By Hope Hodge Seck
FOB Sabit Qadam—It’s springtime in Afghanistan, and that means the mercury is already pushing into the triple digits here in Sangin. That didn’t seem to make a difference for Sgt. Sylvester Brooks, who tore through the FOB at top speed on a 45-minute run, wearing a high-altitude mask to make an already sweltering workout more challenging.
During a quiet deployment focused on drawdown efforts, the outdoor gym seldom sits idle as Marines bide their time by knocking out endurance workouts and strength training. Marine officials said the gym will remain in place as drawdown efforts continue, meaning Marines will be able to continue to work out until they leave the base behind for good.
Brooks, with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, said he’s in the best shape of his life, running daily with a mask that simulates the thin air at 6,000 feet in altitude.
“It’s rough,” he said. “But like anything, once you do something like enough, you’re going to adapt to it.”
That goes for the base, too; Brooks, who first deployed to Sangin in 2012, says he has watched it grow smaller and smaller, eventually losing water and power.
Cpl. Timothy Dykes, also from the unit, did pull-ups nearby.
“We make the best of what we can,” he said. “Strength is this key aspect of being a Marine.”