“…It is when we act freely, for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were.” – Mihaly C.

About OneFootOneStep


My name is Benjamin Riddle.  This page is about life lessons, experiences, thoughts, and self development with a theme on athletics and an emphasis on the barbell.  The blog “title” is a reference to an experience I had while serving in the United States Marine Corps (2004 – 2009):  While I was training for my 3rd deployment overseas I was blessed with a very fit and capable squad.  We were training to go over to Ramadi, Iraq in 2008 at 29 Palms, California for a month long exercise known as CAX (Combined Arms Exercise).  I was a Combat Engineer (1371) being used as a demolitions specialist and more specifically as a specialized breacher at the time.  As Combat Engineers you are separated into squads from a platoon size element and then assigned to an Infantry Company.  Basically what this means is that you have 9 Combat Engineers who Support 100’s of grunts in their mission.  On a particular range called “410 Alpha,” a platoon size element must assault several fixed positions over about 2 miles in under 30 minutes.  During this time the engineers must make several breaches.  What this means is that engineers sprint to the front, make the breach for the grunts to move through, then sprint to the front, and repeat.  There are an average of 4 (3 door-kickers and 1 HQ) platoons per company.  Each grunt platoon only runs this course once, but since there is only one squad of engineers, we must run it 3 -4 times that day, and it is always back-to-back.  As the senior Marine in charge of my squad during this exercise and the specialized breacher, I had to lead this course for us.  It. Was. Brutal.  Each run was exhausting.  The temperature out there averages 110 degrees and you are in full battle gear.  By the 3rd run I remember being completely exhausted, but we had to keep the momentum and keep pushing like it was our first run because the grunt platoons were getting graded on their time through the course.  I kept feeling like I was going to pass out at any moment, but that I couldn’t slow down.  I had to fight through the pain and exhaustion to get to the objective in the allotted time as well as lead my marines to do their job effectively.  I kept telling myself, “one more foot, just take another step.  Keep moving.”  To this day, when I reach exhaustion while training or competing, I remember 410 Alpha.

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