Luke honors fallen Airman with intense workout
By Airman 1st Class Pedro Mota, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 27, 2017
LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --
Thunderbolts gathered at the base of the Troy Gilbert Memorial Bridge to perform an intense workout to commemorate the life of a fallen hero, Maj. Troy Gilbert, Nov. 27, 2017.
Before the 30 two-man teams started, Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, 56th Fighter Wing commander, expressed a few words to Gilbert’s family, friends and the participating Thunderbolts.
“At the apex of the Troy Gilbert Memorial Bridge is a plaque that outlines the service and sacrifice he gave for our country,” Leonard said. “We use this bridge daily, and I never want crossing it to be routine. As we go through the workout, you’ll notice the 34 repetitions were in honor of the age he passed away, 56 repetitions were done because he deployed out of the 56th Fighter Wing, 20 burpees simulating the 20 mm rounds he fired at insurgents to keep the soldiers on the ground safe, and the five different stations placed throughout the bridge are in honor of the five children he loved so dearly and left behind.”
After the opening ceremony, five teams lined up to begin one of six heats.
At station one, participants completed a 34 calorie rows, and 34 sumo deadlift high-pulls with a 53 pound kettlebell for males and a 35 pound kettlebell for females. After both partners completed both exercises, they took the kettlebells and ran to the second station at the apex of the bridge.
At station two, one partner completed 56 squats while holding a weight, while the other did 56 kettlebell swings.
After completing each exercise, teams carried a weighted plate and kettlebell to station three on the other side of the bridge.
Exercises at station three were the same as station one, except each participant had to burn off 34 calories on an assault bike, before completing 34 sumo dead-lift high-pulls.
Next, male and female participants carried 45 and 25 pound weights respectively to station four at the apex of the bridge, where they completed the other half of station two.
After station four, teams ran with weight to station five on the other side of the bridge and finished out the course with 20 synchronized burpees.
After the workout, Airmen reflected on what they had accomplished.
“I thought the hero workout was fantastic and for a good cause,” said Capt. Christian Gordon, 56th Fighter Wing, chief of military justice. “I thought it was challenging but achievable, and the speeches in the beginning motivated you to get the workout done.”
Participants journey of sweat and tears came to a final conclusion leaving the teams with a better understanding of Maj. Troy Gilbert’s life and the sacrifice he gave for his country.
“We lost Maj. Troy Gilbert in an air-fight during Operation Iraqi Freedom,” said Retired Chief Master Sgt. Scott Dearduff. “His remains were gone for ten years before he was returned, and what really struck me was that our nation never forgot and continued to keep the promise that we will never leave an Airman behind. Today, we remember Troy’s sacrifice. I know that if he was here, and I know he is up there looking at us, he would feel honored.”
While Thunderbolts are focused on training pilots and putting jets in the air on a daily basis, taking the time to remember a fallen Airmen is just one way we take care of our own.