AAR: 25th Anniversary Mog Mile HTL

Knoxville, TN

September 28-30, 2018

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By Sean Humphries

 

Expectations:

Let me start off by saying that this was my first HTL, so I had only one Heavy and multiple T/L’s to use for comparison. That being said, I expected this to be the hardest event I’ve done to date, with a lot of PT and a low to moderate number of miles. I also fully expected there to be a very rough end to each event that eluded to the “Mog mile” that Rangers and Delta operatives had to endure as they exfilled the city on foot. Cadre Belman was the lead Cadre and he was actively engaged in the battle in Mogadishu as a SAR team member on the Blackhawk helicopter designated Super 68.

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Actual Experience:

My expectations were partially met as we did not cover many miles, but were crushed with PT, particularly 8 count body builders (Cadre Cleve’s favorite exercise) and individual movement techniques.  We began the Heavy with a movement to a local CrossFit gym to complete a modified PT test consisting of pushups (55 min), sit-ups (65 min), pullups (15), bench press (max reps with 80% BW), back squat (max reps with 80% BW), and deadlift (max reps with 80% BW). We then moved to a known distance stretch of Riverwalk to complete a 6-mile run and 12-mile road march. The run was to be completed in 60 minutes and the road march to be completed in 3.5 hours. The run ended up coming out to 7 miles and the road march was cut short at 10 miles due to the total time consumption of the PT test.

The rest of the event consisted of short 1.5-2 mile movements carrying 7x80lb sandbags, 1x120lb sandbag, 2 litters, 3 water cans, 50lb very awkward team weight, and 20lb+ flag. In between movements we were put through bouts of PT. At the halfway mark we circled up to run through Cadre Cleve’s trademark deck of cards. Shortly after that we picked up two logs to add to our load, which were carried until the end of the Light. When we could not adapt well enough to the addition of the logs, Cadre Cleve gave us a lesson on teamwork by having us complete 73 (number of wounded soldiers during the battle) perfect 8 count body builders as a team. We were reset to 0 at least twice for our inability to meet the standard. At every stopping point during the event we went over key points on the timeline of the battle. Cadre Belman was able to add extra details that could only come from a member who had been on the ground during the events in Somalia.

Each event progressed in similar fashion. The Tough started with low crawls through a very active water fountain and the deck of cards, while the Light began with the water fountain and some PT consisting of individual movement techniques and team sandbag drills. Due to a higher number of participants, the Light was also supplemented with ammo cans and crates to join the coupon list. All three events ended by honoring the fallen with a series of exercises for each fallen soldier that Cadre Belman read off. 

Pros:

-       We had a solid team for all three events and I would be happy to do events with them again.

-       Cadre Belman’s personal participation in the battle in Mogadishu provided an awesome experience for this themed event.

-       The Cadre Belman/Cadre Cleve dynamic worked very well.

Cons:

-       There was not a legit Mogadishu Mile for any of the 3 events.

-       I now have a borderline panic attack when I think of 8 count body builders.

 

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Final Words:

Overall, I was pleasantly challenged by this HTL and I have some very fond memories from the weekend, but I honestly expected it to be much more intense. My only other Heavy, which was the first Heavy of this year’s HH, was much more of an intense challenge to me and I determined not to show up for the second Heavy before we even endexed the first. At no point during this HTL did I feel like I wouldn’t come back for the next event. My next HTL will be the 9/11 in New York next year and I’m interested to see the difference.

Renee Aly