We started at one in the afternoon at the Omaha Beach Memorial again. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and everyone is in a good mood because well, it’s a Light and uh…that little HCL thing is almost over. Like all good things in life, we start out with chugging beers in the parking lot and some lame admin stuff (roll call, lubing up your stuff). This is all kind of hazy as it’s been one or two or twenty beers since we did the thing so I’ll tell it best as I can. We started out with more offensive and defensive tactics by the cadre, there was more Higgins Boating (3x! which is fun as hell when it’s not real life), Texas flag and US flag shorts. Bloody hell it was everything you could ask for in a Welcome Party.
We’re in the Higgins boats and I’m pretty sure I’m being peed on by someone, not because I can feel it but because I am peeing on the people in front of me so I can only assume my team is doing the same #dealwithit I’m actually in the back of the boat for once and beside my battle buddy Jason. This turns out to be a good thing because I don’t have to run through the water since there is a traffic jam. Once we hit the beachhead we are to low crawl to the left but since there are so many people, me and Jason end up just laying in the water. I get the bright idea to stick my head up to see what’s going on and Ranger Jason says “Bee you’re dead” and I’m sure he wants to add “idiot” but he doesn’t ’cause he knows it’ll hurt my feelings and shit ?
So no shit there I am, casualty on Omaha Beach and Jason G. is beside me so he looks up and he gets the same treatment. I suppose he can’t let me be dumb alone, either! Some teammates low crawl over to our position and buddy bear crawl/drag us away. Despite being casualties, we figure out how to move our feet to help assist with the Casualty Relocation Project™
This Welcome Party was one of the most fun because the sand was so soft during the 3/5 second bounding and the badass shadows were taking some sweet ass pictures. Since we were so sandy, Cadre Montreal hooked it up and let us wash off in the surf by doing fireman burpees. “How do you put out a fire? Stop, drop and roll!” You’re standing in the surf, fall down and roll to your left. Then roll to your right. Since it’s a Light we only had to do five. I wouldn’t have minded more since it was so fun and I asked other people after it was over and they had the same idea but fuck you if you ever voice that opinion during the event!
After that we had to fill some sandbags up to 20 lbs and then we had some admin time. If I was better prepared I would have made it beer consumption time but such is life. Our next objective is to follow Montreal and we head east. Over the sand, across the road, up through some trails. Mind you I’m on dumb flag (aka not-Freedom Flag) duty and I am waddling like a penguin my shit is so chaffed.
Check it out (Jenks), if you’re chaffing…don’t put leukotape on your nether-regions. It only kind of works and you need to start and the top and I did not. So I have this wide-legged waddle like I have a huge-set-of-balls-but-I-don’t-cause-I’m-Asian and people are laughing at me but I can’t do anything about it because I’m laughing, too. Note: lube up plenty when rucking. All the lube allthe time! Also note: leukotape takes like 4 days to rub off of your crotch before you can peel it off comfortably.
We are Oscar Mike (“on the move” via Call of Duty) and climbing up some giant hill when we hear “slow up the front” and Montreal says “nah bro it’ll slow down naturally” and then we climb. And climb. And climb some more stairs. I turn around to see how far ahead of someone I am and I’m six steps ahead so I take a breather and Charlie Mike. So that’s another reason I love to GORUCK. I get to play Army man and use cool shit terms that nobody thinks is cool save for me and AHHH!!!!! Fuck yeah only one event until retirement again.
Eventually we arrive at the base of the path that leads up to the American Cemetery in Normandy but since we suck as a class (as classes are wont to do) we get to bear crawl and then crab walk like 25 meters. Not a far distance but when you are Crampy McCramperson like me then it’s lots of bitching and moaning (and chaffing). We finish that and we learn about some people in WWII that were connected to our teammates. We get some instruction and are to head up to the Cemetery to find people from our state or city.
I don’t have the right combination of words to articulate what you feel when you see the cemetery. I’m sure you can find a review somewhere to stir the senses but best I can come up with is “holy fucking shit!” It’s a beautiful tribute and personally, as bad as 9/11 was, I think this had the potential to be so much worse. Without this sacrifice, we might be speaking German, Russian and Japanese right now and I would have never been bitch slapped by Freedom. If I’m wrong tell me I’m wrong. Won’t hurt my feelings any (I don’t have any – I’m dead inside).
So we’re at the cemetery and I feel it is my duty as an American to walk out and read some of the names on the grave. I don’t want to make light of the situation but I have to walk out and read some names and it takes me ten minutes to cover 200 meters. Who knew waddling took so long? I get out there and read some names but don’t tear up or feel much of anything like I did in OKC two months ago but it’s hard to take in. I think that part is leased to us as American Soil so it felt good to get some America in.
We rendezvous with the rest of our six-man team and head down to the endex. We sit around and hear some awesome stories and we hear the sweet, sweet words of “Congratulations! You get to bear crawl backwards up these steps!” KIDDING!They never said that but man that would be some shit, wouldn’t it? We are endexed, the class is secured and the HCL people are shoved off to the side to get patched up. Personally, I don’t agree with that at all, we are one team until the patching ceremony so patch us as one Light team, damn it. Give us the HCL patch after the fact.
We finish and get patched up, I think there are around 21 of us and I wish we would have gotten to know each other more. I can’t tell who is who by looking at the picture but let me see dat ass and a sandbag on their back and I’ll tell you their life story. Nature of the game I suppose. 3 repeat offenders as far as I could tell.
So HCL Class 014, solid work! It wasn’t as much of a beat down as some of you wanted (some people mentioned they wanted more PT after it was all said and done and I told them to keep their dumb thoughts to themselves) but it was good work. I am confident that everyone who finished this HCL would have finished any other HCL. It all sucks, keep going! AHHH!!!!
My takeaway from the HCL is this:
1) Single ladies, if you like long walks on the beach, have I got the date for you ???
2) If you want an up close and personal tour of WWII then do the Normandy HCL. Rumor has it you’ll rappel down Pointe Du Hoc next year and climb up the ladder
3) HCL number two completed. People were talking about how much they trained their asses off and I feel bad because I didn’t do shit. I started run-walking about 7 weeks ago and it took me 73 minutes to run 5 miles on my last run before HCL and I can do one (1) pull up. I know lots of you out there who can do way more physically than me yet haven’t pulled the trigger on an HCL and I can’t figure out why. If my fat ass can do it then literally anyone can. I suppose it’s all in how you approach it mentally. I’m weak at most everything in life (being sociable, hitting on women, cardio, PT) but for some reason my mental game is pretty strong. So sign up for HCL, use whatever cheesy motivational shit you have to use to see it through and join us on the HCL Finisher side. Guess what, there’s a FB group for that shit, too!