We have been super busy with the final details of this trip - here is an update on where we stand.
All donations of supplies and equipment are packaged up and ready to go! We're sending them over to Fort Bragg to have them prepared for transport. Tucker and crew has built some special containers to leave with the troops - they're called "TIBs" (The Iron Box). They're 6' x 2' x 2', and built to withstand all kinds of weather conditions, keeping the equipment inside dry and sand-free. They hold everything from bumpers to rings to chalk and tape, but that's not the best part. Flip the lid and the box becomes a giant box jump for up to 6 people... remove the lid and it becomes a narrow but stable platform for jumping rope, pressing, squatting, etc. We've stenciled the lids of the TIBs with "Operation Phoenix", as a reminder of everything the organization has done to support these efforts.
Inside the TIBs, we've got all the equipment from Again Faster (rings, bands and speed ropes), all 500 Paleokits from Steve's Club, and the chalk, grips and tape from Rage Fitness. We've also been lucky enough to score some material from Jeff Martone's Tactical Athlete! Jeff personally dropped off some H2H and Tactical Athlete t-shirts and DVDs for the troops. Thanks to Jeff (CrossFit's kettlebell SME) for the support.
Finally, we've got TEN sets of the new EXF Rings from Tyler Hass at RingTraining.com. I've been working with a set of these rings for about a month now, and love the grip design and easy set-up. (My false grip pull-ups are so much easier on the rubberized grip. Muscle-up, here I come.) I brought a pair with me to one of the last gymnastics certs I coached, so the participants could test them out. Tucker said, and I quote... "I like the shit out of these." So we were psyched to score a few sets from Tyler and RingTraining. Thanks so much for the donation!
Last but not least, Operation Phoenix also donated money for us to build 15 sets of parallettes to take with us. The men and women at CrossFit Fort Bragg worked their tails off to get these built in time for the trip - well done! Check out what the full booty looks like here:
I'm glad we managed to get everything organized in time, although it looks a though our flight out MAY be delayed for a day or two... which means we may be doing some affiliate tramping around the mid-Atlantic while we wait for the Air Force to show up. We'd like to visit CF Potomac and Oldtown on our way down, and maybe see our boy Struck in Richmond too. It's all up in the air right now, but we're hitting the road tomorrow as planned, just in case the plane shows up on time.
We discovered that once we arrive, we'll be coaching literally around the clock, to accommodate everyone working the day and night shifts. I've never coached gymnastics at 2 AM... I hope my pajama pants don't get all tangled in the rings. Holy crap. We don't expect to sleep much while on base, but that's A-OK. We're there to run as many men and women through these certs as possible, and if that means long hours, we're all up for it. It's an honor and a privilege we don't take lightly, and we'll do whatever we can to serve while we're on base. I'm especially excited to talk nutrition while I'm there - I know how hard it can be to eat well while deployed, and I'd like to take a crack at putting together some Good Food meal plans for the soldiers while I'm sitting next to them in the dining hall.
That's all I have time for today - more updates as they become available. Thanks again for all of your support. The comments and emails I've been getting mean a lot to me, and to the entire crew heading overseas.