The fun began with the “Mud and Guts Run” that Wednesday morning, a couple of days before Independence Day. Approximately 600 participants attended the five-kilometer obstacle course run and children participated in a two-kilometer version. The military obstacle course included mud pits, climbing walls, tires, smoke, camouflage netting and “drill sergeants” shouting encouragement to mud runners. Many participants organized into teams and wore distinctive clothing or T-shirts.
The event was organized by Headquarters and Headquarters Company, United States Army Garrison at Fort Irwin, and FMWR, but it also received a lot of support during the course construction. Captain Frank Lenart, commander of HHC, took the lead and enlisted the help of several units and organizations on post, said HHC 1st Sgt. Jeffrey Jackson. Soldiers from 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 916th Support Brigade and Operations Group helped with digging mud pits, removing rocks from the course, clearing paths of vegetation, and laying camouflage netting.
Jackson stated his appreciation on behalf of HHC for the assistance from all those involved in creating the event. He said that participants were very, very happy with the course.
Later that afternoon, the community gathered at Army Field to enjoy the events of the “Red, White and Boom”celebration, which included food and beverage vendors, a petting zoo, camel rides, bounce houses, live bands and a fireworks finale.
There were special appearances by Rick and Kelly Dale of the History Channel TV show “American Restoration” and Danny “Count” Koker of the show “Counting Cars.” Koker and his band, “Count’s 77,” performed classic rock covers and original songs during the concert.
Before the celebration, Rick and Kelly spoke on KNTC “The Heat” and stated it was an honor to visit Soldiers and families at Fort Irwin.
“I want to thank everybody here for what you do,” Rick said. “I just can’t say enough about what you give for us. You give your lives, you give everything you have for us to be free and I deeply appreciate it.”
Koker stated that his father, Dan Koker Sr., was an Army 10th Special Forces Veteran of the Korean conflict. He credits dad for instilling in him a passion for vehicles and music. He also expressed his gratitude to Soldiers and Veterans.
“I can’t say thank you enough,” Koker said. “As far as the public is concerned, please support your military – past, present, future. We just want to give back as much we can. We just want to support all we can.”