Workout Day with Warriors honors veterans

Iowa State ROTC cadets and midshipmen regroup after the warrior workout at the Lied Rec Center Wed. morning. This particular workout was unique because Team RWB became involved for Veterans Day. Team RWB is a nationwide organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community with physical and social activities.

Alex Connor

The ROTC units were invited to give back this Veterans Day through a national event that honors and brings together veterans in the community.

Cadets, midshipmen, veterans and students helped ring in Veterans Day with an annual Workout Day with Warriors at 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Hosted by Team Red, White and Blue, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of American veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity, Workout Day with Warriors is a workout specifically designed to honor veterans.

Joseph McNeill, senior in interdisciplinary studies and company commander, helped bring the event to Iowa State.

“The whole point of this workout is to just bring attention to [veterans] and just to thank them for their service,” McNeill said.

With more than 150 people signed up before the event, McNeill estimated that more than 250 people would participate the workout.

To warm up for the workout, the Naval ROTC units took a warm-up lap round the track. The Air Force ROTC and Army ROTC units stood in formation to await assignment.

Students and veterans participating stood off to the side, stretching.

Attendees were then asked to divide into 10 groups of 25, with cadets and midshipmen from each unit as a group leader.

Brandon Holtan, a volunteer with Team Red, White and Blue, and Marine veteran, then said a few words about what they do at Team Red, White and Blue. He said anyone interested is welcome to join.

After attendees introduced themselves to the person next to them, it was announced that Iowa State’s Workout Day with Warriors led the nation in sign-ups.

After breaking into groups, it was time to begin the workout. Participants did a modified version of the Armistice workout, which consisted of 11 reps of sit-ups, squats and burpies, and then added an additional 11 reps after every lap run between sets.

The 11-based rep scheme was tied to the history of Veterans Day. The first round represented veterans of past wars, and the second round represented veterans of present and future wars, according to Team Red, White Blue’s website.

“Modified versions of classic military exercises are meant to help connect veterans and the greater community after the accomplishment of shared hardship during this [Workout Day],” according to the website.

Participants, depending on how hard they pushed, were able to get in at least four to five sets.

Originally named Armistice Day, Veterans Day is celebrated annually to commemorate the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 in which an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany during World War I.

To this day, each year at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, a color guard made up of members from every military branch will render honors to America’s lost war heroes during a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Arlington National Cemetery.

As the Workout Day with Warriors came to a close, ROTC students were encouraged to talk to the veterans who attended because they will eventually be veterans themselves. Everybody was encouraged to thank someone and offer kind words.

“ROTC, it’s training cadets to become fellow officers, so we’re gonna be leading soldiers,” McNeill said. “And so we are a program that values and honors the veterans because we’re gonna be joining their team.”

Holtan offered a few words about Team Red, White and Blue and its involvement in the community.

“We do [get involved] by having weekly workouts, organizing social events [and] we attend structured athletic events like this,” Holtan said.

Holtan said the great thing about Team Red, White and Blue is that it’s not only for veterans, but for the community.

“We need members of the community to help our veterans transition back to civilian life,” Holtan said. “That’s our main focus, to help guys and gals coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan or active service in general to transition to life back at home.”