Wounded veteran leads ROTC exercises

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Army ROTC cadets lift a weight together as a part of the CrossFit drills meant to build teamwork. Buy this photo

By Anastassios Adamopoulos, Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 24, 2013

On Thursday, the University’s Naval ROTC program organized a special CrossFit workout at Palmer Field that involved about 100 cadets from across the program’s branches, including a few from Eastern Michigan University.

Tracy Ko/Daily
ROTC cadets listen to Derick Carver, an Afghan War veteran, as he leads them through drills on Palmer Field Thursday.
Tracy Ko/Daily
Members of Army ROTC participate in a coordination drill as a team during CrossFit workout run by Army Veteran Derick Carver on Palmer Field Thursday.

The training session was led by Army Capt. Derick Carver, a U.S. Army veteran and amputee who continues to lead physical training programs at his personal gym.

A CrossFit workout is a physical challenge involving intensive stamina, weightlifting and cardiovascular training. Carver, a California native and Eastern Michigan University alum, served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010 as a platoon leader of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Carver sustained battle injuries during his tour of duty and was placed into medical retirement after having his left leg amputated. He has received national attention from various media outlets for overcoming his injuries.

The intense exercises focused on team-based activities as the cadets cooperated, coordinated and alternated with their teammates in drills. Activities ranged from team push-ups and squats to running around Palmer Field carrying teammates on stretchers while others carried weights on their backs.

“We are doing leadership development through physical fitness assessment,” Carver said.

“What this brings us is a great aspect for team-building,” Naval ROTC Capt. Joe Evans, chair of the University’s Naval Officer Education Program, said, adding that the exercise taught student cadets how to apply their strengths within the team.

Carver now owns Bayonet CrossFit, a gym in Shelby Township, Mich., and frequently runs similar training workouts on Saturdays. Three Bayonet staff members were on hand Thursday to help coordinate and organize the cadets.

Since students weren’t given information about what the training would involve, Carver said it made it more realistic for careers in the armed services.

“If you know what you’re doing you can be mentally prepared for it — (but) if you just show up, it’s a kick in the teeth,” Carver said. “In a year to four years, they are going to be leading soldiers in combat, so this gives them a different perspective of how hard it could become, and, as future leaders, what is going to be demanded of them in that role.”