Weighted barbells slam to the ground with bangs and clanks, as sweat drips onto them from the exhausted faces overhead. With no time lost the barbell is jerked up once more for another repetition.
Thirty-six warrior Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing, 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, and U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters broke into teams to complete a grueling Explosive Ordnance Disposal Fallen Warrior Workout known as “Tripwire” at the 435th Security Forces Squadron’s gym on Ramstein Air Base, Jan. 5.
“This workout is in honor of Tech. Sgt. Matthew Schwartz, Senior Airman Bryan Bell, and Airman 1st Class Matthew Seidler, whose team’s call sign was Tripwire,” said Chief Master Sgt. Heath Tempel, 435th AGOW and Air Expeditionary Wing command chief. “On Jan. 5, 2012, all three EOD technicians were killed while conducting combat operations in the Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device while on route clearance patrol.”
The workout, “Tripwire,” consists of a 1-mile run, 180 reps of bench press, 180 reps of push press, 180 reps of high pull, and a final 1-mile run, all of which is completed by a team of three Airmen. Many aspects of the workout are drawn from the type of mission Team Tripwire would routinely run while downrange.
“Route clearances can cover many miles and are typically ‘out-and-back’ missions beginning and ending in the same position,” said Tempel. “The workout opens with a 1-mile run to signify the travel required for the operations EOD teams conduct. There are typically three personnel assigned to an EOD team. As teams work together to complete the necessary repetitions of the three exercises, it symbolizes the teamwork required to neutralize IEDS. The workout ends with another 1-mile run, again signifying the distances covered during the mission as well as Team Tripwire’s final journey home.”
Tempel, a former EOD Airman, found the event to be a perfect way to accentuate critical aspects of being a service member.
“Fallen Defender workouts are a 435th Security Forces Squadron tradition and attending these events inspired a joint SFS/EOD workout in honor of Team Tripwire,” said Tempel. “Hero workouts are always special, team-oriented events. They bring us together as a unit while underscoring the importance of heritage and legacy. This event was particularly special in that we had some important guests: Candice White, the sister of Bell, and her husband, Chris White. Chris was the roommate of Bell during EOD school and fast became friends. Candice met her husband through his friendship with her brother, Bryan. Both are active-duty Airmen assigned to Ramstein, and when I learned that they were here I was very excited to make them a part of this day.”
Before the workout began, Staff Sgt. Candice White, USAFE/HQ protocol technician, spoke to the participants and expressed her gratitude.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out and participating in this workout,” said White. “This is important because it is honoring all who have fallen and keeps them alive in our memories.”