Story and Photo by
Sgt. Chris Huddleston
45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — It isn’t every day young Soldiers receive the chance to challenge their brigade commander, but that’s just what two Soldiers from the 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command’s Staff Judge Advocate, or SJA, office did.
Spc. Jay Helmke and Pfc. Milton Watford wanted to join the 1,000-Pound Club at the Kandahar Airfield Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Gym and challenged Col. Jeffrey Drushal, commander, 45th Sust. Bde., 8th TSC, to do the same.
The challenge consisted of three lifts: the dead lift, bench press and squat. Participants needed to accumulate more than 1,000 pounds using one repetition of each lift.
Capt. Christopher Cross, brigade judge advocate, 45th Sust. Bde., saw the opportunity for “two of the youngest Soldiers in the brigade to be the first to join the 1,000-Pound Club.”
“It was a personal achievement that Helmke and I came up with,” said Watford, paralegal specialist, 45th Sust. Bde. “Capt. Cross overheard us talking about it, and he challenged the commander for us.”
“It felt good to accomplish our goal,” Helmke said, also a paralegal specialist with the 45th Sust. Bde. “Now I have a base number. My total was 1,155 pounds, and I can try to improve throughout the year. I hope to get my total above 1,300 pounds before we leave (Kandahar).”
Their dedication to improvement is an important part of the Army’s Warrior Ethos.
“They are a great example (to other Soldiers) because they have competitive spirit, they’re confident in their abilities, and are willing to take risks for the betterment of themselves and others,” Drushal said. “They are the epitome of the Warrior Ethos.”
Drushal refers to the Soldiers as “The Twin Towers.” Helmke stands at 6 feet, 5 inches, and Watford at 6 feet, 4 inches.
“At first, I thought it was going to be an easy challenge,” Drushal said. “Then I saw them working out and knew I had my work cut out for me.”
All three participants accomplished what they set out to do and ,are now members of the KAF MWR Gym’s 1,000 Pound Club, but Watford came out at the head of the pack with 1,180 pounds, in total.
“It felt great to accomplish my goal,” Watford said. “I wanted to beat the top contender’s spot on the board, which is currently a total weight of 1,545 pounds.”
Drushal was also pleased with his results.
“I am happy with it,” Drushal said. “The squat was the lift I was really proud of because it took a long time. I think I aged a year on the way up.”
The event showed that, from the youngest Soldiers to their senior officers, physical fitness is important to every member of the Army.
“This was an outstanding performance by two outstanding paralegals,” Cross said. “The support that Helmke and Watford got from everyone in 45th really speaks to how well the ‘45th Family’ is coming together.”