2nd SWS remembers fallen, gets fit
By Lt. Col. Jennifer Jenkins, 2nd Space Warning Squadron commander
/ Published September 17, 2009
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- It was a crisp morning, one filled with standard feelings for a Friday: it's physical training day; it's almost the weekend. But Sept. 11 held a few more emotions for the 2nd Space Warning Squadron. Not only was it Patriot Day, an anniversary of a historic and terrible day in our nation's history, but that day was one in which the squadron would be conducting a commemorative "team-building exercise." This would happen at PT and the squadron didn't know what it would entail.
24 members of 2nd SWS, a fair number considering the lion's share of our squadron members are crew dogs and can't attend regular PT sessions, gathered at the west end of the base track. We met up with three individuals the squadron hadn't met before: Skip, Jodi and Brad Miller, owners and trainers at FrontRange CrossFit. Skip, a former Soldier and long-time athletic coach, briefed the squadron on how it would go down: first a warm-up, then a skills session to learn how to properly execute six different exercises, then the workout and a cool-down.
Here's how a CrossFit session can be not only great exercise, as we've seen in many forums, but also a team-building exercise and a tribute to those killed on 9/11: three teams of eight were sub-divided into two teams of four. Each team of four would have one person exercising at all times. There were six exercises to choose from, in sets of 10. We would transition from person to person and keep track of the total number of repetitions completed. This was important because on September 11th, 2001, 2,993 people lost their lives. This day, we would accomplish 2,993 repetitions as a team of eight.
When accomplishing almost 1,500 reps among four people, even a one-second delay between participants would result in a 2.5-minute lengthening of the total exercise. And we were working against the other teams for time! Everyone was pushing hard remembering those killed on 9/11, working together as a team and pushing to the limit.
What a morning it turned out to be! CrossFit is an exercise regime that is endlessly modifiable to anyone's given fitness level and is focused on functional fitness. It was created by a Navy SEAL and has been adopted by all the services' Special Forces. The big push of that day lasted around 35 minutes for each team, and with the warm-up, cool-down and skills session, the entire workout lasted almost 90 minutes. Each person executed nearly 400 reps of exercises including lunges, Olympic weightlifting-style squats, push-ups, sit-ups, slam balls (with 20- or 30-pound medicine balls) and kettlebell swings. Toward the end, we added sprinting.
We coordinated with each other to get through thousands of reps. We worked hard as teams. And as the 2nd SWS learned, it doesn't take much more than your own body weight to have an amazing workout, an excellent team-building experience and a memorable tribute to some our nation's fallen patriots.