Military News

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Remembering the fallen and those who continue to fight

by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs


10/19/2015 - F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Over 100 Airmen crowded into the Independence Hall Fitness Center, Oct. 14, waiting to start what they were told would be a brutal and intense workout. Security Forces Airmen from the 90th Missile Wing volunteered to push themselves to the limits in a group workout in memory of a fallen Airman, who many of them never had the chance to meet.

After hearing the details of the workout and words of encouragement, the Airmen began the silent workout in memory of the Airman 1st Class Leebernard Chavis.

Chavis was deployed to the Karadah Peninsula of Baghdad, Iraq, where he lost his life due to sniper fire while his squad was conducting route security on a suspected an improvised explosive device, Oct. 14, 2006.

His team considered this Hampton, Virginia native a down to earth Airman who always liked to keep things light, but was quick to handle business once his team went to work.

"I knew his team leader," said Tech. Sgt. Sarah Donis, 90th Security Support Squadron. "He introduced me to his workout in 2010 and I could see how much it affected him every year."

Donis has done this workout almost every year since the 2010 in memory of Chavis. The exercise consists of 150 burpees, a one mile run and 150 squat thrusts.

"This workout is grueling and hard, but it's supposed to be," she added. "When it gets hard you have to dig deep and push through."

Many fallen defenders have been honored with memorial workouts created in their memory by those left behind. The workouts mirror the philosophy of challenging one's self and being forced to dig deep, simulating what those who knew the fallen must endure.

"I've never felt so involved in a work out," said Staff Sgt. Brett Cassidy, 90th SSPTS instructor. "I've also never had a workout I actually wanted to complete so badly."

Though the workout was in memory of Chavis, he wasn't the only one being remembered.

"It's not just about one Airman, it's about all of the defenders who have passed and those still fighting overseas," Cassidy said.

Many Airmen that participated in the workout were brand-new members of the squadron, still training for their careers.

"All of my Airmen volunteered," Cassidy said. "To see them, not knowing [Chavis], and not knowing me or sergeant Donis, shows how much they care and how much they were invested. They made me proud to know that these Airmen will be the people I will be working with for the next 15 to 20 years."

Every Airmen that took on the challenge completed the memorial workout, remaining silent from beginning to end in remembrance of those defenders that have fallen in the line of duty.

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