FORT WALTON BEACH, FL – It’s safe to say most people go to the beach to soak up the sun and relax. However, the men of Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), aren’t most people. The Green Berets tested their endurance and mental toughness with a multi-event endurance race at Fort Walton Beach, Fla., July 18, which pushed these Soldiers to their physical limits.
“Special Forces membership requires, at times, almost super-human physical abilities that must be maintained by all members of the organization,” said Sgt. Maj. William Sarnosky, the B. Co. sergeant major.
Prior to the race the company divided itself into four teams. Each team assembled a canopy, under which they stored the equipment needed to compete and complete the endurance events.
The contest began with each Soldier completing as many sit-ups and push-ups as they could within a two-minute time limit.
Once complete the individual team members then tethered themselves to each other in preparation for the 1,000 meter swim event. Once set, the four teams then lined up side-by-side on the beach facing the Gulf of Mexico to start the race.
At the sound of a blow horn, the teams rushed into the water racing out approximately 25 meters to a marked buoy where they turned and swam parallel the beach for 500 meters to the turnaround buoy and back to the start point.
Once a team completed the swim, they exited the water and donned their boots for the next part of the race, a 1,000 meter litter carry. In this event the team members were required to carry one team mate on a stretcher 500 meters down the beach to a marked turnaround point and return.
Immediately following the litter carry the teams set out on a two-mile beach run with the requirement for each team member to wear his individual body armor weighing roughly 40 pounds.
“Events like this allow each member of the organization to size up his brother-in-arms and identify strengths and weaknesses at all levels which translates to bragging rights at home and survival on the battlefield, ” said Sarnosky. “Additionally, these carnivores enjoy pushing themselves to their limits for the sweet taste of victory!”
After the grueling two-mile run the exhausted Soldiers administered IVs to each other to rehydrate, bringing the training event to an end.
“Training near the community gives our neighbors a small, however, better understanding of who the Green Berets really are.”
Following the competition the Bravo Company men walked a half-mile long stretch of beach, picking up trash along the way.
“The idea of the police call was to demonstrate to the community that not only will we clean up after ourselves, but we care about the entire area that we now call home,” said Sarnosky.