FORT IRWIN, Calif. -- The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment hosted more than 20 Rock Star energy drink extreme athletes as they converged on Fort Irwin, Oct. 19, 2016, to experience a full day in the life of a Blackhorse Trooper.
The extreme athletes' day started as most Soldiers' day's begin, before the sun comes up, as they conducted physical fitness at The Box CrossFit gym. After being put through the paces by the CrossFit instructors, the athletes were asked to go on a short run, led by Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Stunkard, senior enlisted advisor, 11th ACR.
"The PT was similar to a lot of different training that I have done in the past to prepare myself for various races that I have competed in," said Jolene Van Vuget, Rock Star motocross rider. "If a person is out of shape and they try to do the PT, they will definitely have a rough time though."
After a quick shower and breakfast at the 11th ACR dining facility, the extreme athletes were taken to Fritz Field, where they would prepare for a simulated military operation. Blackhorse troopers spent the next several hours getting the Rock Star athletes familiarized with military equipment learning how to safely use weapons while moving in combat formations, and preparing their plan for seizing an objective within the National Training Center's training area.
"My favorite part of all this was preparing to go to the field. It gave us a chance to get to know the Soldiers that were teaching us everything from the weapons that we would be handling, to breaching doorways," said Joey Di Giovanni, Rock Star off-road racer. "It was just a lot of fun getting to joke around with the guys and seeing what they go through on a daily basis."
The day culminated with the Rock Star athletes carrying out a mission on a city within the NTC. The athletes were tasked to clear a small city of all enemy combatants.
"Today we got to do some training that was special, that many people don't get the opportunity to do. The experience was just crazy. When the guns start going off and the bombs start exploding, it's just insane," said Van Vuget, a resident of Maryland. "The mental and physical strength it takes to be able to focus on completing the assigned task, while so much is going on around you, is just crazy."
During the mission, the Rock Star athletes were partnered with the Blackhorse Troopers that trained them earlier in the day. The squad-sized teams that they formed, served to give the athletes a more complete military experience, demonstrating the camaraderie that is developed between the troopers.
"This is an experience like no other. I have some close friends that are military, so to be given a chance to get a little tastes of what they experienced, both in country and deployed, was really cool," said Di Giovanni, a Southern California native.
For more on the 11th ACR, visit https://www.facebook.com/11th-Armored-Cavalry-Regiment-Blackhorse-158715460811763/.