Hello EliteFTS and whoever reads this,

I am a first lieutenant in the United States Army, currently serving overseas in Iraq with 1-18 Infantry out of Fort Riley, Kansas. I am submitting this as an article, should you wish to publish it, but first I just wanted to thank EliteFTS for inspiring me in times when inspiration can be hard to come by.

I was married this past year to a very beautiful young woman, but my profession is unforgiving; we were issued deployment orders prior to Halloween of this year and were told that we would deploy on or around November 15. We would miss out on the entirety of the holiday season. That is part of the job—no complaints. Just accept it and "drive on."

So I'm here in Iraq performing the mission along with Delta Company, and luckily, there are two things that have kept me going—using Skype with my wife and working out in a rather austere gym that was put together by the previous team. The essentials are there and that's all that matters. You can squat, deadlift, and bench and do pull-ups, dips, pull-downs, etc. There are more than enough weights, and the bars are actually of fairly decent quality. Soldiers have a knack for making the most out of pretty terrible circumstances and this gym is proof of that.

I’m not sure many people realize that, beyond basic training, the army is actually a very good place to develop yourself as a strength athlete. You still have to pass the physical fitness test, but a passing score is a passing score and even some of the biggest and strongest can still meet the minimum requirements. It almost seems like someone high up in the military is giving a nod and a smile to the bigger folks, as if to say, "We need the big guys, too."

A deployed environment is similar to being in a prison in the sense that there are fewer things to occupy your time with besides lifting, watching television, and doing work. It's the reason why you see jacked guys coming out of prison or the stereotype of the ripped military guy. Those people exist and they exist because there is little else to do once the work day is through.

Anyway, we are located in eastern Baghdad on a joint security station where we occupy a tiny part of an Iraqi army compound. Our mission is no less dangerous than those of the past in Iraq, but the army and media have dubbed us an "advise and assist brigade" to take the edge off the more rough sounding "heavy brigade combat team."

We're still in combat even though "all combat troops are out of Iraq." I'm still in Iraq along with thousands of other soldiers who deserve to have their war and country-stabilizing efforts recognized in the media.

To Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, or anyone at EliteFTS who is willing to read this—thank you all so much for the work you do with this site and for continuing to inspire lifters life myself even from 10,000 miles away.

1LT DiEugenio, Christopher
U.S. Army, Field Artillery