VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Aug. 6, 2011 was the single most deadly day in the history of the Navy SEAL community.
On that day, a Chinook helicopter carrying members of SEAL Team 6 and others was shot down in Afghanistan. Thirty Americans, eight Afghans, and one American military working dog were killed when their helicopter went down in flames.
Just three months before the tragedy, the special operations community was brimming with pride after President Barack Obama announced members of SEAL Team 6 had captured and killed al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.
What happened to the flight with the call sign Extortion 17 has been debated for years, but what is clear is the Hampton Roads community’s resolve to never forget the 30 Americans and the military K9 who lost their lives in the deadly crash, which took place during the longest war in the history of the United States.
For the past 10 years, the Crossfit community has honored the dead and supported their loved ones with a fitness event. It’s grueling but gratifying. The 31Heroes Workout of the Day tradition continues on Aug. 7 when the grounds of New Realm Brewing in Virginia Beach will be converted into a CrossFit workout facility for an estimated 400 fitness enthusiasts.
Here’s the challenge: complete six rope climbs, eight barbell thrusters, 11 box jumps, and a 400-meter sandbag run with as many rounds as possible in 31 minutes. Got that? That’s one minute in honor of each hero.
Crossfit757 co-owner Autumn Weiss can modify any activity to suit participants of all ages and body types.
“It’s a long workout but there are many different ways you can modify the workout to meet anybody’s capabilities,” said Weiss who has modified her own personal program due to pregnancy.
The Workout of the Day event will also be duplicated on the first Saturday of August at gyms and other facilities across the country.
31Heroes is a nonprofit organization based in Virginia Beach and it promises to turn over 95% of the proceeds to the families of the fallen.
For families of the fallen, 31Heros also offers wellness, travel, and emergency grants. Recently, the organization helped a family replace an air conditioning system for their home.
Jason Barnes is a CrossFit enthusiast and president of the board.
“All that we ask is that when people come to the event, hopefully they will be able to work out, and hopefully they will donate to support the families in honor of them because we don’t want the fallen to be forgotten,” he said.
You can participate in the workout for $31 but if you prefer to watch, the 31Heroes nonprofit welcomes a donation. The rain or shine event will also include vendors, a children’s workout day, and a petting farm. A celebration kicks off at 3 p.m. with a raffle and entertainment by the band Buck Shot.
For more information visit 31heroes.org.