I love to train.
When people ask what I’m training for, I often try to explain how it’s for the unforeseen.
You know; prepared for anything and at any moment.
And years ago, that was the biggest appeal to me starting CrossFit.
Despite anyone’s feelings, thoughts, or opinions on CrossFit, I have always respected their 100+ “Hero Workouts”.
Workouts dedicated to actual heroes who have paid the ultimate price doing their duty.
Is there a better motivation during a workout?
Having this sentiment is why, for two of the years End of Three Fitness has been running, we have done the…
Fallen Hero Project
You can read about the completion of the Fallen Hero Project here. Finding it hard to organize and stay on top of, I’ve had to forgo the opportunity recently.
Well, with Memorial Day coming up soon, I wanted to challenge you to a different type of workout.
- A Medal of Honor Workout.
First, let’s start with what is the Medal of Honor:
The highest US military decoration, awarded by Congress to a member of the armed forces for gallantry and bravery in combat at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.
While I was in the Air Force, I got to interact with guys like TSgt Michael T. Blout who is a Silver Star recipient.
When I was attending his Silver Star ceremony, I got to hear the citation of exactly what happened and why he received the medal.
While listening, I couldn’t help but focus on the fact that, in his citation, it read…
“He sprinted 1.6 kilometers”
And the speaker noted he was wearing about 80 lb of gear.
That’s quite a hike!
That’s a one mile sprint with full battle gear, toward the sound of gunfire to assist a wounded comrade.
The success of his mission alone was incredible!
The fitness and engine behind accomplishing such a feat is insane!
This got me thinking…
A Medal of Honor Workout
I started to read more citations of heroism, as they are a matter of public record.
Then I started reading the ones which earned the member of the armed services the highest military decoration:
- The Medal of honor
I knew if I looked hard enough not only would I find an amazing story (they all are), but I would also find a tale of incredible fitness.
I traced all the way back to World War II to find two incredible stories that matched both criteria:
- Awarded the Medal of Honor
- Took an incredible amount of fitness
I’ll tell you each of their stories, then I will transform their actions into a workout I want you to complete.
Of course, in no way, shape, or form do these workouts make you worthy of a Medal of Honor… and that is not what I am insinuating at all (duh).
You’d have to perform these workouts, while fearing for your life, saving the lives of others and a whole lot more.
Yet, maybe completing these workouts will give you a glimpse of some of the incredible acts of heroism in our world.
Maybe, just maybe, it will help us reflect this Memorial Day on those who gave it all.
Alright, let’s head back in time to WWII.
Meet Capt. Brown.
Capt. Robert “Bobbie” E. Brown
*Bold = Attributed to the workout*
One of the hardest fights the Allies had in Europe was outside Aachen, Germany, the Battle of Crucifix Hill.
Brown was placed in charge of Company C, with about 120 men, assigned to take the hill or die trying. The entire American force on the hill was a full regiment of about 500. They were facing an equal number of well entrenched Germans. If the hill was not taken, the Allies could not encircle Aachen. The Germans could pour down artillery on the entire town.
There were at least 43 pillboxes and bunkers, bristling with machine guns and plenty of men. Company C was assigned pillboxes 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 29, and 30. The worst of these was 20, with a 360 degree turret on top armed with an 88 mm cannon. The walls were 6 feet of steel reinforced concrete.
After crawling 150 yards under heavy enemy fire to 18 and blowing it up with a satchel charge, Brown crawled again through heavy enemy fire, 35 yards to 19, and several mortar rounds landed around him, knocking him down. He got back up, climbed on top of the bunker and dropped a bangalore torpedo through a hole in the roof. This blew a larger hole, into which he dropped a satchel, and destroyed the emplacement.
20, however, had 45 men and 6 machine guns aimed out around it. When he returned for more demolition, his sergeant told him, “There’s bullet holes in your canteen.” He had been hit in the hip and was bleeding profusely. He crawled down a communications trench 20 yards from 19 to 20, and saw a German entering a steel door in the side. Brown was an ex-boxer, and knocked this man out with one swing, through him inside, and then threw 2 in satchel charges, and ran.
20 exploded so violently that flames flew out the top and caught a tree on fire. Brown personally led his men on a path of destruction through the rest of their assignments, and after an hour of tooth-and-nail fighting, Crucifix Hill was reduced to smoking rubble.
The Capt. Robert “Bobbie” E. Brown Workout
Chipper, for time:
- Bear Crawl 140 meters
- 1 Ball Slam
- Bear Crawl 30 meters
- 20 burpees (knocked down by mortar fire)
- 1 Rope Climb or 1 Wall Climb
- 2 Ball Slam
- 100 burpees (for the wound)
- Bear Crawl 15 meters
- 60 seconds shadow boxing or hitting heavy bag (if you have one)
- 2 Ball slams
- 400m sprint
Give it a try!
Next, Cpl. Tony Stein
Cpl. Tony Stein
*Bold = Attributed to the workout*
The first Medal of Honor recipient for actions during the battle of Iwo Jima, Stein charged right into the thickest parts of the fray on D-Day, with the 1st Battalion, 28th Reg., 5th Marines Div. in the assault across the narrowest part of the island, in order to cut off Mount Suribachi from the rest.
He was armed with a homemade .50 caliber machine gun that he salvaged from a downed American aircraft on another island. He fired this from the hip as he charged across the volcanic plains, and engaged the enemy at every pillbox and bunker that he saw shooting at him.
He was observed far ahead of the rest of his men, following, not fleeing, the dust-spots of machine gun fire all around him, disappearing and reappearing in mortar explosions, sprinting and firing at them face to face.
He deliberately stood upright from cover to draw enemy fire to him and away from pinned down marines, and to ascertain enemy locations, then charged them and killed 20 enemy soldiers before he ran out of ammunition. His weapon fired 100 rounds in 5 seconds.
He took off his helmet and boots, then ran back down to the beach to rearm, then returned and resumed fighting. He did this 8 times, and on every trip back to the beach, he picked up a wounded man and carried him on his shoulders. He destroyed at least 14 enemy installations on the first day of action.
The Cpl. Tony Stein Workout:
8 rounds for time of…
- 200 meter farmer’s carry as fast as possible, with 2 pood kettlebell (the charge)
- 20 kettlebell swings, with 2 pood kettlebell (firing and swinging a .50 caliber rifle around)
- Cover 200 meter with anywhere from 150 lb to 225 lb on a barbell on your back (carrying weapon and a wounded soldier on your back for more ammo)
2 pood kettlebell = ~72 lb.
WWII .50 Caliber Machine Gun = ~83 lb.
Give it a try!
Remember, this article is in honor and thanks.
Have fun with the workouts, but I’ll leave you with two things:
First, a quote from a fallen hero, First Lieutenant Mark Dooley, “Remember that my leaving was in the service of something that we loved, and be proud. The best way to pay respect is to value why a sacrifice was made.”
Second, a question…
What’s your fitness ready for?
Other sources not linked in article: