“The strong shall stand, the weak will fall by the wayside.”

A Navy corpsman, or “Doc” as they are commonly called, is the epitome of professional. They’re one of the few frontline fighters in the U.S. military whose primary job is to help others. Corpsman make their living giving medical care in the face of enemy contact, which is what military service is all about: sacrifice. That’s what makes J.D. “Doc” Marcum, and Florence Barbell (don’t think I’m forgetting you Gaylynn and Brian), so unique and it’s what drew me to them from the start.  
Before I came to Florence Barbell I exercised on my own in a garage gym. My goal was to become a U.S. Air Force TACP: an Airman who aligns with an Army Infantry unit and calls in airstrikes from the frontlines. The selection process for the job is difficult and currently has the highest washout rate in the DoD at around 85%. I thought I was prepared by working out on my own but my first workout at Florence Barbell, a 30 minute grinder full of wall balls, burpees, pushups, and squats, proved I was not even close. I knew I had work to do but now I wasn’t working out in a garage by myself. From his time in the Marine Corps, Doc knew what it took to make it through a grueling selection process. He sat down with me and talked about my goals, strengths, and weaknesses. And then he made a plan to attack my goals and we never looked back.  
After a year of training, I headed off to the TACP pipeline. And a year after that I find myself a U.S. Air Force TACP. I always wonder what would have happened if I had never walked into Florence Barbell in 2013. The slogan of TACPs is “The strong shall stand, and the weak will fall by the wayside,” and I would be on the wayside if weren’t for Florence Barbell. I still remember Brian coming in at 4am so he could workout in time to teach the 5am class. I remember Doc teaching classes the entire day and still staying late so Jamme and I could train after we were done with class. I remember Gaylynn’s smile and cheerful personality coaching me (sometimes dragging me) through the worst workouts. Their selflessness is something I can never repay. The gym stopped being a job and something I looked forward to. It was some the best workouts I have ever had and also some the best damn good times I ever had. That community is something you can’t find anywhere else and is the reason anytime I come home to Cincinnati I can’t wait to go train.  
Give my best to Jax, Bella, and Chippy. Oh and I guess Nancy.  

“The strong shall stand, the weak will fall by the wayside.”

2d Lt Michael J. Vollmer
20 ASOS, Ft. Drum
vollmemj@gmail.com