• Sgt. 1st Class Amador Cruz from Headquaters and Headquarters Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, performs a kettlebell swing during the battalion's memorial Cross-fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistam, to honor Soldiers from the battalion killed or wounded in the shooting incident at Fort Hood Nov. 5, 2009.

    Lumberjack 20 Cross-fit competition

    Sgt. 1st Class Amador Cruz from Headquaters and Headquarters Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, performs a kettlebell swing during the battalion's memorial Cross-fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistam, to honor Soldiers from the battalion...

  • Spc. Benjamin Hardesty from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, competes in the kettlebell swing portion during a memorial Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5.

    Lumberjack 20 Cross-fit competition

    Spc. Benjamin Hardesty from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, competes in the kettlebell swing portion during a memorial Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5.

  • Capt. James Pence, commander of the 510th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, performs the box jump event of the Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5. Participants were required to perform 20 repetitions of jumping up onto the box after having completed several other events.

    Lumberjack 20 Cross-fit competition

    Capt. James Pence, commander of the 510th Engineer Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, performs the box jump event of the Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5. Participants were required to perform 20 repetitions of jumping up...

  • Soldiers from the 20th Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade prepare to compete in a memorial Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5, to honor four Soldiers from the battalion killed in the Fort Hood shooting in November of 2009.

    Lumberjack 20 Cross-fit competition

    Soldiers from the 20th Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade prepare to compete in a memorial Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5, to honor four Soldiers from the battalion killed in the Fort Hood shooting in November of 2009.

  • Spc. Rob Anderson, a native of New Castle, Del., assigned to the Forward Support Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, demonstrates the proper way to perform the first event of a Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5. The competition was held to commemorate the lives lost in the Fort Hood shooting in November of 2009.

    Lumberjack 20 Cross-fit competition

    Spc. Rob Anderson, a native of New Castle, Del., assigned to the Forward Support Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, demonstrates the proper way to perform the first event of a Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5. The...

  • Pfc. Tabitha Muniz, from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., assigned to the Forward Support Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, begins the dead lift event of a memorial Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5. The 20th Eng. Bn. sustained more casualties than any other unit in the Fort Hood shooting - four Soldiers were killed in last year's incident, and 11 more were wounded.

    Lumberjack 20 Cross-fit competition

    Pfc. Tabitha Muniz, from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., assigned to the Forward Support Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, begins the dead lift event of a memorial Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5. The 20th Eng. Bn. sustained more...

  • Senior Airman David Bennett, from the 451st Expeditionary Communications Squadron, and a Denver native, lifts weights as part of a memorial Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5. The competition was held to remember four fallen warriors from the 20th Engineer Battalion killed in the Fort Hood shootings on Nov. 5, 2009.

    Lumberjack 20 Cross-fit competition

    Senior Airman David Bennett, from the 451st Expeditionary Communications Squadron, and a Denver native, lifts weights as part of a memorial Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5. The competition was held to remember four...

  • Capt. Mark Arena, a Boston native assigned to the 883rd Medical Company (Combat Stress Control), performs an overhead lift press during a Cross-Fit competition held by the 20th Engineer Battalion at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5. The competition was held to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Fort Hood shooting that took the lives of four Soldiers from the 20th Eng. Bn. Nov. 5, 2009, shortly before their deployment to Afghanistan.

    Lumberjack 20 Cross-fit competition

    Capt. Mark Arena, a Boston native assigned to the 883rd Medical Company (Combat Stress Control), performs an overhead lift press during a Cross-Fit competition held by the 20th Engineer Battalion at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5. The...

  • Cpl. Jonathan Rivera, from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, and a native of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, performs chin-ups under the watch of Sgt. Fernando Perez, also of HHC, 20th Eng. Bn., and a Chicago native, during a Cross-Fit competition at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 5. Perez's T-shirt bears the names of the three Soldiers from the 510th Engineer Company killed in the Fort Hood shooting Nov. 5, 2009.

    Lumberjack 20 Cross-fit competition

    Cpl. Jonathan Rivera, from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, and a native of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, performs chin-ups under the watch of Sgt. Fernando Perez, also of HHC, 20th Eng. Bn., and a Chicago native, during a...

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- By 9:30 a.m. Nov. 5, more than 50 servicemembers gathered at the Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, boardwalk to participate in the Lumberjack 20 Cross-fit competition to honor the Soldiers who lost their lives in the Fort Hood shootings, Nov. 5, 2009.

"The cross-fit workout is a way to collectively pull everyone together for a common goal. It will allow Soldiers to get out their aggressiveness and sharpen their skills," said 1st Lt. Brian Mackey, 20th Engineer Battalion tactical officer. "We do this in memory of the four Soldiers we lost, to carry on their names in honor."

The Fort Hood-based "Lumberjack" battalion was two months from deploying and had several Soldiers going through the final phases of pre-deployment screenings at the shooting site.

Four Lumberjack Soldiers were killed in the shooting and 11 were wounded.

The Lumberjacks held a ceremony before the competition started to unveil a memorial to honor the fallen Soldiers and their families.

"There isn't a day that goes by that we don't think about them," said Mackey, who is from Pittsfield, Mass.

The 20th Engineer Battalion's main mission in Afghanistan is route clearance. They search for, and destroy, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on Kandahar Province's many routes. It is a dangerous job, as IEDs are the number-one weapon used by the Taliban to attack Coalition Forces.

Of the wounded Soldiers, a few were able to join the unit in Afghanistan.

"The guys were all courageous," Mackey said. "We had a number of guys whose doctors' told them they would not be able to deploy, but they pulled through on time and it was really inspiring."

The Lumberjack 20 Cross-fit competition consisted of 20 dead lifts, 20 kettle-bell swings, 20 pull-ups, 20 box jumps, 20 squat and leans, and a 400-meter run after each event.

"It looks fun, but it's not," said 1st Sgt. Shannon Carver, 510th Engineer Company and native of Tyler, Texas.

He said the rugged and challenging competition was a perfect fit to honor the "hardcore" Soldiers who were killed.

"There is no better reason than remembering the Soldiers who lost their lives that day," Carver said.

Carver added losing Soldiers while still at home station was a tough way to start the deployment.

"Nothing is done in vain. There's a reason we're here. There's a mission we're accomplishing," Carver said.

Cpl. Jonathan Rivera, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 20th Engineer Battalion, from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, was one of the first to tackle Lumberjack 20.

"I'm not a fan of cross-fitness, but the main reason I am here is to support my battle buddies [who] were lost November 5 (2009)," he said.

He was at the site just before the shooting started. He said he left to get lunch. As he was coming back into the building he heard the shooting.

"It was a pretty rough day. A lot of people were hurt. A lot of people lost their lives," said Rivera.

Rivera said it is a tragic what happened, but he hopes everyone will move forward in their honor and in their memory.

The winner of the Lumberjack Cross-fit Competition was Capt. Ross Browning, HHC, 20th Engineer Battalion.

Page last updated Sat November 6th, 2010 at 10:07