Det 4 Builds CrossFit Gym at Bagram Airfield

By LT Brian Holmes, NMCB 11 Det 4 Public Affairs

bagram_det4BAGRAM, Afghanistan – When deployed to a combat zone, finding constructive outlets to de-stress are an important and often overlooked part of a troop’s daily life. As the weeks and months begin to mount, finding a place of refuge from a seemingly endless stream of tasking can make all the difference in keeping a positive outlook. Additionally, unpredictable work schedules and a perpetually high operational tempo can make it difficult, if not impossible, to find time during the day to fit in quality physical training. For Soldiers of the 82nd Aviation Regiment stationed at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, it just got a little easier to grab a workout and blow off some steam.

Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 – Detachment 4 recently completed construction of a functional fitness facility that will serve the unit’s over 800 personnel, which includes helicopter pilots, aircrews and maintenance technicians based out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Nicknamed “CrossFit Regret”, the facility is located only a stone’s throw from the airfield and will allow even the busiest pilot or crewman to fit in a quick workout on the way to or from the flightline.

Make no mistake, this is a no frills fitness facility; you won’t find treadmills or complicated exercise machines inside CrossFit Regret. Like most CrossFit gyms, the facility is filled with pull-up bars, barbells and weights, gymnastics rings, medicine balls, plyometric boxes and empty floor space to accommodate the high intensity workouts that vary greatly from day to day. At the foundation of the program is the concept of “functional fitness”, training that directly carries over to performance in real-life activities. For a helicopter aircrew, this means a higher state of physical readiness for the sometimes unpredictable demands brought on by “rigorous schedules, to low visibility environments brought on by nighttime or weather, to hazardous combat areas.” According to CPT Don Sulpezio, helicopter pilot and commander of A Company, 3rd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment.

At an opening and dedication ceremony held at the new gym, the Seabees dedication and professionalism was applauded by CPT Sulpezio, who was the man behind the project and the leader of the grass-roots movement to bring functional fitness to the unit.

Impressed with can-do attitude of the Seabees working on the project, he remarked, “we thought we were going to get a lean-to shelter, and the Seabees came in and built us a house.”

He was especially impressed with the crewmembers commitment and pride in the quality of their work, and presented each member of the team with a commemorative plaque to show the unit’s appreciation for their efforts. Project team leader Builder First Class (SCW) Anthony Thibodeaux was presented with a command coin by the Battalion’s Command Sergeant Major, and his effective leadership and management of the project were commended by CPT Sulpezio.

To further thank the team for making the new gym a reality, the Soldiers took some of the Seabees along on a training flight on one of the command’s UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. For a few days work improving the quality of life for a fellow unit, the chance to get up and see some of the countryside and get a glimpse of the exciting world of a combat helicopter aircrew was all the payment the team could ask for.