• What Matters to You?

    This weekend, folks from all walks of life will descend on Crossfit Lacey Training Day in Lacey, WA, to support the fight that a child endures every day.

    Shayla is the newest addition to our Family. She is a bright, shining star that gives us all hope for our future. Regardless of all of the turmoil in our current society, she is an example of what matters most in life – Love, Happiness and Hope. She may not understand the enormity of her battle – then again maybe she does. I can say this:

    • Shayla is unconditional love
    • Shayla smiles Because she can
    • Shayla wants to be happy and live the life we all have been blessed to have been given

    So whether or not you’ll be in attendance for another special TRVLSQD gathering, or supporting from afar, I just want to say, all of your Love and Support for this child – this weekend – is what matters most to me!

    Aloha, Fergus




    “It takes a village to raise a child.”

    We have all heard the saying, and there is truth in it. From family members, to friends, to those wanting to help that child to grow up to be happy. We all have a stake in the future of that child.

    So what happens when that child begins a fight against things they can’t understand, a fight they never asked for – one they are forced to undertake?
    “It takes a village to raise a child, and a SQUAD to support – because it’s what we do.”

    Those of you that are here reading this know that time stands still for no one, and the support engine of our Team was recently activated to help a life that has just begun. I have been blessed to be contacted by a friend within 1SFG that one of theirs – Shayla – was undergoing a battle against leukemia. Let me take a slight step back and give you all the complete story:

    Shayla was born in June of 2015 with a birth diagnosis of Down Syndrome, Transient abnormal myelopoiesis (TAM)( pre leukemia condition), and a Ventricular septal defect (VSD).  The tam resolved by itself at 3 months old as expected requiring no further treatment but due to it required once a month blood draws to check for a relapse into childhood leukemia, she had open heart surgery at 4 months old at Seattles Children’s to repair her VSD. Now at 2 years old, on her monthly blood check they found abnormal cells which lead to further testing which lead to the diagnosis of childhood AML (Acute myeloid leukemia), within 24 hours of diagnosis she had a medicine port implanted on her chest, and 48 hours later started her first round of Chemotherapy… 5 more months of treatment expected to follow if all goes “well”….

    “….if all goes well…”

    Words that grip me like a vise on my heart. I understand all too well the feelings of watching your child go through bullshit like this. My son fought a blood disorder that was trying to kill his immune system. Although it was years ago, as a parent –you never forget.

    We have helped some wonderful children that bring joy and happiness to this unforgiving and brutal world. From Arden to Avery, we have come together in so many special ways because in the end – our children are our future and they matter the most.

    “I am blessed because I was asked if WE could help. It will never be about me…ever.”

    On August 19th, 2017, we will come together to take the Strength given to us from the fight that Shayla now endures, and return that Strength right back to her. If you want to help us, come and embrace the wonderful dysfunctional love of our Team by joining us on that day. I PROMISE you, it is one that you won’t want to miss.

    If you’re TRVLSQD – you know EXACTLY what I mean by “….you won’t want to miss.”

    And to you, Shayla, I apologize for the wonderful Team that you’ll soon meet. They are a beautiful bunch of people that do really weird, wonderful things because we all believe that everyone deserves to be happy – most of all you. Save that strength – we are the ones that need it more than you!

    For more information on this special event, you can email me at fergus@trvlsqd.com I’ll respond as quickly as I can. 

    Aloha to you all,


  • Magic Lasso

    September 2, 2015

    It’s Wednesday, and a few days after the Avery Tough Weekend. I wanted to give myself a few days to really let the memories from the event sink in. So many folks were involved in making a success, and many have their own cherished moments that will forever make Avery Tough one of the best lifetime experiences ever.

    After the successful Arden Tough Event last year, we had moved almost half-way into this year with plenty of you being very ancy to help another family. I was right there with you. As time had progressed, our initial target was difficult to line up. The Gallardo Family simply wasn’t in the right space to allow for proper communication. To this day, they are still a concern for us, and I know Ed and a few others are still working to ensure they are OK. Too many of our military families fall through the cracks, too many are de-prioritized against other bureaucratic agendas. So we are still on watch…ready to go at moment’s notice.

    Cadre Rich became aware of the battle Avery was enduring through internal communications at 1SFG. It is a tight family (as we should all expect) and it really is amazing that we went from helping a young boy named Arden, to now getting the opportunity to help a young girl named Avery. It was simply meant to be.


    Photo Courtesy of Rachel Reyes

    A few months back I had the opportunity to meet with the Western US GORUCK Admin – Cadre Joel, and Cadre Rich, in Tacoma to discuss future event planning for the Pacific Northwest. Being one of the largest training mechanisms for GORUCK Events, TRVLSQD is a source of experience for GORUCK, and will continue to support GR events. During our discussion, Cadre Rich mentioned that he wanted to have a weekend of events to help support not only Avery, but the Green Beret Foundation as well. Cadre Joel agreed and GORUCK would be the vehicle to drive this idea. The ideas then evolved into having a night similar to GORUCK’s famed WSFB or WAR STORIES & FREE BEER. Eventually, Rich conceptualized that a 1SFG specific WSFB – located at the 1SFG Compound on JBLM – would be the best way to kick-off the event weekend.

    TALES from the TEAM was born.

    Communication lines were opened between Cadre Rich and the Reyes Family. To let a bunch of “dysfunctional wonderfuls” into your family is something no one expects to do – especially within the tight-knit Special Forces community. I’m not sure how those initial conversations went, although something tells me that Rich’s wife Julia may have helped smooth that transition!

    GORUCK stepped in and created the weekend format. TRVLSQD would run TALES from the TEAM with 1SFG. GORUCK would run the AVERY TOUGH Scavenger and GORUCK Firearms Day on Saturday and Sunday. We had all the ingredients for a kick-ass weekend. Well almost…

    Securing a venue would be the first challenge to overcome. We had discussed a few different locations, and we all agreed – this needed to be somewhere at 1SFG. With all of the hoops we had to jump through last year for Arden Tough (yeah it was a bit different – something about civilians firing weapons on a military installation I guess raises a few eye-brows), I knew this wouldn’t be a simple ask/task. Then again when you have Cadre Ed on the Team, your anxiety is substantially less (not eliminated – substantially reduced.) Ed assured me that he would have the venue secured. I had complete faith that it would get done (I think I had a beer when Ed called and said he had the signed paperwork in hand.)


    Photo Courtesy of MSG Ed Hall

    During the planning stages, Cadre Rich was pulled away to go spread freedom throughout the world, and as we anxiously awaited his safe return, Ed and I kept pushing on all fronts. He started the process of finding who our speakers were going to be that night.

    How do you convince a Green Beret – someone who’s family time is extremely valuable – to come hang out with some civilians and talk about what Special Forces is all about, and what it means to be part of a Team?

    Beer bribe?

    I’m sure that although Cadre Ed would lead all of us to believe it was a difficult task, something tells me that once the real reason was revealed, once they understood that it was to help one of their own, to help a child fighting a serious battle, I don’t think it was hard at all. It merely became a matter of timing and coordinating schedules.

    In the midst of this all, I received a call from someone who I’ve had the pleasure of watching suffer through some past GORUCK events. His name was Chris Cordova. The last time he made me smile was watching him eat 2 cans of SPAM before enduring the gauntlet being thrown down by Cadre from all walks within the special operations community. Chris has his own way of communicating, something that you only have to experience to believe!

    Chris wanted to introduce me to a special group of folks that selflessly raises money for various causes. He had already experienced the Arden Tough Event, and knew that this group could help. He told me they were called the THE HATE PROJECT.


    The what?

    To say this one caught me by surprise was an understatement. It took a bit of a conversation for Chris to explain to me what they were about. Even though he did his best, I still had the uneasy feeling of “huh”? They say first perceptions are everything, and some say to not judge a book by its cover. I was fighting both on this one. Chris arranged for me to have a phone conversation with one of the group admin. His name is Paul.

    Paul and I spoke for about an hour and a half over what my Team – TRVLSQD – continues to do, helping families within 1SFG. He explained to me what the HP was about, how it started, and how it too continues to help people everywhere. We both connected on that passionate level – the one where you know someone is definitely going in the same direction you were. Paul said he would arrange to host a raffle in the HP group in August. He would coordinate running it, with Chris and I the support elements. In reality, I was invited to take a front-row seat to watch the power of the HATE PROJECT.

    The what?

    It’s fun having to explain what these wonderful people are really all about. First, my Team can’t spell (what does travel-squid mean?) and now I’m involved with a HATE Group. That’s great…

    August rolls around and Cadre Rich is back from his Freedom Field Trip, Cadre Ed has secured the venue and almost the speakers, and it was in fact time to run the Avery Raffle in the HP. Paul told us it would run 48 hours, and he would ensure all of the funds would be directly sent to us on behalf of the HP. Funds destined to help Avery. Chris has already witnessed what they are capable of; I was along for the ride. I have to give them both credit – they were more than patient with me when I asked what a “dog-pile” was, or who was keeping track of “this going to them” and all of the craziness of what happened. Paul had his goal for the raffle. “If we get that – damn that would be amazing” is what I said to myself.

    Underpromise – Overdeliver.

    I guess the HP plays by its own rules, because I simply couldn’t believe what I was watching. People who had no idea who I was, or who Avery was, had donated money because HELPING OTHERS is the only reason to exist. It is the founding idea of TRVLSQD. And these folks “throw smoke” and sprinkle “HATE-Dust” on lives across the country.


    The HATE Project collected $6,050 in a little over 48 hours. It’s an experience I’ll never forget, and a group of people I’m honored to have been introduced to (never met, at least not yet) and now call a part of my Team, my Family. It is simply the beginning of my LOVE/HATE for the HP.

    The week was upon us, and things were now going at hyper speed. Patches, shirts, patches, itineraries, all of it was happening! Friday the 28th couldn’t come any faster!


    Then it did.

    Me: “Alright Rachel, no one knows except a few folks that your family will be there that night. Just stay in touch with me throughout the process. And if I post something on FB about Skyping you so folks can see/hear Avery, just play right along.”

    Rachel: “This is the hardest secret to keep ~ and the best one ever! I’ll text you when we land. We’ll go get some dinner, relax for a few, let Avery settle, and then come on over to the compound.”

    Me: “Fantastic.”

    The Pre-Event meeting was held at the Matador in downtown Tacoma with all of the heads-of-state present – Chris, Rocco, Brian Lohr from All-Day Ruckoff, Seth, Leah, and Frank. Planning went so well that at one point the waitress toasted a beer mug with Chris (…or was she trying to pass it to him and he reached out to toast her?). It was a sign of things to come…

    Off to COSTCO.


    Nothing like waiting forever at the Visitor Center for a pass…..mmmmm…mmmm…good!

    I arrived at the secure location about 15 minutes or so before we were supposed to start. The smiles were huge, the hugs were real, and the bar was EPIC!!!! I was finally starting to relax because we were now in full swing. Everything was set. It was time to begin.

    This event is about one thing – FAMILY. We had all come together to help a child. We also came together because OF FAMILY. One of our own, Joel Seymour, had just lost his mother a few days prior to cancer (that f*cking disease). As he traveled across the country to honor the life of his mom, we too stood at the ready to support him. I don’t like to give that toast, and will do so if necessary.

    “Thank you for bringing us Joel, Pat Seymour. Rest in Peace”

    FullSizeRender (2)


    Mike was our 1st speaker, Arden’s father. He was dressed to the nines, and it was an honor to see him. Arden was having a challenging day, and was in the hospital as we spoke. After Mike spoke, he exited to go be with Arden. We all sent strength Arden’s way…..still do!


    Photo Courtesy of David Thomas Productions

    The night continued with our speakers. Well almost…..


    I went outside as darkness began to fall, and there they were…there she was.

    Rachel: “Avery, do you know who that is?”

    Avery: “Hi Fergalicious!”


    Photo Courtesy of David Thomas Productions

    She came over and gave me a hug. And I melted. This child who teased me from afar with her “Hi Fergalicious” videos was now hugging me. In that moment all of the hard work truly meant the world to me. And it was hard to hold back the excitement.


    Photo Courtesy of David Thomas Productions

    The Reyes Family arrived and we gathered everyone on one side of the room, and with a warm welcome, she walked in. No one, except the few, knew they would be there, and we were all witness to a 4-year old Rockstar, our very own Wonder Woman! The gifts bestowed upon her were merely our way of thanking her for fighting, for never giving up.


    Photo Courtesy of David Thomas Productions

    The evening continued after Avery was done signing autographs and taking pictures, and the stories that were told by CW3 Mike Scheper, CW3 Mikey Beavens, and 1SG Michael Hunter left us all in awe. The true humanity that exists in each one of them – the desire to change the world one mission at a time – alongside their Brothers, made me love my own Team that much more. It was a privilege to listen to them, an honor to have them open their hearts to a bunch of strangers. There were tales told that may never be spoken of again. Maybe….


    Photo Courtesy of David Thomas Productions

    “I may not be the big buff guy that some of you may have expected of a Green Beret, but I have endurance…..LOTS OF IT!”

    Isaac walked to the front of the room, and invited us into his world. The world of his upbringing, how he became inspired to be one of the best, how he was told he couldn’t and did anyways, how he became part of the 1SFG Brotherhood, and most of all – the circumstances surrounding his daughter Avery. Isaac spoke of a love for a child, the passion that runs through all parents, and a fire that burns within him to do whatever is necessary to help his daughter Avery.


    Photo Courtesy of David Thomas Productions

    And while Avery slept on Rachel’s lap, Isaac reached a point where it was now time to honor her.


    Photo Courtesy of Rachel Reyes

    We presented the Reyes Family our support funds, and the technical aspect to our mission for Avery was complete, and now the fun would begin:

    • Closing of the Green Beret Foundation Silent Auction
    • Selling De Espresso Liber – the Avery Tough Blend
    • Shoving cash in Isaacs hands
    • I’m supposed to hand over this steamy romance novel to who?
    • Rubbing my eyes from seeing Ed in that shirt
    • Watching Son run away with my Special Forces Crest
    • Forgetting about all of the beer left behind the bar counter
    • Remembering that GORUCK Scavenger starts in 6 or so hours


    Photo Courtesy of David Thomas Productions

    Ed: “EVERYONE GET OUT!!!!!”

    And so we all went home that night, hearts filled from witnessing it all. Some of us would continue on into GORUCK Scavenger the next morning, some into GORUCK Firearms Day on Sunday. Although points were kept throughout Scavenger, we were all winners that day. As part of Team BrAvery, I was able to talk for hours to Isaac & Rachel, to Pam & Avery’s best friend Lea, and of course Avery. To simply walk with them and learn about their lives was truly a blessing.

    Tacoma was hit that day with a wicked wind-storm, one that we had not seen in quite some time. By then end of the weekend, two people (an adult and one child) will have lost their lives to falling debris. In the midst of all of our joy, our hearts went out to those families too.

    I know this may have been a long read. Funny thing is I’ve missed so many details because so much of it became a blur. That’s what happens when you are overloaded with so many great experiences!

    Avery will begin some treatments for three weeks at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, TN. Something tells me that Tennessee isn’t too far away from the reaches of all of us.

    I’ll definitely see your smiley face next summer and thank you for wrapping all our hearts with your magic lasso:)


    Photo Courtesy of David Thomas Productions

    ~Fergalicious out..


    Aloha Team,

    We are about 1/2 way through the year, and all of you have not been short on vocalizing your determination to help another family. I understand. All of you have been patiently waiting to hear word about Team Gallardo. The family has decided – for now – to remain private / quiet as they are finding their way and moving forward in life. Ed will continue to keep in touch with the Gallardo’s, and when it is deemed necessary, we will jump right in!

    Until then…..

    It is my privilege and honor to introduce to you the next family that we have been blessed to have found. With the help of Cadre Rich and some careful reconnaissance around 1SFG, Rich was able to find a family and a child that simply makes me smile. A smile similar to the one Arden brought to all of us last year.




    Avery is a child I can’t wait to meet, and someday hopefully all of us will get that chance. For now, I’m going to insert her story here as it is always best to hear the story from the source:

    “Avery- Our vibrant beautiful loving 4 year old has had a very intense transition over the past few months. From an early age, we noticed she was significantly smaller than other children and was continually falling off the growth charts. At the age of two, we began taking her to an endocrinologist to monitor her growth patterns and it was decided she would start growth hormone in April 2015. During a standard MRI it was discovered that Avery had a brain tumor pressing against her pituitary gland, resulting in her lack of growth. Our plans for our daughter immediately changed as she was scheduled for immediate brain surgery to remove the tumor via craniotomy at UNC Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill.   After the removal of the craniopharyngioma tumor Avery’s body suffered many unexpected changes. During our 21 day stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Avery suffered liver problems, hepatomegaly, hypertriglyceridemia, infections, seizures, was put on a ventilator, and had a blood transfusion. She also now lives with adrenal insufficiency, diabetes insipidus, hypothyroidism, growth hormone deficiency, and hypopituitarism.  Avery will now have a lifetime of hormone replacement, frequent MRI’s to monitor tumor regrowth, and a variety of office visits.”


    I’m leaving out the personal military details for the privacy of the Reyes Family. In time we may all know more. Here are the important details:

    • Team Reyes is 1SFG
    • Team Reyes is officially on board
    • AVERY TOUGH will be the mission name
    • Targeting the end of August for the Event
    • Look to the Team Page for updates as they come down

    When I know exactly what the Event will be, it will be a fast and furious race to put it together. I have my own personal challenges I’m working through, so look for me to reach out for help!




  • Irreverent Relevance & Team Gallardo


    This year will be the year of change for this Team, for me, and most importantly – for the families we will support. It isn’t easy trying to stay the course, trying to stay on the path that we are all destined to follow. I believe we have all come to know each other based on all of our own personal experiences, challenges, decisions, and passions. I am forever grateful to all of you that have made this Team what it is.

    We will always be the “Irreverent Relevant”. To go from “TEAM FIRST  – BEER ALWAYS” to “We Can’t Help Everyone, So We’ll Help Everyone”, speaks volumes to the direction this Team continues to forge.

    I say we are the Irreverent Relevant because we have never been a group of folks that liked to play by anyone’s rules. Just think about all of the little things this team has accomplished over the last 3-4 years, all of the new challenges that exist now because a few of us were dumb enough to ask for it (HCL being the most beautiful example of this, not to downplay the awesome Arden Tough Range Day). And through it all – TRVLSQD has become the group of folks that others can turn to when the going has gotten tough, or rough, or heart-wrenching. We are more relevant today than we have ever been. And it is only going to get awesomely worse:)

    Over the last few months, Cadre Rich & Cadre Ed have been working behind the scenes to search for the next evolution for this Team. There are plenty of folks that need help – finding the families that somehow speak to our hearts isn’t nearly as easy as I’d thought it would be. Destiny brought to us Team Hall, which in turn brought Arden into the family, and by pure chance Brooklynn blessed us all.

    So where are we now?

    There are plenty of GORUCK Events on the Horizon, from KILL that 5Kto Navigator, to the event no one passes – Selection. Not to mention all of the other stuff all of you are pursuing. And through it all – it is my job to make sure we stay on target with our core focus – helping others. That brings us to Team Gallardo. The following is an exerpt from an email I’ve long waited for – the email signaling the next Evolution for this Team:

    “MSG (Ret) Micah Gallardo  retired in Oct 2014 following 20 years of selfless service, with over a decade of that time spent at 1st  Special Forces Group at  Joint Base Lewis Mc-Chord.  Over the span of his career he has served with distinction during the Global War on Terror (GWOT), during which he served as a leader in combat operations through three tours in Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan, two tours in Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines and seven deployments in support of Joint Chiefs of Staff and other Security Assistance Exercises throughout the Pacific Region.   He is a recipient of two Bronze Stars and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.  A short six months into Micah Gallardo’s retirement, his wife Helena took ill with Bacterial meningitis and over the span of three days she died from complications of that illness, leaving Micah to care for their 11 and 9 yo daughters, Emily and Madeline Gallardo.  To further complicate Micah’s predicament, the VA and retirement services are delayed in providing his retirement services and disability evaluation.  Both of which are in progress of being remedied. ” 

    Folks – I am honored to announce that our target is now up, and we are in the planning stages to put together the Support Package for Team Gallardo. The details aren’t ready to be released – then again all of you have already seen the lives we’ve already changed.

    Gallardo family


    So keep rucking, keep talking sh*t, and be ready when the signal flare goes off – Micah, Emily & Madeline are in for the surprise of their awesome lives!




  • Celebrating Being Active, American, and Awesome!

    Coming up at the end of June will be a new event in the Pacific Northwest – GORUCK’s Kill that 5K! It will be a celebration of all things that are great about the living in the USA!

    There will be other events surrounding this one, and the details will be forthcoming over the next few months. Until then…


  • 2015 – Can’t Help Everyone – So We’ll Just Help Everyone


    Aloha Team,

    It’s now February in 2015 and before you know it, we’ll be approaching all kinds of new and exciting events here in the PNW. As most of you have set your targets for what you’d like to accomplish this year, I have been working behind the scenes on the future of TRVLSQD – The future meaning new events, and new families to help. I’ll never get away from this focus because this is the bloodline that makes this Team unique from any other group out there. As all of you progress towards your own goals, please don’t forget that your accomplishments pale in comparison to the ones you help others to achieve.

    As I look back at what we’ve all accomplished, it makes me smile every time I see a post by Cadre Ed pushing everyone to be stronger, to be in better shape, to be a better person. I smile when I see a post by Cadre Rich reminding us to never forget those in harm’s way, knowing that he has been blessed by being with his family during the holidays when that status could change at any time. I smile when Team members are posting about upcoming workouts and about the passion for helping new folks starting down the road to firsts, Challenges, etc. The dynamic that all of you have built continues to strengthen with every life YOU make a difference in – so never stop!

    As the Team has grown, I have been reminded by those that have been around from the inception of TRVLSQD, that I simply can’t do everything, I need to get better at asking for help, and so I have.


    Late last year I had a conversation with Erwin Santiago about his desire and passion to help direct and lead. For those of you that know him, his dedication, drive and sense of humor (insert images of ranger panties dance here) are fundamental attributes needed to guide when you have a diverse group such as ours. After careful evaluation over the last few years, I decided to appoint Erwin as the Seattle Chapter Training Director. What does this mean? Erwin will continue to help manage the upcoming training Sessions (SS7’s and whatnot) moving forward – mostly for the North End. In the South End there are some OG’s (Original GRT’s) than will step forward to help lead Trainings down here. Overall, I want to make sure we are meeting the needs of those that desire help with Training, etc. If you’d like to help lead some training, please don’t hesitate to ask Erwin, myself, or any of the other highly qualified folks we have on the Team (John Maris, Team Doty, David Thomas, etc.)

    As this is a write-up that everyone in the Chapters across the country will read, I ask of each Chapter Director reach out to me and let me know what you’d like to see of TRVLSQD. What would help all of you in your respective areas to grow? We are a tight family here in the PNW, and I’d like to help all of you to become stronger as well.

    One of the most telling stories of where TRVLSQD continues to break grounds is through our desire to adopt our own local SF Group. We are blessed that 1st SFG is right here in our backyard, and through our desire to help them, and their desire to build a better connection with their local community, we have essentially become family! I had no idea that with the JBLM Light to help Team Hall, we would start a precedent that would keep us focused on 1st Group. From there we broke unbelievable barriers with the Arden Tough Range Day, and then closing out the year with our Brooklynn Tough effort. None of this could have been accomplished if it wasn’t for the hard work and dedication of all of you.

    As I have mentioned our distinguished families, it’s only fitting to give all of you some updates on those families:

    • Tanya (Ed’s wife) continues to show the medical world that she’ll beat whatever is thrown at her, and she’ll never EVER give up her fight. The bottom line is – Team Hall couldn’t be any stronger than it is right now! And their three boys? Probably eating them out of house and home, but what do you expect – have you seen Ed’s appetite?
    • Arden just recently turned 1! (So did Rene) Folks this is a big milestone for him. This past week, for the first time EVER Arden had a normal blood count! The medical staff didn’t believe it, and had to verify. Although he still has his good & bad days, he continues to show the heart of warrior and fights every single day! Rene and Mike continue to thank all of us for the difference we have made in their lives. Mike is also itching to come play with us at a GRC! Look for that to happen this year!

    Arden Christmas

    • Brooklynn continues to make significant progress in her battle. She was told by her neurosurgeon that there is only ONE other case study in the world like her, and so they have asked for permission from her family if they could document her case. What does this really mean? Brooklynn may someday help to save the lives of other children around the world by her battle! (Sound familiar anyone? Helping others? Hmmmm….) Most of you have already seen the video of Ed and I presenting Brooklynn with gifts and donations from all of us, and I’d be remiss for not mentioning the one very special gift arranged by someone on this Team. Over the holidays, Brooklynn received a personally signed photo from Coach John Calipari – the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Kentucky. I was stunned when I heard of this, as Brooklynn is a huge University of Kentucky Fan! This photo is framed and hangs on the wall to remind Brooklynn to never give up, and to know she inspires more people than she knows. So to the warm-hearted individual in this Team that made this happen – a Tac-Hat tip in your direction – Team First, Family Always!


    So much work to do, so many folks to help…..so off to work I go!

    TRVLSQD ~ Can’t Help Everyone….So We’ll Just Help Everyone


  • There’s Honor in the Fight


    There are certain sounds, certain smells that are forever linked to experiences in the past. Years had passed since I remember holding one of these . It felt natural & foreign all at once…

    “Have you shot one of these before?” A question that made me smile as I was really excited to hold this weapon – an M4 (M16 when I was last on a range). It felt empowering, it felt natural, and it still didn’t take away any feelings of nervousness I had.

    “It’s been about 10 years or so.”

    “Alright then, let’s get you familiar with it again!”

    Scott was the instructor on the firing lane I had walked up to. I was part of the last group of folks to shoot. We’d fire a specific number of rounds with the M4 (rifle), and then we’d fire the M9 (pistol). I was excited and nervous and just wanted to get that feeling of “breathing & squeezing” again, a frame of mind I  hadn’t been in for years.

    “Hey Ferg, let’s see what you can do, I’m watching you!” When you have a group of competitive GRT’s, you know there will be an ample amount of smack talking, and Rocco was sure to not disappoint. So I took my hat off, adjusted my safety glasses, and got myself ready for business. The smile of my face only told one side of the story – but what about the other side?

    How was it that I was standing once again on a military range?


    This past summer, Cadre Ed Hall reached out to me and said this, ” Fergus, I found the family we are going to help – It’s now my time to pay it forward!”

    I already knew what that meant. The previous year we had raised some money for his family, when he didn’t know who I was, or the folks that would eventually help him and his family. The impact of that gesture changed his life, and it was now time to change the life of another, another one in 1st SFG on Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA. I was excited to have that focus again, I knew the amount of work that it would take to accomplish the task – I just didn’t know how expansive this effort was going to be. To say I’d be surprised would be an understatement.

    “Alright Ed, let’s get to work.”

    The planning began this past summer, sometime around July. We wanted to create an event beyond the GORUCK Light that was run last year on his behalf. The circumstances that surrounded “how” Ed had come across the family we’d eventually help, was in many ways – meant to be. During a hospital visit with Tanya (for her care) Ed found out through the medical staff about a soldier whose son was fighting a very rare blood disorder. It just so happened, that soldier was part of 1st SFG. In that instant Ed knew that this was the family he was going to pay forward and help.

    Mike’s son – Arden has Multifocal Lymphangioendothelialmatosis with Thrombocytopenia. He is one of 48 people internationally to be diagnosed with MLT. There is no known treatment besides transfusing packed red blood cells. When Ed was given the status of Arden, he already had about 800 visits to the hospital. It’s enough to make any parent heartbroken, knowing the burden their child was enduring, and their own family too.

    So the Team got to work….we had plenty of hurdles to cross, and about 4 months to get it done.

    The ultimate goal was to create an event that would surpass our efforts from last year. To do so meant coming up with an event, or events, that would bring together folks from across the country. In essence we settled on this idea  -we’d reverse a GORUCK Event known as the HCL (3-Events in one, GORUCK HEAVY, CHALLENGE, LIGHT) and add a new event – the MEATHEAD (this is simply executing the three basic power-lifts – BENCH, SQUAT, DEADLIFT). That would give it a new twist. But then we needed to make it harder, so we reversed the order. It would now be an MLCH, Meathead followed by the rest.

    Have I lost you yet?

    GR_MLCH copy

    We created a bunch of different raffles to raise the funds needed to not only ensure we met our fundraising goal for the family (which we crushed) but we also wanted to make sure we could donate the remaining funds (post expenses) to the Green Beret Foundation. (as of 12/3/14, the donation to the GBF is in final reconciliation stages with my accounting partner in NY).

    So how did we wind up having 40 folks brought onto a military base in the Pacific Northwest to experience what a Special Forces soldier / unit may go through on a training day? That credit is going to MSG Ed Hall. With everything that was in play, Ed talked to his staff and his chain of command to tell them about what he was trying to accomplish, and what a bunch of civilians from across the country were doing to support one of their own. This is where the story takes a very awesome turn.

    Based on what Ed had presented, he was told that 1SFG would help however they could, that he would get the support to ensure the success of this personal mission. This is where the “community outreach” idea was created. Since there were civilians (and military, police, fire, etc) that were willing to WANT to help this family, why not complete the “bridge” that was already being built. 1SFG decided at that point to host a Community Outreach Day in which a specific amount of folks would be given the opportunity to experience certain aspects of the 1stSFG life. It just so happened that this day centered around folks being able to shoot a few weapons systems, and learn about 1SFG. All Ed had to do was get approval from a few different folks, specifically a 3-STAR General. (just because Ed didn’t have that signature & authorization until the week of the event was a minor detail!)

    “I wonder if I’d be able to get 40 folks to show up for this?”


    Once the word got out that 1st SFG would be hosting a Community Outreach Day, it didn’t take long for the folks to sign up. It was on a first-come , first serve basis, and within a week all of the slots were taken, with plenty of folks waiting in wings to pounce if a spot should come available.

    And so here we were, months later, after plenty of hurdles, learning about 1st Special Forces Group, talking to soldiers, talking to Ed’s chain of command. It was AMAZING and the friendships that were developed are now those that everyone will cherish.




    And so I raised the M4 to my cheek, took a deep breathe, and squeezed. In a matter of minutes the feeling of acquiring a proper sight picture came back to me. I was sending rounds downrange, and loving every second of it. All of the months of hard work was finally in motion, and to see everyone smiling, and talking to each other made all of it worthwhile. To listen to Mike and have him thank all of us for what we had done for his family, simply reaffirmed the fact that we had done what we were meant to – to help others.

    During the next three days, plenty of us would be on hand to suffer through the crucible of the GORUCK MLCH, some of us were blessed to lift, crawl, roll, carry, and whatever else was necessary to accomplish the tasks given. And Mike was there. He suffered right alongside all of us, and THAT is what matters the most. His son Arden fights the strong fight, and it shows where he gets it from. At the end of the long event weekend, there will be the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY. To those three, I say well done! To learn about how far you can push your body, go find them. Sign up for a GORUCK MLCH (if it ever happens again).


    To everyone who supported this cause, I want to personally thank you. You have helped the son of a soldier, you have helped a family, and most importantly – you have made a difference in this life.

    To Mike, Renee, and Arden – Thank you for allowing a bunch of weirdo’s into your lives. I promise we won’t get any better with time, only worse!

    To all of our sponsors – GORUCK, Tim Kennedy, Spartan Blades, SHplates, Trauma1, All Day Ruckoff, I’ll make sure I keep you in mind for next year as I know we’ll only want to top the standard that was set.

    To all of the soldiers of families of 1st SFG – Thank you for your sacrifices to the greatest country on this earth! God Bless All of You!