Sacrifice inspires Soldiers to compete in Half Ironman
September 10, 2010
By Rick Wood
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Special Forces Soldiers are used to gruelling physical training. Being ready to deploy in support of special operations worldwide means staying fit.
However, even some special operators might balk at the thought of doing a triathlon during their off time.
Special Forces Maj. Scott Morley and a team of current and ex-Soldiers will compete in the Patriots Half Ironman competition in Williamsburg, Va., Saturday.
"We're doing it in honor of four men who lost their lives in 2007," Morley said. "All four of the men have children."
Their loss inspired the organization of this team, he said.
Between March and October 2007, C Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) lost four of its Green Berets.
Sergeant Maj. Brad Conner, Sgt. 1st Class Nate Winder, Sgt. 1st Class Mike Tully, and Sgt. 1st Class Adrian Elizalde all gave their lives while serving their country during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"It made a lot of sense to us," Morley said. "How better to honor members of Special Forces who committed to demanding training and physical fitness'"
Money raised will help provide scholarships and assistance to the children of the fallen special operators through the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, he said.
According to Morley, the foundation provides full scholarship grants and educational and family counseling to the surviving children of Special Operations personnel who die in operational or training missions, as well as immediate financial assistance to severely wounded special operations personnel and their families.
For Morley and other team members who knew, worked and fought alongside the fallen Soldiers, helping the families provide an education to their comrades' children is a way to continue to honor them.
"Two of the families will be in attendance at the race," Morley said. "Their support means so much to us."
A Half Ironman, consists of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and 13.1-mile run.
"It's going to be seven hours of continuous workout," Morley said.
Members of the team trained up to four hours a day since April in preparation for the race, he said.
"We've been training at our respective locations individually," Morley said. "All of the team members are geographically spread out."
The team has motivated each other and documented its training through a group page on Facebook, he said. "There's nothing like peer pressure to get you out of the door in the morning,"
The team set a goal of raising $20,000.
"It's been awesome," Morley said. "There's been an outstanding outpouring from supporters."
To date, the team has raised more than $27,000.
"It speaks to how much people believe in the cause," Morley said.
However, the fundraising doesn't stop there, he said.
"That number - $20,000 - that was our minimum goal," Morley said.
The group hopes to raise even more, he said.
Rick Wood is a reporter with Joint Base Lewis-McChord's weekly newspaper, the Northwest