Thursday, July 10, 2008


No I am not talking about passing gas (sorry, childish humor is the best). First of all I got up at 445am today and went and stood tall waiting to take a Physical fitness test. We did not start untilabout 530am. The push-ups were nothing. I did the minimum and stood up. Needed to save that energy. Next were the sit-ups. I passed those, but not quite as easy. I have had some real issues with sit-ups my whole life. I have never been that good at them. I have worked really hard to get to passing. About four weeks ago I went about 15 past the minimum, which I have not done in over ten years. I have come really close several times here and there, but never did that many. I have passed them a few times since I got to Fort Campbell, but usually it is barely.

On to the biggest and baddest feat of the day. Most of you know I am little chunky and was FAT last year. What most of you do not know is that I lost over 30 pounds in about 2,5 months last year. That put me really close to being able to go back active duty. REAL CLOSE!! I struggled with the idea of going active duty for several months then I heard about the bonus and I jumped. I got lucky and was able to "tape" in. That means by Army standard I was overweight and they had to break out the tape measure and check the body fat. I made it by the skin of my teeth and I have been that way since then. Well today I jumped on the scale and I have lost over 15 pounds since arriving here in March. I also dropped 2% body fat. I have not tried that hard, but the time has come to loose that last 20 pounds before Oct. I promised myself I would be under the maximum weight by the time I get home in Oct. There are a lot things I want to do (you know the special someone I have been talking about) during that time I need to my best.

I got side tracked there bragging about the weight loss. Oh, I am only 15 pounds from the original goal, so I upped it a little. Side tracked again. A lot of you know I smoked for a long time. Well that is only part of it. I also had a tumor removed from my right hip at the age of 19. That was just over 9 years ago. The last time I passed a PT test legitatmently was in 1998 at training for the Army. Last year when I was trying to loose all the weight I was running a lot. at least three times a week and at least three miles each time. Well, I took a few PT tests and I was really close, but never made it. Remember I mentioned the PT test a few weeks ago? Well, I ran my two miles in 18:30. That was 1.5 minutes too slow. That meant I had a LOT of work to do. I started running as much as I could and doing all I could to get faster. The air here is REALLY thin, dry and dusty. Makes running really hard on everyone. Everyone saw a big decrease in speed and test scores. That made it even harder for me being so far out of shape. Today was the test to see if I had been trying hard enough. I started my run and knew where I had to be at what times. I knew I had to be at four corners at 4 minutes and was there at 3.5. I knew I had to be at the turn around at 8:10. I was there at 7:45. Lost a little time but I was doing good. I knew I had to be back at four corners at 12:30 and was there at 11.50. Picked up the time. I knew I had to be at the chow hall at 15:30. I was there at about 15. That meant I had two minutes to get to the finish. SGT Howard, SGT Vogelpohl, and SGT Bahena would not let me slow down and I crossed the finished the run at 16:20. I had 40 seconds to spare. I was ready to pass out from not being able to breathe, but I made it for the first time in 10 years. You have not idea excited I was. I even called mom and dad at 11pm EST to tell them. That was how excited I was. Everyone in the office knew my struggles with running and everyone was excited to hear I made it. I owe a lot to those I mentioned above for the motivation and support. I also SSG Cundiff for kicking my ass to keep trying to improve. My next goal is 15 minutes. I know I can do it with a little practice and dedication. Sergeant Major Leyro come up to me this afternoon and was looking me over and asking everyone what was different about me. He then asked where the monkey went I told him I kicked its ass!!!! The PT test was keeping me from being able to reenlist. With the recent changes in my life, I will be reenlisting with the support of that someone special.

On to the next pass. I took my first test in my classes toward my bachelors in computers. I missed one question and that meant I passed. I was excited about because I came back to my room and did while I was on a roll. Today has been a great for me as you can tell.

Today is one of those days where credit needs to be given where it is due. What do we do when we are down and out? What do we do when we need help? Who do we always turn too? GOD!! We turn to him in times of need and not always in time of praise. I can promise you I spent all day thanking Him for the achievements I experienced today. I also thank Him everyday for the happiness that has been brought to me. Do you thank or just ask for something? Do you only pray for yourself or do you include others? I thank Him every day that brother has made it another day and I am not getting that call that something has happened. I thank Him for the new happiness and pray that my friend finds the strength to follow through with some very tough decisions. I pray for the families of the fallen, a lot of time by name seeing that I see the names all day. Try praying for someone other than yourself. Spend more time on them and less on you. Life is not easy for anyone and if they say it is, they are lying.

As I sit here I wonder how many people at home are sitting around in minimal clothing (I have ONE piece of clothing on right now) and are sweating profusely because the air conditioner is not strong enough to counter act the heat outside. I wonder how many people made that extra effort to express their love for those around them before leaving for work. I wonder how many people got up at 2am to happily answer the phone and talk to someone and just listen be glad they were the one that received the phone call. I wonder how many are willing to get up at 2am every day and tell someone just how they feel and how much they mean to them. I wonder how many stopped by the gas station and got that ice cold Vault soft drink (my favorite and not had one since I left the states) and that favorite candy bar. How many people prayed for the soldiers that are over giving them the freedom to work where they want, own the car they want, and pray and worship when and where they want. I wonder how many took the time to HAND WRITE that letter to that someone special and tell them how they feel and be able to write fast enough because they had to much to say. When is the last time you found a veteran and thanked them for what they did for you? Stop taking advantage of it.

I need to thank everyone for the support they are showing. I have been giving the blog address to all that send me packages I am hoping they are stopping by see us show our support. I cannot thank enough. There are some really great people out there supporting us. My parents are top of the list and always will be.

I have a lot more to talk about, but I need to get back to my school work. Know that I am ever thankful for all that is being done for us. God bless you all!!!!!!!

SGT John Strader



JulieH said...

Congratulations on passing the PT test!!! It sounds like you have worked long and hard! I found the blog on the anysoldier website and I love reading you and your brother's posts.

malissaH said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am happy that you passed. I hope life continues to bring you success and happiness!


MOM said...

can you imagine the cheer and happiness at 11:00pm when I get a phone call of a child dancing on air because he is improving with every breathe he takes. WAY TO GO JOHN!!!!!!!!!! I am very proud of you and so is your dad. Keep up the great work!
To those who are reading the posts ........ aren't they great ... the boys and the posts. Not just "the boys" but everyone that is serving and giving of their time and lives so that we can live in a free country without much worry of loosing our freedom.
That someone special is really nice and glad you have found each other to be special with

DrNo*Sparta* said...

Way to go Postal !!!!!

Halli said...

Great job bud!!!!!
Most of us read these blogs and are thinking of ya.

Anonymous said...

Great job passing your PT test. I really enjoy reading your blogs. Keep up the good work!

Aunt Nancy