LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — The Forward Operating Base Gamberi fitness community participated in “Crossfit For Hope” on Friday.
Soldiers of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and civilian contractors who enjoy participating in Crossfit took part in the annual event. According to the website, the workout is conducted by athletes worldwide on the same day to raise awareness of the fight against children’s cancer and other illnesses.
“Crossfit affiliates across the world on the 5th of July are all going to do this workout,” said Lt. Col. William T. Johnson, commander of the brigade’s 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.
He said what drew him to take part in “Crossfit For Hope” was the fact that it raised money for a children’s charity.
He said each of the participants wore a small black ribbon pinned to the front left side of their shirt in remembrance of Spc. Hilda Clayton, who was killed July 2 while taking pictures of Afghan National Army soldiers during a live-fire training exercise. The mortar weapon system the Afghan National Army soldiers were using failed, resulting in an explosion that killed three Afghan soldiers and Clayton.
Clayton, of Augusta, Ga., was attached to 4th Brigade to document the development of the Afghan National Security Forces and she died doing exactly that. Her images were featured on Defense Department and Department of the Army websites, as well as in print stories read around the world.
“We knew Spc. Clayton enjoyed taking pictures and participating in Crossfit, so we wore the ribbon in remembrance of her. It gave us all a little bit of extra motivation for the workout today,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the high temperature was why they began the workout at 7 a.m.
“It was a lot of fun getting everybody out here to participate for such a worthy cause,” said Capt. Victor Montellano, a logistics officer, with the field artillery battalion.
He helped coordinate and promote the event and said even though it is a friendly competition, once people start competing against one another it gets to be pretty fun. Montellano has participated in Crossfit for the last 2½ years and said it never gets old.
“It’s a great workout, it keeps guys in shape,” Montellano said. “Crossfit is fun and brings people together.”
Spc. Samuel Hock, an infantryman with the brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, said it was good training. He started Crossfit when he got to Afghanistan. Hock recommended everyone try Crossfit, adding that it will be painful at first.
“It’s tough, the weights are light but it is all about having the proper form and technique,” Hock said. “If you can master that, you are good.”