Health & Safety

April 24, 2014

ERQS PJs honor fallen Airman with a fitness challenge memorial one year later

Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross
(U.S. Air Force photos by Staff Sgt. Christopher Gross)
Service members flip a tire during the Memorial Mash in honor of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Nick McCaskill on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, April 6. Members of the 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron organized the mash in remembrance of the one year anniversary of McCaskill’s death in Afghanistan. More than 70 people, split into 18 teams, competed in the event, which consisted of a total of 1,010 repetitions between 11 exercises. The repetitions symbolized McCaskill’s operating initials, a unique “XX.”

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti — Members of the 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron (ERQS) organized a “Memorial Mash,” in honor of U.S. Air Force pararescueman Chief Master Sgt. Nick McCaskill on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, April 6, 2014.

The mash, a fitness challenge, marked the one year anniversary of McCaskill’s death in Afghanistan. More than 70 people, split into 18 teams, competed in the event, which consisted of a total of 1,010 repetitions between 11 exercises. The repetitions symbolized McCaskill’s operating initials, a unique “XX.”

“He was looked up to by a lot of other PJs. He was a mild mannered, humble professional, and a great father to two girls,” said Senior Master Sgt. Howard Smith, 82nd ERQS, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialist and senior enlisted leader.

Smith and McCaskill were stationed with each other at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. as part of the 306th Rescue Squadron. In the nearly eight years Smith worked with McCaskill he said he never “sought out recognition,” but wanted to bring out the best in everybody around him.

That’s why Smith and other members of his team thought the fitness challenge would be the most appropriate way to honor their fellow Airman. Bring people together and have them push each other beyond what they thought they were capable.

Eric Beougher performs a dead lift during the Memorial Mash. Beoughe, a U.S. Air Force airman first class, is a member of the 449th Air Expeditionary Group security forces detachment 1.

“Nick would always say ‘Lay it on,’” Smith said. “That just meant for him to take it, run with it, and get it done.” Which is something each of the competitors would have to do. Accept the challenge, push through and get it done.

“PJs are instilled with the value of teamwork very early on,” said Staff Sgt. Isaac Blanton, 82nd ERQS pararescueman. “Chief knew the value of teamwork and exemplified it throughout his career. For that reason, we wanted to honor his memory with a team event.”

A few of the final numbers, accumulated from all the mash participants, included a total of 7,300 box jumps, 1,800 dead lifts for a total weight of 333,000 pounds, 73 buddy carries covering 4.5 miles and 73 memorial pushups. After each team finished their 1,010 repetitions, each participant did one more extra pushup in honor of McCaskill.

Maj. Jesse Peterson, 82nd ERQS commander, said McCaskill would have loved the atmosphere.

“Above all else, chief was a people person,” Peterson said. “The fact that so many people were out there having fun would have put a huge smile on his face.”

Peterson and Smith both recalled just how much McCaskill liked being around friends and family, whether it was a barbecue at his house or a good physical training session with his Airmen.

“Everybody always felt comfortable around him,” Peterson said. “This memorial mash, where everyone was working as a team and enjoying each other’s company, was the perfect way to honor a fallen warrior and friend.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Adam Grant)

AFSOUTH Liaison Officers: Embarking on a journey toward a promising future

Colonel Alex Voigt has only been serving as the Air Forces Southern Chilean Liaison Officer at Davis-Monthan for a couple of months, but with a history of Chilean LNOs reaching the rank of general and one even going on to serve...
 
 

D-M commander mixes it up with ‘The Morning Blend’

(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey) U.S. Air Force Col. James P. Meger, 355th Fighter Wing commander, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., talks with TV hosts, Tina Jennings and Maria Parmigiani, during a live recording of “The Morning Blend” at KGUN9 Studio, Tucson, Nov. 24. Meger went on the show to...
 
 

Let’s talk turkey: Prepare the perfect bird this holiday season

Whether having a big group over to share the Thanksgiving festivities or it’s just you and the Family, the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving table is the turkey. Guests will graze around the appetizer table careful not to fill their bellies in anticipation of the plump, juicy turkey and all the fixin’s. Most people aren’t world-renowned...
 

 
DoD

New allotment rule protects troops from lending scams

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has directed a policy change in new paycheck allotments to prevent unscrupulous commercial lenders from taking advantage of troops and their families, Pentagon officials said Nov. 21. According to a Defense Department news release, effective Jan. 1, 2015, the change in DOD’s financial management regulation will prohibit service...
 
 

Officials highlight health, wellness resources for Military Families

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 – As efforts continue to strengthen service members and their families, Pentagon officials held a Bloggers Roundtable to highlight the myriad resources available to tackle the unique military and transitional challenges those who serve may face. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy Rosemary Freitas Williams, Marine Corps...
 
 

Thanksgiving and our Native Americans

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — On the fourth Thursday of every November, we as Americans celebrate the national holiday Thanksgiving. This day focuses on honoring the early settlers, and their harvest feast, which we know to be the “First Thanksgiving.” However, long before settlers came to the United States’ East Coast, the area was inhabited by...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin