal attack
controller. Under intense fire, he

engaged Taliban fighters with his M4 rifle and brought airpower to bear,
controlling three danger close A-10
strafing runs with exceptional
precision against enemy forces just
30 feet away. After the first A-10
attack, the team medic performed a
needle decompression to re-inflate
Sergeant Gutierrez's collapsed lung,
allowing him to direct the next two
strafe runs which decimated the
enemy force and allowed the team
to escape the kill zone without
additional casualties. Throughout the
four-hour battle, Sergeant
Gutierrezs valorous actions, at great
risk to his own life, helped save the

lives of his teammates and dealt a


crushing blow to the regional Taliban
network. Through his extraordinary
heroism, superb airmanship, and
aggressiveness in the face of the
enemy, Sergeant Gutierrez reflected
the highest credit upon himself and
the United States Air Force.

Zachary J. Rhyner
1. Air squats: 50 repetitions
2. Split jump: 50 repetitions
3. Chest to bar pull-ups: 20
repetitions

4. Rockstars: 50 repetitions
5. Body Rolls: 30 repetitions
6. Sprinter steps: 20 repetitions
per side
7. Push-ups: 60 repetitions
8. Curl ups: 40 repetitions
9. Side jump squats: 40 repetitions
10. Run 5 miles

Meet the Hero


Zachary J. Rhyner
Citation
The President of the United
States Takes Pride in
Presenting The Air Force
Cross
To Zachary J. Rhyner
Senior Airman, U.S. Air
Force For Services as Set
Forth in the Following

The President of the United States


of America, authorized by Title 10,
Section 8742, United States Code,
takes pleasure in presenting the Air
Force Cross to Senior Airman
Zachary J. Rhyner, United States Air
Force, for extraordinary heroism in
military operations against an armed
enemy of the United States while
serving with the 21st Special Tactics
Squadron, at Nuristan Province,
Afghanistan on 6 April 2008. On that
date, while assigned as Special
Tactics Combat Controller, Airman
Rhyner executed a day rotary-wing
infiltration with his Special Forces

team to capture high-value


insurgents in a village on the
surrounding mountains. While
climbing near vertical terrain to reach
their objective, the team was
attacked in a well-coordinated and
deadly ambush. Devastating sniper,
machine gun, and rocket propelled
grenade fire poured down on the
team from elevated and protected
positions on all sides, immediately
pinning down the assault force.
Without regard for his life, Airman
Rhyner placed himself between the
most immediate threats and
provided suppressive fire with his M4 rifle against enemy fire while fellow

teammates were extracted from the


line of fire. Airman Rhyner bravely
withstood the hail of enemy fire to
control eight United States Air Force
fighters and four United States Army
attack helicopters. Despite a
gunshot wound to the left leg and
being trapped on a 60-foot cliff
under constant enemy fire, Airman
Rhyner controlled more than 50
attack runs and repeatedly repelled
the enemy with repeated danger
close air strikes, several within 100
meters of his position. Twice, his
actions prevented his element from
being overrun during the intense 6
and a half hour battle. Through his

extraordinary heroism, superb


airmanship, and aggressiveness in
the face of the enemy, Airman
Rhyner reflected the highest credit
upon himself and the United States
Air Force.

Justin Wilson
Pool workout requiring a medical
corpsman, lifeguard, and safety
diver.

Warm up with a 700 meter swim


using breaststroke.
Place a 70-80 lb kettlebell (or
weight belt) on the bottom of the
deep end of a training tank
(swimming pool). Swim down, lift the
kettlebell, and "run" across the pool
underwater on a breath-hold. Set
the weight down on the bottom, and
then with a controlled assent. rise to
the surface. Recover for 3 minutes
on the side of the tank; then repeat.
Complete 7 sets. Recover at the end
of the last set for 3 additional
minutes.
Finish by swimming freestyle for
1000 meters.

Meet the Hero


Justin Wilson
The President of the United
States Takes Pleasure in
Presenting The Navy Cross
To
Justin Wilson, Chief Petty Officer
U.S. Navy
Chief Petty Officer Justin A. Wilson,
native to Beloit, Kansas, joined that
small circle Nov. 25, 2014, receiving

the Navy Cross aboard Marine


Corps Base Camp Pendleton for the
heroic actions he displayed while
supporting Operation Enduring
Freedom, Sept. 28, 2011.
On that day, Wilson, a Special
Amphibious Reconnaissance
Corpsman with 1st Marine Special
Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine
Corps Forces, Special Operations
Command (MARSOC), was on a
patrol with Marine Special
Operations Team (MSOT) 8113.
Wilson voluntarily set out with Staff
Sgt. Nicholas Sprovtsoff, the
MSOTs explosive ordinance
disposal technician, and Staff Sgt.

Christopher Diaz, a Military Workingdog handler attached to MSOT


8113, to clear an Improvised
Explosive Device (IED) near an
Afghan Local Police checkpoint in
Helmand province.
Upon approaching the IED for
disposal, a sizable explosive
detonated.
Wilsons award citation described
what happened next, and reads,
despite being disoriented by the
dust and overpressure from the
blast, and knowing the enemys
tactic of emplacing multiple IEDs in
proximity, Petty Officer Wilson

immediately left the safety of his


position and searched the
checkpoint until he located the
severely wounded EOD Tech.
Upon locating Sprovtsoff, two
additional team members ran
through the likely bomb ridden area
to assist in rendering aid, and
removing the EOD Tech from the kill
zone.
During the attempt to move
Sprovtsoff to safety, Wilsons
anticipation of multiple emplaced
IEDs was realized and the second
explosive detonated.
"I knew what lay ahead. I think they

[Diaz and Sprovtsoff] knew what lay


ahead and I think everybody knew
what was going to happen that day,"
Wilson said to the audience, after
receiving the award. The second
blast severely wounded Wilson and
mortally wounded his teammate.
Wilson, even after sustaining serious
injuries, paid no mind to his own
welfare, and proceeded to move his
teammate to safety, where he
coursed through life saving
procedures until the Marine
succumbed to his wounds.
Still not certain of the condition of
the other two team members, or if
any other IEDs remained, he

immediately returned to the


checkpoint in search of his fellow
teammates.
"This is a man who literally ran
through multiple IEDs with complete
disregard for his own safety, he
didn't hesitate for one second to run
to the sound of the guns, said Maj.
Gen. Joseph L. Osterman,
commander of MARSOC.
When Wilson reached his fallen
comrades, he soon realized there
was nothing more he could do to
save the lives of his teammates, and
only then did he allow for the
treatment of his own wounds.

Two of the Marines who died that


28th day of Sept., 2011, Diaz and
Sprovtsoff, felled by the explosions
of this same IED incident,
posthumously received Bronze Star
Medals with combat distinguishing
devices, received by their families in
the same ceremony. Both Diaz and
Sprovtsoff received the awards in
recognition of their willing and
courageous advancement into
danger.
[Hero] is a word we tend to use
pretty frequently these days, or we
have for the last 10 years. There
have been a lot of folks who have
done heroic things, he said. But I

think as you listen to the citations


today, these are genuine and true
heroes, concluded Osterman.
Wilson is the first sailor assigned to
MARSOC to be awarded the Navy
Cross, joining his Marine brothers as
the seventh service member within
MARSOC to receive the medal.

Bonus Workouts

Heidi the Mighty


Three sets for time:
1.

10 Box jumps 24 or 30 inches high

2.

15 Jumping bends and thrusts

3.

Jump rope: 50 double-unders or


100 singles

4.

20 Kettlebell swings using 30 or 50


pounds

5.

15 Air squats

6.

10 Ball slams with a 24 or 30


pound ball

Finn McDrger

Finn McDrger departs from our


principles of no isolation exercises.
As you can see Finn is into beach
muscles, so this workout is his

attempt to build bigger beach


muscles.
Biceps
1.

One repetition of a close-grip


chin-up, completed over the course
of 60 seconds: Slowly pull up for
30 seconds to the up position,
pause, then slowly lower yourself
until your arms are straight.
2. Immediately after completing the
one minute chin-up, pick up a
barbell and complete 10-15 biceps
curls.
3. Immediately after completion of
the biceps curls, pick up a
dumbbell in each hand and

perform 15-20 hammer curls.


Triceps
1.

One repetition of a bar dip


completed over the course of 60
seconds: Start in the up position
and slowly lower yourself to the
down position over 30 seconds,
pause, then slowly raise yourself
back up until your arms are
straight.
2. Immediately after completing the
one minute bar dip, pick up a
weight and perform 12-15 triceps
extensions.
3. Immediately after completing the

triceps extension, perform as many


push-ups as possible.
This workout will give you a major
arm pump and is good for creating
large muscular arms.

Submarine
Fitness

For special warfare operators being


transported to a mission on board a
submarine, there are special fitness
considerations. Namely space, time

and noise. There is limited space on


board submarines and usually only
one or two people at a time can use
that space; so operators will need to
take turns exercising. Additionally,
submarines are meant to run quietly,
so there cannot be the clanging of
weights on a submarine. To that end,
be careful to land quietly when
performing jumping exercises.
1.

Split jumps: 50 repetitions (land


softly)

2.

Towel pull-ups: 12 repetitions

3.

Push-ups: 50 repetitions

4.

Skater jumps: 50 repetitions

5.

Eight count body builders: 40


repetitions

6.

Single leg squats: 25 repetitions


on each leg

7.

Body rolls: 50 repetitions

8.

Rock star: 50 repetitions

9.

Sprinter Step: 25 repetitions on


each side

10. Towel pull-ups: 12 repetitions


11. Bar dips: 20 repetitions (you can
use two chairs for parallel bars)
12. Bends and thrusts: 30 repetitions
13. Curl-ups: 30 repetitions

14. Push-ups: 50 repetitions


15. Side jump squats: 50 repetitions
(land softly)
16. Combining Core Stabilizers (side
bridge-plank-side bridge): 20
repetitions
17. Side jump squats, 50

Leeny's
Nightmare

1.
2.

Body Rolls: 50 repetitions


Goblet squats: 30 repetitions with
30 pounds
3. Split jumps: 100 repetitions
4. Sandbag lunge walk: 30 steps on
each side

5.
6.

Curl ups: 30 repetitions


Mountain climbers: 40
repetitions
7. Bar dips: 30 repetitions
8. Single leg deadlifts: 15 repetitions
on each side
9. Push-ups: 50 repetitions
10. Side jump squat: 30 repetitions
11. Planks and side bridges: Hold for
30 seconds in a plank and 30
seconds in each side bridge

Naval Academy
Birthday Party

(1)
I learned these birthday party
workouts from the Marine Corps
military advisers to the Naval
Academy football team.
Load 300 pounds (or whatever you
can push for 25 yards) onto a sled,
and push the sled for 25 meters. Then
all of the guests (usually 5-8) do the
same. Everyone repeats this drill until
you have reached the number of years
old of the birthday boy or girl. If 35
years, then the sled is pushed 35
times by each person.

Naval Academy
Birthday Party
(2)
Load a squat bar with your body
weight and squat it for 30 repetitions.

Shane's Pain (1)


A timed 14 mile ruck march/run with
50 pounds in a ruck sack

Shane's Pain (2)


Partner with a driver and another
person to help push. Perform a mile
vehicle push.

Sherlock's Pain
Perform 10 sets for time
1.

Pull-ups: 8 repetitions

2.

Push-ups: 16 repetitions

3.

Air squats: 20 repetitions

4.

Run 400 meters

Recon Ruck
Ruck march with waterproofed but

positively buoyant 50 pound rucksack


(it weighs 50 pounds but does not
sink in water). Ruck march 3miles to
the beach. Then fin swim 2500 meters
in open water, pushing the ruck sack
through the water. Then ruck march
for 3 miles back.

Team Leader
Run 8 miles

Ranger Up

Perform 10 sets for time.


1.

Rope climb 20 feet

2.

Run 400 meters

EOD Swim
Warm up with a 500 meter freestyle
swim. Then perform 10 X 200 meter
intervals for time with 40 seconds rest
between each 200 meter swim. Finish
with a 400 meter breast stroke swim.

Pathfinder
1.

2.

3.

4.
5.

Deadlifts with heavy weight (7080% of your one rep maximum): 5


sets of 5 repetitions
Shrugs: 3 sets of 12 repetitions
with the same weight as the
deadlift
Single arm lunge walk with 40
pounds: 20 steps forward, switch
arms, then walk 20 steps back to
the start
Farmer's walk with 70 pounds: 60
meters with each hand
One leg deadlifts with 15-20

pound kettlebell (work on control):


3 sets of 15 repetitions
6. Curl ups: 30 repetitions
7. Body rolls: 30 repetitions
8. One armed clean and jerks: 30
repetitions per each side with 40
pound kettlebell

Time Cruncher
Man makers with 25 pound
dumbbells: Perform 25 repetitions for
time

HALO

Perform as may rounds as possible in


20 minutes.
1.
2.
3.

Pull-ups: 20 repetitions
Push-ups: 50 repetitions
Air squats: 75 repetitions

FAST Team
Perform 10 sets for time.
1.

Box jumps (24 inch box): 10


repetitions
2. Push-ups: 20 repetitions

The Bear
Perform 8 rounds for time.
1.
2.

Run 400 meters


Bear crawl 50 meters

Doc's Medicine
Load 300 pounds (or an amount that
you push) onto a sled. Tie a 75 foot
fitness rope to the sled.
Push the sled until the rope is fully
played out. Run back and grab the
rope, pulling it back hand-over-hand
to the start.

Perform for time.


1.
2.

3.
4.

5.

6.

Sled pushes/pulls: 6 repetitions


Farmer's walk with 70 pound
dumbbell, kettlebell, or barbell in
one hand: Walk for 100 meters per
hand, 2 repetitions per hand
Kettlebell swings with 50 pounds:
50 repetitions
Kettlebell snatches with 40 pound
kettlebell: 25 repetitions per each
side
Sandbag lunge walk with a 40
pound sandbag: 25 meters on one
shoulder, then 25 meters on the
other shoulder
Ball slams with 24 pound ball: 20

repetitions
7. Kettlebell swings with 50 pounds:
50 repetitions
8. Side jump squats: 50 repetitions

Explosiveness
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Barbell clean and jerks: 15 sets of


2 repetitions
Box jumps (24 inches): 4 sets of 10
repetitions
Split jumps: 50 repetitions
Ball slams with 30 pound ball: 20
repetitions
200 Meter sprints: 10 repetitions

Air
A lifeguard, corpsman, and safety
diver are required for this event.
Breath hold drills with fins in a
training tank (swimming pool).
Perform 10 repetitions of 50 meter
breath-hold drill while wearing fins.
Totally recover to normal breathing
before attempting each breath hold
drill.
After completing the breath-hold
swimming, catch your breath, take off
your fins, and complete a 1500 meter

swim using the stroke of your choice.

Ten Minutes
Grab a 40-50 pound kettlebell and
do not set it down until all of the
kettlebell exercises are complete.
Do not stop between exercises.
Progress from one to another
without interruption; there is no rest
between sets.
1.

One arm kettlebell swings for 30


seconds left hand
2. One arm kettlebell swings for 30
seconds right hand
3. Kettlebell clean and jerks for 30

seconds left hand


4. Kettlebell clean and jerks for 30
seconds right hand
5. One legged deadlift for 30
seconds left hand
6. One legged deadlift for 30
seconds right hand
7. Kettlebell snatch for 30 seconds
left hand
8. Kettlebell snatch for 30 seconds
right hand
9. Goblet squats for 60 seconds
10. Overhead lung walk 30 seconds
left hand
11. Overhead lung walk 30 seconds
right hand
12. Two arm kettlebell swings for 30

seconds
Set the kettlebell down
13. Pull-ups: Maximum repetitions in
60 seconds
14. Push-ups: Maximum repetitions
in 60 seconds
15. Bear crawl for 90 seconds

Five Minute
Battle Ropes
With heavy rope or an old fire hose,
make alternating "waves" with the

rope. Perform the exercise for 20


seconds on, and 10 seconds of rest
for 10 cycles.

My Journey

My Journey
In an attempt to share why I should
have a voice on the topic of fitness of
elite military forces, I have included
this next section my personal journey
of learning about exercise, fitness,
and conditioning programs. As a child
I was scrawny and diminutive. From
kindergarten until high school I was
the smallest in my class and the one
who attracted the most bullying. I
hated school and was not interested
in sports. However, my family owned
horses, so I grew up spending most of
my time riding through the Southern

California hills and having adventures


at the ranch. The ranch and horses
were my escape from being
tormented at school. I was so small
and was such a good equestrian that I
entertained the very real possibility of
becoming a jockey when I was older.
Although, I was small, in gym class
(back when we all went to gym class) I
was almost always the best in
endurance events, long distance
running. I made the cross-country
team in junior high and high school
and was a middle of the pack runner.
Long distance running was a sport in
which a small person could do well.

In addition to horses, my awesome


parents also indulged my other
interest, scuba diving. At age 13, I was
certified as a scuba diver, something I
have loved my whole life. I became
very comfortable in the water and
with ocean swimming.
I did poorly at school, but became an
enthusiastic reader. Westerns were
my favorite genre. I read stacks of
them. In all the westerns, I remember
the blacksmith was always described
as being muscular and strong. I
longed to be muscular and strong: so
with that goal in mind, I enrolled in a
local trade school which had summer
and evening classes in horse shoeing.

Swinging heavy hammers, lifting


anvils, bending hot iron, and pumping
the coal burning forge was certainly
hard work. I got stronger, but I was
still small.
It was not until my father was
transferred to Northern California
when I was 15 that I was exposed to
the science of strength training, and
my life was transformed. I enrolled in
a strength and conditioning class at
my new high school, and at the same
time my male hormones kicked in. I
went from bench pressing 90 pounds
to 300 pounds in one year, from
doing a couple pull-ups and bar dips
to 20 pull-ups and 50 bar dips by age

16. A cross-country runner was


stronger than everyone on the
football team! During that year I also
grew in height and gladly gave up all
ambitions of becoming a jockey. I took
some judo classes and began boxing
at a local Police Athletic League gym. I
still was no athlete, but I learned
about progressive fitness training and
continued to enjoy long distance
running. I trained for trainings sake;
exercise was somehow cathartic.
In high school I worked as an
apprentice to a horseshoer (farrier)
and at a local feed store bucking bales
of hay. These were both very physical
jobs. My friend Frank Hayes and I

spent our free time training in


preparation to join an elite military
unit. He wanted to join the Green
Berets while I put my eyes on joining
the Marine Corps with the hope of
making it into an elite Marine Recon
unit. The Marines are the most elite
military service, and I, like many, had
hopes that even if I did not make it
into Recon, I would still be in Marine
Corps combat arms. That was my
plan until a Navy recruiter told me
about Navy Hospital Corpsmen. Navy
Corpsmen are the medics for both the
Marine Corps and the Navy. I could
be stationed with the Marines or
become a Navy Diver. So as soon as I

turned 17, with my parents


permission and early graduation, I
joined the U.S. Navy.
After boot camp, Hospital Corps
School, and Field Medical School I was
assigned to the third Marine Division
in Kaneohe, Hawaii. I arrived on a
balmy Sunday afternoon and reported
to base. They put me and all of the
other newcomers into a temporary
holding barracks.
I remember staying in the holding
barracks the first night in Kaneohe. I
was awakened at 0430 by the sound
of men running and singing cadence,
I wanna be a Recon Ranger, I wanna

live a life of danger I got out of my


bed and looked out the window to
see the formation of Recon trainees
running down the road below. Let
me tell you a story thats never been
told, bout a Recon Ranger and his
wings of gold.
There in the early morning, long
before the sun peaked over the
horizon, those men were being forged
into tempered steel. Their day began
long before mine began and would
end long after mine. They were going
to be pushed to the limits of their
endurance this very day. Some would
make it, many would not. My chest
ached. I longed to be part of that

tribe. I wanted to be tested and


found worthy.
I was assigned to a Marine Corps
infantry company as a platoon
corpsman. My life in the infantry was
Spartan. We trained hard and spent
much time in the field. In fact soon
after I arrived, we spent six long cold
weeks in the Alaskan Arctic training
and learning cold weather warfare
and survival. I remember dragging
sleds across the snow for weeks as
part of the training. Not only did I
train hard with my unit, but I also
trained even harder during my free
time: running, swimming, calisthenics,
obstacle course work and pull-ups. I

wanted to make it into that Recon


Company.
When the opportunity to try out for
Recon arose, I took it. I was accepted
into the Recon training pipeline, and
the Spartan lifestyle which I had
experienced thus far was just a
prelude to what Recon had in store
for me. My first day in Recon was the
start of Amphibious Reconnaissance
School which was weeks of swimming,
running, telephone pole physical
training, running with rubber boats on
our heads, and drills with small
rubber boats in and out of the surf
zone. The course concluded with an
all-night amphibious reconnaissance

mission. We essentially spent the


entire night swimming in the ocean.
After that school, I was sent to one
school after another. Each school
required high levels of fitness and the
ability to endure hardship in the field.
From Amphibious Reconnaissance I
went to Recon Indoctrination Training
(RIP), pre-scuba, Navy Dive School,
Army Recondo School, FBI antiterrorist training, POW camp training,
survival training, winter warfare
instructor training, submarine escape
trunk training, Naval Parachutist
training, and more. Life was busy.
When I wasnt going to formal
schooling I was training, or on

deployment.
I was living with 80 men who were just
like me, we trained hard and we loved
it. There were all sorts of tough men
in Recon and they all loved long hard
runs. While living in Hawaii a new
sport started, the Ironman triathlon.
One of my friends, Bill Kipp, heard
about the Ironman and went out and
purchased an old Schwinn ten speed
bicycle at a Goodwill store. He took it
on a 50 mile trial ride and then
entered and completed the Hawaiian
Ironman Triathlon. Looking back on
it, I realize that we were all at
Ironman levels of fitness.

Virtually everyone in Recon could do


20 pull-ups, with one man able to do
90 pull-ups. I personally maxed out at
35 pull-ups, 25 muscle-ups, and 70 bar
dips. We were a running tribe. We
could all run very well. While virtually
all of us were running three miles in
under twenty minutes, we had a high
percentage who could run three miles
under eighteen minutes. While my
best three mile time was 16:30, but
we had one Marine who could run it
in 14:30. We would run for hours.

Along with the college bound


young men from my reserve
Naval Special Warfare
platoon, I participated in
triathlons, marathons, open
water swims (including five
swims from Alcatraz to San
Francisco, and one seven mile
swim from the Golden Gate
Bridge to the Oakland Bay
Bridge), mountain climbing,
and ski camping in the High

Sierras.

Steve O'Connor leading our


climb of Half Dome, Yosemite
California.
After being discharged from active
duty, I started college and joined the
Navy Reserves. I drilled briefly with a
mobile dive and salvage unit (hardhat
diving), then transferred to a Reserve
SEAL platoon. I am not a SEAL, but
this unit needed a hospital [medical]
corpsman that was dive and
parachute qualified.
To bring me up to standard, this unit

sent me to Special Operation


Technician training (dive medical
technician training). They also trained
me in close-circuit diving (diving with
gear which leaves no bubbles) and
combat swimmer training at the Naval
Special Warfare Center, Coronado,
California.
I was in this unit for most of the 1980s
while I was in college and beginning
my career. In this SEAL unit I became
very close with other college bound
SEALs, another Recon Corpsman, and
an Army Ranger who was jump, dive,
and most importantly jumpmaster
qualified.

Because this SEAL unit needed


medical support and a jumpmaster so
they allowed the two Recon
Corpsman (me included) and the
Army Ranger Jumpmaster into the
platoon as operators. In addition to
training for special operations during
our weekends and summers, the
younger members of the platoon met
frequently to engage in some
extracurricular hard core physical
training.
We lived and trained in the San
Francisco Bay area and were
influenced by the feats of the fitness
legend Jack LaLanne who performed
big fitness events every year. Like him

we would do one monumental fitness


event each year.

A photo of me on top of Half


Dome with Yosemite Valley in
the background. This was
taken after completing a
technical climb of Half dome.
One year we did a run-swim-run from
Capitola Beach to Santa Cruz,
California. We ran along the beach
until we came to a wharf, cliff,
waterway, or obstacle, and then
would swim around it. Another year
we swam from Alcatraz to San

Francisco without wetsuits. Feats in


other years included a technical climb
of Half-Dome in Yosemite, California,
running the Double Dipsea run over
Mount Tamalpais from the San
Francisco Bay to Stinson Beach and
back, rigorous back country crosscountry ski excursions, and sleeping in
snow caves. We ran the Oakland
marathon and competed in biathlons
and the new sport of triathlons. One
of our platoon members, Chuck
Newman, even came in second in the
Hawaiian Ironman completing the
entire bicycle portion of the event in
running shoes. Before leaving this
unit and California I completed the

swim from Alcatraz five times and the


seven mile swim from the Golden
Gate Bridge to the Oakland Bay Bridge
once.
The older grizzled SEALs in the
platoon looked at us younger ones
and the amount of food we ate after
training and gave us our moniker,
You guys arent the Dogs of War, you
are the Dogs of Chow! The Dogs of
Chow, that was us. I stayed in that
reserve unit for most of a decade.

Exiting the waters of San


Francisco Bay after my second
(of five) swims from Alcatraz.
This one was part of a
triathlon. Note that in the
early 1980s wetsuits weren't
allowed.

I started college with the intent to


become a physical therapist or to
return to the military as an officer in
special operations, but these goals
were altered when a training injury
left me incapacitated for months.
After failing medical treatment in
desperation I went to a chiropractor
who in one week had me 90% better
from my malady. Immediately I
switched my goal. I was going to be a
chiropractor.
At Palmer College of
ChiropracticWest I met my wife,
Clare, also an avid fitness enthusiast.
Our first date was a swimming

workout, which turned into an all-out


one mile race. I had thought the Navy
SEALs were competitive, but they in
no way prepared me for Clare. Now
she was (is) a competitor.
During my summers I would activate
to Coronado, California and treat the
SEAL and SDV teams as well as the
students in the Basic Underwater
Demolition/SEAL training (BUDS)
program. I would have men lined up
as I treated them with chiropractic
adjustments on the pool table in the
recreation room.
I also trained throughout the year
with my reserve unit. We trained in

mountaineering, winter warfare,


airborne operations, riverine warfare,
and our primary mission, the
underwater ship attack: the rubber
duck op. In the ship attack, we would
rise early in the morning and rig a
rubber boat with our dive gear,
weapons, explosives (or simulated
explosives), and a parachute. We
would then outfit ourselves.
For the Rubber Duck operation we
would parachute with a rubber boat
(aka the rubber duck) over the
horizon at night. Typically we
parachuted between 25 and 40 miles
out to sea. Once in the water, we
would rig the rubber boat and head

toward shore. When we were within


three miles of our target, a ship, we
would deploy combat swimmers from
the rubber boat and start swimming
toward our target on the surface.
After swimming on the surface for a
mile and a half, we would submerge
with our Drger Lar V rebreathers
(dive rigs which leave no tell-tale
bubbles). Then we would swim
relying solely on our compasses and
watches for 1 miles to the target
and another 1 miles back. At the
target we would place magnetic mines
on the hull of a ship. Then we would
swim back to our rubber boat
underwater again using the compass

to navigate the murky darkness. Once


back on the rubber boat we would
return to the open ocean to
rendezvous with a submarine or
patrol boat 25 miles out in the open
sea. In one night we would traverse
45-60 miles, 6 of those miles were
swimming, and 3 of those 6 miles
were swimming were underwater.
With the birth of my first son and the
increased workload of my practice, I
decided to end my 14 year stint in the
operational Navy in order to focus on
my practice and young family. I
continued to work out and compete
in foot races, triathlons, and even in a
body building competition. When my

sons were old enough, we all took up


martial arts training which occupied
much of our energy for most of the
next 20 years. For twelve of those
years I ran my own dojo after work,
Chieftain Martial Arts Academy, and
taught scores of students.

After completing college I


spent a summer in the West

African country of Liberia


providing medical care
through Partners
International.

Taking a shot from my


daughter, Heidi, while

teaching martial arts.


My own Sensei was a stickler for
fitness. For our black belt test we
needed to perform 1000 jumping
jacks, 350 sit-ups, 150 push-ups, and
300 squat kicks before we even
started the technical portion of the
black belt test. In time I attained the
rank of 5th degree black belt in
Shaolin Kenpo/Aki-jujitsu. My all-time
maximum for push-ups in one set was
150, which I did at age 41 during my
black belt test.
Thirteen years into my private

practice I re-affiliated with the Navy


by becoming a treating provider for a
research project at the National Naval
Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland
(now Walter Reed National Military
Medical Center). Seventeen years
later I am still caring for wounded
warriors and various other types of
patients. In addition to the military, I
have been called to work in executive
health clinics to provide care for high
ranking government officials. In 2009 I
began caring for the United States
Naval Academys football team,
providing care mid-week and before
and during games.
Working with the strength coaches,

certified athletic trainers, orthopedic


surgeons, and coaches at the Naval
Academy has been an eye opening
experience. I have learned volumes
about functional training and
performance. This knowledge,
coupled with my time working with
the specialists at Walter Reed, my
time in Marine Recon, and serving as
the primary corpsman for a SEAL
platoon has prepared me to identify
flaws in conditioning programs and to
create programs.

A recent photo of my wife,

Clare, and I at the halfway


point of a trail run.
Warrior Athletes
Imagine the most fit, the craziest, and
most dare-devilish person at your
high school. Now picture scores of
people just like them from all across
the country, all in the same military
unit. Those are the men I served with.
And these are the people who
comprise most of the special warfare
community.
The Great White

Rich White was a Vietnam era Navy


SEAL. When I knew Rich, he was in his
late thirties and early forties. He was
not a great runner, and he was always
trying to get out of parachute
jumping, but this man could breathhold dive like no one I have ever met.
He was a champion spear fisherman
and a promoter of the sport of
underwater hockey (Google it). While
Rich and I did not always see eye-toeye, I respected him as a combat
veteran and frogman. Plus he is one
of the best breath-hold divers I have
ever seen in action.
Every year my Naval Special Warfare
platoon would go up the coast of

California for a weekend of abalone


diving with our families. Abalones
are large mollusks which are a delicacy
and can only be taken on breath-hold
dives. They are typically pried off of
rocks with a large abalone iron. During
one of our abalone excursions, Rich
went down without an abalone iron
and caught his limit of four abalone in
one breath hold dive. He simply
plucked them off the rocks by hand. It
took me an hour of breath-hold dives
to get my limit, but he got his in less
than three minutes. After that he
took his teakwood spear gun and
dove down 100 feet in the murky
water near Fort Brag, California, and

speared two large sea bass on one


breath-hold dive.
Elijah Morgan
Elijah Morgan joined our reserve SEAL
unit after his second stint in the
teams. He was older than most of us
when he returned to Naval Special
Warfare after a substantial break in
service. The Navy made him repeat
the Basic Underwater Demolition
School (BUDS). Bear in mind that it is
rare for anyone to pass this hard
school once, but to pass it twice the
second time while in your midthirties, is superhuman. When I asked
him what it was like to redo BUDS in

his thirties he responded with, It was


a good way to lose weight. Elijah is
now a gemologist. In fact he is the
Indiana Jones of gemology.
Murphy
John Murphy was a specimen, an East
coast SEAL who I suspect had an extra
Y chromosome (of the chromosomes
which determines your sex, Y is the
male chromosome). When Murph first
joined the team he told us that he
could not lift weights because he
would get too big. We thought he
was exaggerating. However, when we
were on active duty and exercised
every day, we actually saw his muscles

swell and develop at a phenomenal


pace. I agree with John, if he were to
work out with weights, he would get
too large.
Murph was an East coast SEAL, so he
had not done any mountain climbing.
I remember his first experience
climbing. He looked at the first leg of
the climb we intended to perform. As
we prepared to lay protection and use
ropes to climb the first 80 feet, he
simply put the rope on his back,
climbed the cliff and then lowered the
rope to us. With no training, no
protection, and no fear he climbed
the 80 feet as if he had been climbing
his whole life.

Oak
Steve OConner was strong. When I
knew him, he was in his mid-thirties
and working construction in
Porterville, California. He was a
Vietnam-era SEAL. We were getting
trained in mountaineering by a world
class climber in Northern California.
The instructor, a man who had
climbed Everest, was showing us some
climbing moves on some low (40 foot
boulders). On one route he got stuck
and could not make it to the top. So
he recommended that we not attempt
that route when we attempted to
climb. Oak, who had never climbed
before and was closing in on middle

age, took the route that the instructor


had failed. With little effort he
climbed that pitch of rock with some
of the most athletic moves any of us
had ever seen. Even the world-class
climber was astounded. In 1986 Oak
and I climbed Half Dome in Yosemite,
California. I let Oak do most of the
lead climbing.
Sean
Sean (a young man I had mentored),
who is serving in harms way in an
Army Special Forces Unit as I write
this, is another physical specimen. He
is a third degree black belt in Shaolin
Kenpo and Aki jujitsu. He trained for

years before joining the Army and


trying out for Army Special Forces.
Sean did several orienteering courses
and trained incessantly. One day he
took off with his backpack loaded with
weight.
After a couple hours I became worried
and got in my car to go for him. I
found him out in the snow-covered
countryside running, twelve miles,
with a 60 pound pack. Though the
Armys Special Forces Q-course put
him through much greater hardships
than a twelve mile ruck run, it shows
the dedication that is required when
preparing to become a special warrior.

Parachuting with the reserve


SEAL platoon I was assigned as
a corpsman. To the right of
me is Murph, and next to him
is "The Great White."
Goody
We did not have many black Marines
in Recon; some murmured that it had
something to do with the swimming
requirement. But Charles Weldon
Goodman dispelled all of those
misconceptions. Not only was he the
fastest swimmer in our Recon

Company, but he also was the best


all-around athlete. When we had
recreational sports time, whichever
team had Goodman on it won.
Whatever football team had Goody
on it always won. It was true for any
sport. He was the best all-round
athlete I had ever met.
Goody and I came up to Recon from
the same infantry company. It was in
our time in Marine Corps Infantry that
I witnessed this confrontation. The
base heavyweight boxing champion
was talking smack to Goody. Goody
told the boxer to put up or shut up.
They put on the gloves ,and Goody
soundly beat the crap out of the

boxer. Keep in mind that the boxers


full-time job was boxing and training,
while Goodys was at that time an
infantryman. In fact, I never had seen
him practice boxing.
Operator First, Athlete Second
While virtually everyone in special
warfare units is fit, and some are
competitive in sports such as
triathlons, adventure racing,
mountaineering, orienteering, or
biking, most are not competitive in
outside sports. You cannot devote
100% of your efforts to two passions.
One must suffer. In our Recon unit we
were all runners, but we were

primarily operators. This means there


were weeks and possibly months
when we were operating and our
personal fitness goals suffered.
One Marine I knew came to Recon as
a competitive marathon runner, so
much so that it became a consuming
passion for him. He did not want to go
to the field, because it would interfere
with his training. In time, it became
apparent that he was not cut out for
the operational side of the military
that he was better suited for
administrative work. He became a
groomed and fine-tuned
thoroughbred while those who
remained in the platoon remained

rugged warhorses. While not as fast in


a race, the operators were able to
endure greater hardships in the field.

Working on the sidelines of my


sixth Army-Navy Game.

Appendix: The
Medal of Honor

The Medal of

Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest
award for valor in action against an
enemy force which can be
bestowed upon an individual serving
in the Armed Services of the United
States. It is generally presented to
its recipient by the President of the
United States of America in the
name of Congress.
On Dec. 9, 1861 Iowa Senator
James W. Grimes introduced S. No.
82 in the United States Senate, a bill
designed to promote the efficiency
of the Navy by authorizing the
production and distribution of

medals of honor. On December


21st the bill was passed, authorizing
200 such medals be produced
which shall be bestowed upon such
petty officers, seamen, landsmen
and marines as shall distinguish
themselves by their gallantry in
action and other seamanlike qualities
during the present war (Civil War).
President Lincoln signed the bill and
the (Navy) Medal of Honor was
born.
Two months later on Feb. 17, 1862,
Massachusetts Senator Henry
Wilson introduced a similar bill, this
one to authorize the President to
distribute medals to privates in the

Army of the United States who shall


distinguish themselves in battle.
Over the following months wording
changed slightly as the bill made its
way through Congress. When
President Abraham Lincoln signed
S.J.R. No. 82 on July 12, 1862, the
Army Medal of Honor was born. It
read in part:
Resolved by the Senate and House
of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress
assembled, That the President of
the United States be, and he is
hereby, authorized to cause two
thousand "medals of honor" to be
prepared with suitable emblematic

devices, and to direct that the same


be presented, in the name of the
Congress, to such non-commissioned officers and privates
as shall most distinguish
themselves by their gallantry in
action, and other soldier-like
qualities, during the present
insurrection (Civil War).
With this simple and rather obscure
act Congress created a unique
award that would achieve
prominence in American history like
few others.
Hero Workouts is dedicated to the
Special Operations Forces who have
earned medals for conspicuous

gallantry.

Little Known
Facts about the
Medal of Honor
1. Until 1861 the United States did
not give awards for bravery. The
MOH was the first medal for valor
awarded by the United States.
2. More than 3,400 have been
awarded since Congress
authorized this medal in 1861.
More than 1,500 MOH were
awarded during the Civil War.

3. A Medal of Honor is received,


not won. A hero is a Medal of
Honor recipient, one does not win
the Medal of Honor.
4. Only one woman has received
the MOH. Mary Edwards Walker
was awarded the MOH during the
Civil War for her work on the
battlefield tending the wounded
and for her work as a spy for the
Union Army.
5. More than 800 non-Americans
have been awarded with an MOH.
6. Nineteen MOH recipients have
received it more than once.

7. The MOH is only awarded for


bravery in actions against an
enemy of the United States.
8. When worn in uniform, all other
service members must salute the
wearer regardless of rank. A
general would be obliged to
salute a private wearing the
Medal of Honor.
9. Medal of Honor (MOH)
recipients are entitled to a
monthly allowance of $1,259.
10. Medal of Honor recipients are
given a 10% military retirement
bonus.

Resources
Additional books available by William
E. Morgan:
Elite Units of the U.S. Military: A
photographic primer to special
warfare and elite units of the U.S.
Military

http://specialwarrior.com/store/
Elite Units of the U.S. Military A
photographic primer to special
warfare and elite units of the U.S.
military.
This Kindle book introduces the
reader to the well-known and lesserknown elite military units within the
Unites States military. It is rich with
content and high quality
photography.
Highlights of Elite Units of the
U.S. Military:

Descriptions of sixteen elite units


including selection, training, and
mission.
Hundreds of high-quality photos
unveiling the rigors of selection,
training, and missions.
While well-known special warfare
units (Navy SEALs, Green Berets,
Marine Recon, and Army Rangers)
are included in this book, it also
introduces the reader to some of the
lesser-known elite warriors like
SARC corpsmen, Marine FAST
(anti-terrorist) units, SEAL Delivery
Vehicle (SDV) Teams, Marine Scout

Snipers, and other special warfare


units.
This is an introduction for those who
would like to know more about the
elite forces that serve the United
States.

Coming Soon to Kindle:


The Marines Have Landed:
Special Operations Insertion
Techniques of the United States
Marine Corps

Please Leave Feedback on Kindle.

Please leave feedback on the


Amazon website. Your feedback is
how we update and improve this and
other products. Of course we would
love a positive review if you liked this
product, but feel free to send us
helpful suggestions as well.
You may also leave
recommendations for improvement
on our website: SpecialWarrior.com

Visit our Amazon Apparel


Store
Purchase Shirts with Logos
from the Elite Units featured
in this Book

Link to Our Apparel Store:

http://specialwarrior.com/resources/

Thoracic Mobilization
In chapter five I discussed the need to
maintain sufficient thoracic spine
motion when performing exercises
like the clean and jerk. I also
advocated the use of a foam roller to
mobilize the thoracic spine (see
excerpt below). Recently, however, I
was introduced to a new product that
is much more effective and
comfortable for thoracic spine
mobilization, the Rad Helix.

Excerpt from Chapter Five:

Figure 6. Those lacking


sufficient thoracic spine
motion will have impeded
shoulder function. In addition
to chiropractic manipulation

to the thoracic spine, the use


of a foam roller can enhance
thoracic spine mobility which
in turn will improve shoulder
motion and function. This
schematic shows the effect of
a foam roller in mobilizing the
thoracic spine and opening the
chest wall.
Rad Helix:

While the Rad can be used on the


calves, hamstrings, and hips, it is
particularly well designed to mobilize
the spine. To learn more go to:

http://www.radroller.com/#_a_

http://www.radroller.com/#_a_dr
Simply rolling on the Rad will
provided a more comfortable
mobilization of the spine. This device
is much better than a standard foam
roller for mobilizing the spine.