RED SEA (NNS) -- "I had asked my brother after he told me of his upcoming deployment if he wanted to go," said Matthew Hansen. "He told me, 'It doesn't matter if I want to go or not. If I don't, they will send another Marine and I would never be able to hold my head up if something happened to him in my place.'"
Hansen is the brother of Marine Staff Sgt. Daniel Hansen, who died Feb. 14, 2009 while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom when an improvised explosive device (IED) that he was working on detonated.
That quote resounded loudly in Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Katherine Shepard's mind, motivating her as the sun beat down on her and approximately 10 other Sailors and Marines as they participated in the Hansen Hero Workout, a CrossFit workout named after the fallen Marine, aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) Nov. 11.
The workout consisted of five rounds of 30 kettle-bell swings, 30 burpees and 30 situps with nearly half of the participants donning 30-40 pound flak jackets, creating a harder workout and testing their endurance limits.
"To feel your muscles strain and pull and be on the verge of giving up is not a fun feeling and the pain that (many) veterans went through is something that is not taken lightly," said Sgt. Joseph Devroy, assigned to the Aviation Command Element (ACE) of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). "Experiencing this workout is just a small part of that pain."
As the workout progressed, fatigue and exhaustion was evident on the faces of all the participants as the pace started to slow down. Driven by pure desire, however, the service members pushed through.
"This workout is more mental than physical and just when you want to give up you've got to find that inner strength to continue on," said Shepard. "The workout is not about me, or any of us out here, it's about those brave veterans, and because of them we are able to do what we do."
Sweat poured down the participants' bodies as the unforgiving sun continued to beat down. One by one the participants finished the workout. Smiles and high fives were shared as all the service members finished the workout.
"As an active-duty service member, Veterans Day means a lot, as it's a time that I take to thank my brothers and sisters who have stood the watch," said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Joshua Farmer. "And I continue to carry the torch for them."
San Diego is part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 11th MEU, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
For more news from San Diego, visit www.navy.mil/local/lpd22/.