Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: 'Special Forces' (6) Currently Viewing: 1 - 6 of 6

July 11, 2014 at 10:53am

A Ruck, Bricks and You: TRVLSQD offers Special Forces inspired challenges

Members of the Tacoma/Seattle Travel Squad train for a GORUCK Challenge at Thea's Park in Tacoma. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Two months ago a group calling itself the Travel Squad began a workout at Thea's Park on Tacoma's Foss Waterway.

A few more than a half dozen assault packs, an American flag on a short pole and a log lay on the ground.

The small group ran through a number of intensive calisthenics, threw on their packs, secured the flag and picked up the log and headed out of the park.

The squad - sometimes identified with the letters TRVLSQD and the motto "Team First, Beer Always" - headed out toward Ruston Way.

Begun by former soldier Fergus Hyke in 2011, TRVLSQD works with those individuals to develop training methods to complete the Special Forces inspired GORUCK Challenge.

"It's a good way to maintain the camaraderie of having served," Hyke's said at the time.  "It's also a good way to remain in great shape."

So what is the GORUCK (verb go + verb ruck) challenge?

The idea behind the challenge belongs to Jason McCarthy and Jack Barley, it is a variety of training scenarios designed to facilitate teamwork and communication.

The challenge offers a slice of Special Operations training.  The foundation of all GORUCK events is the wartime experience of the cadre, veterans of Special Operations who are now tasked with building a team based on unity of purpose.

GORUCK's signature events require bricks, a ruck and an attitude to work with others in order to prevail.

Part of that attitude gets you very long ruck marches with a group of about 30 people, a telephone pole in the midst of some very uncomfortable and miserable conditions.

You will be pushed past your limits.

If successful, you walk away with a GORUCK patch and more knowledge about yourself than you realized.

For example, if you weight less than 150 pounds, you carry 20 pounds of bricks in your ruck.  If you weigh over 150 pounds, you carry 40 pounds. 

"Life isn't fair," GORUCK's website proclaims.

Pretty black and weight - no questions, no excuses.  It's all about attitude.

The events - from the most introductory to one that is a very realistic 48 hours of the selection process faced by SEALs and Special Operators - bridge the gap between all walks of life: military/non-military, men/women and young/old.

Comprised of former special operations personnel, the cadre teaches teamwork and communication.

The events are held nationwide throughout the year.

For more information about the Travel Squad, visit www.trvlsqd.com.  For more information about GORUCK, visit www.goruck.com.

Filed under: Sports, Special Forces,

July 2, 2014 at 4:46pm

Col. Otto Liller replaces Col. Robert McDowell as commander of 1st Special Forces Group at JBLM

Col. Otto Liller receives the colors from Col. Robert McDowell during 1st Special Force Group change of command ceremony at JBLM July 2. Photo credit: Gail Wood

In his parting speech as commander of the 1st Special Forces Group, Col. Robert McDowell praised his unit, thanked those who have assisted in his career and reflected on his two years at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

He said it's been a fulfilling and rewarding moment in his military career that began after graduating from Ball State University in 1987.

"This has truly been the highlight of my 27 years in service," McDowell said. "It's an honor I'll never be able to top. Thank you for everything. I wish you the best. You are the best."

McDowell, who has been reassigned to Fort Bragg, is replaced by Col. Otto Liller, who began his military career in 1993.

"I wish you the very best," McDowell said to Liller during a 45-minute change of command ceremony today. "I know you're going to love this job. You'll love every bit of it."

Liller, who has been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Philippines, is no stranger to the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). Prior to his promotion as commander to replace McDowell, Liller commanded the 1st Battalion, the 1st Special Forces Group on Torii Station in Okinawa, helping support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines and throughout Asia Pacific.

Liller is looking forward to the challenge of his new assignment.

"This is more than a unit," Liller said. "This is a family and I'm glad to be home. I expect the utmost effort and professionalism from all of you. You should demand the utmost courage, compassion and leadership from me."

Liller first served with the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) from 1999-2002.

"Together we'll continue to uphold the finest traditions of the 1st Special Forces Group and the Special Forces Regiment," Liller said. "And we'll serve our nation proudly."

Brigadier General Darsie Rogers, the commanding general for USASFC, praised the performance of 1st Special Forces Group under McDowell.

"They're capable of adapting at a moments notice to a changing scenario or environment," Rogers said. "One that the 1st Special Forces Group has excelled here in the past two years under McDowell. They truly performed in any environment at any level."      

Rogers was confident that the 1st Special Forces Group will continue it's high level of performance under Liller.

"Now is the time to turn the page," Rogers said. "Otto and Wendy, you're no strangers to 1st Special Forces Group. You bring an in-depth knowledge of Asia and 1st Group. Under your command they'll continue to excel."

In 2005, Liller returned to 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) when he served as GWOT Operations Planner, Special Forces Company commander and Group Operations officer. After graduating from the University of Miami in 1993, Lillers' first assignment was with the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

May 20, 2014 at 4:10pm

Seahawks Vince Lombardi Trophy to visit Camp Murray

Sgt. Maj. Kelly Pugh of the Washington Army National Guard held the Vince Lombadri trophy during the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champions parade Feb. 5, 2014, in Seattle. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Hey Servicemembers! Bring your Seahawks gear and cameras to pose with the Seahawks Super Bowl Trophy at Camp Murray, Thursday, May 29.

The Seattle Seahawks 2014 Vince Lombardi Trophy will visit the Washington National Guard's Arsenal Museum on Camp Murray from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 29.

Along with the encased Super Bowl Championship trophy on display, two Seagal cheerleaders will also be in attendance to meet and greet with servic members and their families.

A $3 hot dog lunch — prepared by the guard's G4 directorate — along with various raffle items, will be available to benefit the Minuteman Emergency Assistance Fund, as well as the museum.

For any questions, please email wngpao@gmail.com. The Arsenal Museum is at Building 2 on Camp Murray.

Let's look at the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champions parade again!

May 16, 2014 at 9:10am

JBLM 1st Special Forces honors fallen soldiers

Deputy Commander Col. Max Carpenter pays tribute to fallen soldiers during a Memorial Day observance at 1st Special Forces Group Headquarters at JBLM, May 15. Photo credit: Gail Wood

In a somber tribute to the soldiers who have died fighting with the 1st Special Forces Group, Col. Max Carpenter thanked the fallen for their ultimate sacrifice for freedom during an early Memorial Day service at 1st SFG Headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, May 15.

He reminded everyone that freedom isn't free.

"Let us all remember that our nation is the greatest nation because we have warriors who know that freedom has a cost," Carpenter said, reading from a speech from Col. Bob McDowell. "And that the cost is worth paying if it means that our families and our nation remain free."

After Carpenter's speech, Master Sgt. Tad Duvitt then read the 22 names of the Green Berets who have died fighting in the war against terrorism since 9/11. A bell was rung as each soldier's name was read. 

"Rather than mourn, we celebrate," Carpenter said.

There were two families of the soldiers killed in action present at the 45-minute ceremony at the black granite Memorial Wall for the fallen 1st Special Forces Group.

Carpenter, the deputy commander of the 1st Special Forces, reminded everyone that a country's freedom never comes with guarantees.

"Ron Reagan once said that freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction," Carpenter said. "We did not pass it along to our children in our bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on to them for them to do the same."

To the families present, Carpenter, reading from McDowell's speech, said "we'll remain forever in your debt for your sacrifice." McDowell, the commander of the 1st Special Forces, was on assignment in the Philippines and couldn't attend the memorial service.

There are 177 names on the Memorial Wall, which include soldiers from 1st Special Forces who died in Vietnam. Twenty-two of them died in the past decade in the war against the Taliban.

"On this wall to my left are the names of the sons, husbands and brothers," Carpenter read. "They provide an eternal example of what is good and right in our nation. Men who have done more than give their life for their nation. They have given their life so that others may remain free."

That standard, Carpenter said, is what the soldiers from the 1st Special Forces in formation at the ceremony should carry on without them and fulfill the mission of freedom. Carpenter praised the fallen soldiers who all raised their hands and volunteered to do what others wouldn't.

"They stood tall and placed themselves into positions to protect those who couldn't protect themselves," Carpenter said. "As this war comes to an end for the majority of our forces, we know the sacrifices made by those who wear the green and red beret of the 1st Special Forces will go on." 

After the reading of the fallen soldiers' names, two men dressed in kilts playing bagpipes played several songs, including "Amazing Grace." As the bagpipes were played, gun fire at a distant firing range on base could be heard, a subtle reminder that there will continue to be other challenges facing the freedoms of this country and the need for other sacrifices.

"In addition to never forgetting these men, we owe these men that we will remain vigilant against our nation's adversaries," Carpenter said. "We owe these men to live life to the fullest, to cherish our God, our families, our teammates with all that we have in our finite time on this earth."

February 14, 2014 at 7:49am

Friday Morning Joe: JBLM soldiers earn Silver Stars, future of the Army, "Sharknado 2"...

Caffe Vita in downtown Olympia is where you go to discuss world events and Olympia politics.


Chief Warrant Officer Mark Colbert and Spec. 1st Class Andrew Busic each received a Silver Star in a 1st Special Forces Group (A) valor award ceremony Thursday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. They saved hundreds of lives after containing a Taliban breach at a NATO base in Afghanistan.

70 Soldiers from B Battery, 5th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, performed live-fire Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar training.

The Obama administration has released a voluntary framework developed by hundreds of companies, several federal agencies and many international contributors as a how-to cybersecurity guide for organizations in the business of running the nation's critical infrastructure.

The United States will "help" the Philippines in the event that China occupies disputed islands in the South China Sea, the US Chief of Naval Operations said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will outline the Pentagon's proposed budget for fiscal 2015 on Feb. 24, a week before its official release.

Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh had a candid discussion about the future of the Army.

As the budget shrinks and as the active Army draws down to 490,000, elimination of excess infrastructure is needed, say leaders from Army Installations, Housing & Partnerships.

A Russian nuclear policy analyst is recommending getting rid of all land-based strategic missiles as a new move in international arms control.

The Association of the United States Army is pushing back against legislation that would create a commission to determine the future makeup of the Army.

Pentagon officials have compiled a summary of the effects a winter storm battering the East Coast today is having on the Defense Department.

The top U.S. Army aviator in South Korea completed his 33-year career.

Here are some tips on how to get the most out of Netflix.

Charlie Rose's Bill Murray interview

Morrissey has announced a U.S. tour.

For one day only De La Soul is making its entire catalog available for free.

In case you were wondering who will appear in Sharknado 2 ...

Happy Take Shots At Your Friend Friday!

February 11, 2014 at 11:40am

1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) to present Valor awards Feb. 13 at Lewis-McChord

This just in from the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs Office ...

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. - The 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) will be conducting a Valor Award ceremony Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in the Carey Theater, on JBLM Lewis-Main, to recognize Soldier's heroic actions while serving the nation. 

Multiple valor awards will be presented including Silver Stars, Bronze Stars with "V" (valor) devices, and Army Commendation Medals with "V" devices.  Medals will be presented by the Commander of the U.S. Special Forces Command, Brig. Gen. Darsie Rogers and the Commander of the 1st SFG(A), Col. Robert McDowell.

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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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