Heroes of Molesworth: CrossFitters honor fallen Soldier

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ashley Hawkins
  • Joint Intelligence Operations Center, Europe Analytic Center Public Affairs
Heavy breathing, pools of sweat and the feeling of pain searing through almost every muscle.

Although you're exhausted, you clench your teeth and push through the pain - you keep going.

You keep going with the thought that the physical pain is nothing compared to what he might have felt the day he died.

Members of CrossFit Molesworth joined together August 14 for the Coe hero workout of the day, or Coe Hero WOD, at RAF Molesworth, United Kingdom.

The workout was a part of the team's monthly Hero WODs, which are held to honor U.S. military, civilians, police officers and firefighters who have sacrificed their lives.

According to U.S. Army Sgt. Morgan Whitman, U.S. Africa Command all source analyst from Andover, Minn., the Coe Hero WOD was held to honor U.S. Army Sgt. Keith Adam Coe, who was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. when he died April 27th, 2010 in Khalis, Iraq of wounds sustained from an explosive device set off by enemy forces.

Four years later, members of CrossFit Molesworth came together not only for camaraderie, but to remember Coe's sacrifice.

Hero WODs include repetitions and sets tailored to the numbers associated to the "hero," such as the date of their death, their birthday or even the number of their children.

According to Whitman, because Coe died in 2010, the routine included 10 ring push-ups and 10 thrusters in 10 rounds as fast as possible.

Before the workout began, Whitman turned on the radio and as the sound of rock music echoed throughout the hangar, the ambiance intensified.

He began the countdown.

"Alright... ready in three, two, one go!"

Approximately 30 participants in a barely-lit hangar began their first round and in a matter of minutes, barbells with weights slammed against the green-colored padded concrete.

Twenty-one minutes into the session, suddenly someone yelled, "Time! What's my time?!"

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Hollis, U.S. European Command intelligence analyst from Marshfield Mass., completed his workout, but he didn't stop there. He moved on to help and cheer on others.

Amid the music, conversations and grunts, loud cheers were heard throughout the hangar of others doing the same.

"Let's go Bri!"

"Come on Jason, Come on!"

"Keep moving, push... push!"

Thirty-seven minutes in, the team relentlessly carried on.

As the team progressed, beyond the exhilarating energy came the smell of rain, almost to signify the drops of sweat that drenched everyone's clothing.

At 50 minutes, only one barbell remained on the green. The other participants gathered around to cheer their comrade on.

Suddenly, with one last thruster, it was over.

As the rain began to fall more heavily, the shouts and yells dissipated.

With only the sounds of now hip-hop music and the rain, individuals had a moment to reflect on their reasons for participation.

Many joined in the Hero WOD to honor all of the fallen, but for U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Deborah Landeros, EUCOM intelligence analyst, who had never done CrossFit before, the Coe Hero WOD was a reminder.

Landeros was stationed with Coe during his deployment to Iraq and wanted to support the event in his honor.

"I came because I thought it was a great thing just because he used to be a fellow Soldier in my brigade," she said. "It's great that he's still remembered and everyone came together to do this workout in remembrance of him. My motivator to keep going was the fact that it was for Keith Coe."

Although Landeros attended the session to honor a fellow brother-in-arms, Hollis' reason was the challenge of pushing to the max with the help of friends.

"That's the whole point behind why the Hero WODs were initially created," he said. "They're really difficult, challenging workouts that take a lot of guts. To be able to duplicate that to a certain extent yourself is self-gratifying and to do it with other military people, civilians and anyone else who is willing is a great team-building thing."

As a photo of Coe's smiling face hung on the hangar's dry-erase board, the crowd unnoticeably gathered around the board to also smile and share laughs.

Even now, Coe continues to bring his fellow service members together and pushes them to give their all.

CrossFit Molesworth is an unfunded, volunteer CrossFit affiliate and runs on a donation basis.

For more information about CrossFit Molesworth, visit www.crossfitmolesworth.com, email at CrossFitMolesworth@gmail.com or visit the Facebook page CrossFit Molesworth.