We all have a story of how and why we got here, and what drives us forward. From the Gods to the Gray Men, 10 Questions With A GRT is our collective opportunity to get to know you, the GORUCK Community, better. We hope you’ll come along for the ride.
Our premiere installment features Josh Brooks, who finally won a raffle (that he didn’t knowingly enter) by being chosen as our test subject. Josh is known as “Gumby” to many GRTs, “Snuggie Bear” to Team Forged, and just plain Brooks to most everybody else.
He lives in Dawsonville, GA where he works at Custom Casework Company building cabinets and moonlights as a machine operator to fund his self-admitted patch addiction. His hobbies include playing guitar, camping, and spending time with family and friends, with the concept of “community” being very important to him.
And with that brief introduction, on to the questions:
1. Where does your GORUCK journey start, and who was responsible for getting you to your first event?
2015 – the 9/11 Tough in Athens, GA, having not the slightest clue what I got myself into. I blame John Morris PHD for making me drink the Kool-Aid!
2. How many GORUCK events have you done, and what is your favorite type (e.g., Light, Tough, Heavy, other)?
15 earned patches! 8 Tough, 3 Light, 2 Scavenger, 1 Constellation, and 1 Jedburgh. Favorite event would have to be Jedburgh.
3. What is your go-to ruck for a GORUCK event, and beyond the packing list, what absolutely, positively has to be in it?
The Rucker. For Tough and Light events it fits the basics you need. Gummy bears have to be in my ruck. I don’t eat a lot of food during an event, but I absolutely love gummy bears.
4. Describe your lowest moment during a GORUCK event – a time when you quit or were ready to quit.
The St. Augustine 2016 Ponce De Leon Tough, which I was peer pressured to join by Alissa Mongato. I started with an injured shoulder and finished with a separated AC Joint. I wanted to quit at the point when I assume I separated my shoulder due to carrying a duffle bag full of sand (but my team was the only one to cross the bridge with that sandbag!). I remember looking at Justin Johnson and telling him I was ready to quit, and he looked back and said he was fine with it. Then I said, “shit, I’m not making the call for us to quit.” So we brought each other back into the game. Plus we’re both too stupid to quit. The water was deep, and we were judged!
5. Bricks or Plates?
Plates. You can easily store the plate in the bombproof compartment of a GR1, or in the interior pocket of the Rucker.
6. What characteristics make the best Cadre?
Encouraging, and having a sense of humor. I remember making Cadre Heath laugh towards the end of the MLK Tough in Atlanta because I said “that’s what she said!” and made the class laugh as well.
[Editor’s Note: Brooks is known far and wide as the “that’s what she said!” guy – look for opportunities to toss him this softball on a Tough page post near you.]
7. Have you ever received a shirtless hug from Bomber?
No, but Bomber I fully expect this the next time I visit HQ!
8. What is your sales pitch to a friend who’s considering GORUCK but isn’t quite sure if they want to take the plunge?
You get this awesome patch at the end… and beer.
9. What is your proudest achievement as a GRT and why?
Finishing the Ponce Tough with a separated AC Joint, because later on at Constellation BETA 001, Cadre Cody told me I was pretty tough. Hearing those words from a Navy SEAL makes me proud to be as stupid as I am to not quit an event.
10. You get the chance to pick your GORUCK Dream Team for an event – list 5 GRTs and why you chose them.
In no particular order . . . Christian Griffith and Stony Smith – two Selection finishers – who wouldn’t want their DFQ mindset on their team? Louis Oliveira is one of the most determined guys I know. He doesn’t look at a challenge and say it’s impossible, he strategizes how to best use his strength for the task at hand. Justin Johnson is one tough cookie. I’ve seen him buddy carry casualties most of the event when everyone else ran from the task. He never backs down from pulling his weight and picking up the slack of others. And he also has a great sense of humor. Van Riggins has literally picked me up and made me move when I was a zombie. He is alert at times when you are down in the dumps and encourages you to keep moving. You gotta love the guy with a big heart.
BONUS: What are your questions at this time?
Where the hell is Van Riggins?
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