Concept2’s Military Challenge was created specifically for active duty and retired members of all armed services branches worldwide. Knowing that this community of people face unique challenges and stresses every day, it’s been our hope that the Military Challenge provides a bit of respite and healthy competition to keep these individuals strong.
The challenge goal is simple: Row, ski or ride as many meters as you can during the month of February for your military affiliation. This year 2529 people participated representing 170 teams from 26 countries.
This year, we were so impressed with the efforts of the crew of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN75) Carrier Strike Group that we decided to find out more. This group accumulated 19,766,726 meters! CDR John G. Anderson, Command Chaplain of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN75), provided more details on this impressive crew.
What does the Military Challenge mean to your crew?
Events like the Military Challenge give us an opportunity to break up the monotony of our regular routine and help us take our minds off of missing home by doing something that is beneficial to both mind and body. Not only that, it gives us a chance to demonstrate that we don't just overcome challenges, we excel in the midst of them! Sailors need to be ready to answer their nation's call, and putting our minds and bodies through the rigors of a month-long challenge ensures that our personal readiness is maintained at the highest levels.
How has this challenge changed the way the sailors approach rowing for exercise?
Rowing for any length of time requires both physical and mental endurance, as well as attention to proper form, to ensure energy used to row is not energy wasted. Being able to incorporate all of these aspects into a single exercise hits all the wickets one would expect when seeking to make improvements in mental and physical well-being. This challenge also added to a sense of camaraderie among the crew, and that has turned what is largely an individual effort into a team effort that builds pride in working together toward a common goal. As sailors, working as part of a team is expected, and rowing together in the Military Challenge reinforces this expectation.
How has this challenge affected daily crew life (if at all)?
The USS Harry S. Truman has 10 RowErgs located throughout the ship for sailors to use, and log sheets near the machines so that the rowers can record their meters. I make weekly announcements to the crew on where we are stacking up in the challenge, as well as send out periodic email updates. Every time I wander around the ship, I always get comments about the competition and how it's inspired more people to contribute to the team, and to make some improvements in their own lives. I've led teams in past challenges, but I've never seen an excitement level like we're seeing out here!
Are there any highlights among challenge participants?
A few rowers completed 50,000 meters in a single session, and we just had one of our squadrons, the Red Rippers of VFA-11, row almost 400,000 meters on two ergs in a 24-hour Ripper Row-a-Thon. We've also had row-a-thons in the hangar bay and on the flight deck, and far too many to count who've taken up rowing for the first time. It's safe to say that this entire month has been a highlight of the deployment, and we're so thankful for the opportunity to participate. Now it's just a matter of getting the last group of meters entered onto the website with the hope that our team total is enough to carry the month and give all our Sailors a well-deserved victory!
Congratulations to all who participated!