My two oldest kids and I participated in a GORUCK Light event (#2827) this last weekend to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Operation Gothic Serpent and the Battle of Mogadishu. Most people know this battle as the one depicted in the movie Blackhawk Down where 19 US Army Rangers, Blackhawk pilots and Delta operators were lost during what should have been a quick snatch and grab. Two Medal of Honor recipients were named posthumously to give you a flavor for the heroism and selflessness displayed during this fight. Watch the movie and read up on it if you want to really appreciate the significance.
We signed up for the Light which is 4-6 hours and 5-8 miles kind of an event and considered GORUCK’s “fun(ish)” event. The start point was a big park in Columbus, the Whestone Park of Roses, which is a nice park with lots of green space and connectivity to the Olentangy Trail which run from the north suburbs all the way downtown. We figured we’d end up doing some miles on the bike path for sure. It was a beautiful day in the upper 60s and sunny and all three of us were in the right mindset for a challenging but fun event. We had watched Blackhawk Down earlier in the day to make sure we had the real meaning of the event in mind.
On arriving at the park we had no problem finding the exact start location as we saw quite a few people with rucks milling around. The flag and team weight showed up so we were all set. The team weight was 25lbs and has the tail numbers of the two Blackhawks on it - a very nice tribute.
We rucked up and moved out for our first activity. Along the way to the activity we found a nice pond of waist deep water and walked through it and the mud. I of course lost my balance and dropped my ruck which got covered in mud – off to a great start.
We moved towards a nice field where we dropped our rucks and moved to a sand lot baseball field for some sugar cookies. If you are not familiar with these, it’s pretty much roll around in sand and throw sand at your neighbors to get it in your hair, ears and other places. It worked well and we were properly dirty after getting wet. We then moved back to the field and did some stretching (pushups) and some other PT like flutter kicks and leg lifts. Cadre Pike has a good sense of humor and it made the PT enjoyable. We transitioned to doing low crawls while pushing our rucks ahead of us. I’ve not done low crawls like this before and I am sure my technique was good entertainment. One of the guys in my squad was there for his first non-firearms event and I tried to help him as much as I could. It’s a team effort and everyone needs some help now and then. Cadre also demonstrated different methods of buddy carries and for the first time had someone who could pickup him up when he played unconscious. He joked that it ruined his demo, but we all knew what we needed to do when the time comes for the Mog Mile.
After we did this round of PT we moved out and surprising for me we moved towards High Street instead of the Olentangy Trail. Cadres like to keep you on your toes! We had a large group of 35 so formed into two columns and moved out. Along the way we got plenty of stares from walkers, bikers and people in the park. We walked north on High St until we came to a bus stop that had a bit of pavement behind it. We broke down into our squads and Cadre Pike had us do some team pushups where your feet are on the shoulders of the person behind you. It was a big circle and the goal was to be synchronized so that everyone went up at the same time. The other teams got it but I was really struggling and our team was last to crack the code on how to do it. We then moved out for a good ruck. We walked further north and then turned East onto Cook Rd and walked along it, eliciting more stares and some friendly honks from cars. We made our way to Indianola and turned south. We stopped for water and continued on to North Broadway where we turned West. It was great to talk with the other people during the ruck and share funny stories and experiences. There was no time hack but we kept a good pace with Cadre Pike leading the way. We stopped on last time at the corner of High and North Broadway where many of the women hit the Verizon store for a restroom break.
I knew we were headed back to the Park of Roses and wondered when the “Mog Mile” would kick in. For those who don’t know, the Mog Mile is when the cadre declares some of our team mates casualties and the rest of us need to carry them and their gear back to the start point. This is to commemorate the Mog Mile the Rangers faced when leaving the hostile zone and moving to the Pakistani stadium. We hadn’t gone very far before the cadre called out the casualties. We were fortunate that he picked my 155lb son and not me. Our team picked him up and carried him back to the start. Each squad had a casualty so deal with, some much bigger than we had – no complaints on my side! We switched out different positions and tried to do it on the move to minimize the amount of stopping and make good time. We eventually all made it back to the start point where cadre had us line up. I think many of us thought it was patch time, but cadre had some more fun for us. We shifted away from our rucks and finished with some pushups, flutter kicks and leg lifts. He didn’t kill us but I know I was starting to feel the last 5ish hours of fun.
We all got back up, moved back over to our rucks and Cadre Pike passed out the patches. Another great GORUCK event in the book. We took a team photo and then one with the Masters (anyone over 40) and then the over 50 group took a picture. We had quite the age span from 14 to 57 in this group and everyone finished with smiles on their face including a dog who came with us. The patch for this year is unique as it is the 25th anniversary and for those wondering, RLTW is “Rangers Lead The Way.” I am very happy we were able to participate in this event.