VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Strapped in a yellow harness, a USS Theodore Roosevelt Sailor pulled a 34,000-pound F/A-18C Hornet aboard Naval Air Station Oceana during an event to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, March 31.
Standing at 6 feet, 2 inches and 304 pounds, Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) (AW) 2nd Class Brian Gray grabbed a rope and dragged himself and the aircraft the required 75 feet in 23.23 seconds.
"It wasn't as hard as I expected," laughed Gray. "Getting started was the hard part."
The event featured both the petite and powerful. Those new to strength sports watched as seasoned strongmen chugged water out of gallon jugs and warmed up with jump ropes and giant tires.
More than 50 people showed up to try and pull the aircraft as an event for Brute Strength Gym in Norfolk. Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-15 hosted the jet pull, which raised more than $3,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.
"I wasn't surprised he did it since he's exactly the type of person you would imagine doing something like that, always in the gym lifting weights and eating right," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) (AW/SW) 1st Class Gerard W. K. Dindial. "When I heard he went out there and signed up, I knew right away that his heart was in the right spot, that he was doing it for the community and for the TR. He's always talking with junior Sailors about nutrition and eating right, and helping them with their routines."
Gray, who came in 6th place, is a long-time weightlifter, though he has never participated in strongmen events. He's never even pulled a car, much less a fighter jet.
"This is a different kind of competition," said Gray. "I'm used to pure strength competitions. Something like this requires a whole different level of endurance. I'm really excited though, it's a jet! How often can someone say they've pulled a jet?"
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