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It’s about teamwork

Team RWB tackles GORUCK Star Course 15K

David Edgeworth, Virginia Nickelson, Tonya Borden, Capt. Jon Eaton, Frank Hyke, Dan Cathers and Kevin Henry represented Team Red, White & Blue (RWB) during a GORUCK Star Course 15K event. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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Dan Cathers, Virginia Nickelson, Frank Hyke, Tonya Borden, David Edgeworth, Jon Eaton, Kevin Henry and I traveled to Seattle last Sunday morning to participate in one of GORUCK's popular Star Course 15K Events.

Along with their rucks, the others wore their red shirt affiliation with Team Red, White & Blue (RWB) with pride.

"RWB at JBLM (Joint Base Lewis-McChord) is about team and enriching veterans' lives," explained Henry, the JBLM/Tacoma Chapter's communications director, as we headed north on I-5.

"There is also a great partnership between GORUCK and RWB."

Founded a dozen years ago by Jason McCarthy, a former Special Forces soldier, GORUCK ( promotes excellence, toughness and adaptability as life values through rucking.

Rucking -- the carrying of selected weight on your back -- combines strength and cardio training while giving those who dislike running a viable option.

"It's simple, but not easy," McCarthy wrote in a recent email. "Rucking implies action, energy and purpose."

On the other foot, Team RWB ( began a decade ago and has grown to about 250 chapters nationwide with the mission of connecting veterans to their communities through physical and social activities.

"We are the bridge connecting communities where veterans and civilians work together," reads RWB's website.  

With this sense of shared values, our team assembled in the nine-acre Olympic Sculpture Park near Elliot Bay in Seattle. 

A GORUCK cadre member called roll and spelled out what was expected of each team. 

Starting at 8:30 a.m., we had to ruck at least 15K and complete the course in three-and-a-half hours. Along the way, we had to navigate to and stop at 10 waypoints (a structure or building), take a team image and then text it back to the representative before moving on to the next waypoint.

Of key importance, the course we chose to ruck was up to us.

If our plan worked; if we hit all the waypoints and completed the course under the allotted time, then -- and only then -- would we receive a coveted, red-edged patch featuring a blue field on which there appears a white arrowhead highlighted by a red star with a "15K" in the middle, and the white words "GORUCK Star Course" at the bottom.

If our team failed to reach every waypoint and/or did not complete the course in time, then there would be no patch.

Unfortunately, we did not earn a patch.

That reality hit us at about 11:50 the corner of Wall St. and Fourth Ave.

Even though we had maintained an average of 14.5 minutes per mile pace, two navigational errors had added almost two miles to our planned 9.7-mile course leaving us no way to backtrack to a missed waypoint and then return to the start point in time.

Before leaving that street corner, we reported to the GORUCK representative that we meet the standards.

"You won't make that mistake again ... and next time you'll kill it ... learn from it and don't quit," the cadre simply stated.

Good words to use.

"We love that GORUCK does not give out participation patches," Henry told the team, "and each of you put in the work to keep up a pace that should have led to a win, but this is a team event and other factors had a say ... we won't quit and we'll be back in May to kill it."

Team RWB at JBLM invites members and interested persons to join it for the next GORUCK Star Course Series event May 24 in Seattle.

For more information about JBLM's Team RWB, contact Henry at

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