This AAR is from the 2017 GORUCK Constellation event in Seattle, Washington. The actual location of the event was in Bellevue (across the water from Seattle) due to classroom logistics… which was probably for the best.
- Cadre: Michael S, Brad, Wild Will
- Event Type: GORUCK Constellation
- Location: Seattle (aka Bellevue aka Bellville), WA
- Special Event: No
- Time: 10 Hours
- Distance: Roughly 10 Miles
Packing List & Gear
The GORUCK Constellation Packing List is incredibly different from the standard line of GORUCK Challenges. The majority of the items listed below were part of the required packing list for the event.
- GORUCK GR2 (34L): GORUCK Constellation is about survival. If I were in a situation where I needed to grab a bugout bag it would be my GR2 which is why I brought it to this event.
- All Day Ruckoff HVS-V (Visibility Strap): Reflective straps are required
- Stranger Rucks Patch
- Duct Tape
- Selfie Stick (Gross)
- Steel Wool
- Dust Mask
- Tin Can
- Pelican Case 1050 Case
- $20 (Cab Fare)
- ID Card
- Credit Card
- Cell Phone
- Princeton Tec EOS Headlamp (Review)
- Dry Bag (Review)
- Protein Bars
- Mechanix Gloves (Review)
- ITW Grimloc
- Battery Pack
- 2 Liter Soda
- Source Water Bladder
Below is what I wore for the event which occurred in the summer over a very warm night.
- Shirt: GORUCK Tough Tee (Review)
- Pants: GORUCK Simple Pants
- Underwear: ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief
- Socks: Darn Tough
- Shoes: Brooks Adrenaline (Over 1,000 Miles)
GORUCK Constellation AAR
GORUCK Constellation is a very special event. It’s different from the standard GORUCK Challenges and still has some sense of mystery to it. GORUCK has been expanding on and modifying their events after each iteration which means your Constellation event might be very different from the one I experienced. Hopefully this AAR will give you some idea of GORUCK Constellation while still leaving a bit of mystery left to experience during the event.
I showed up to the event about 45 minutes early to get a lay of the land. GORUCK events often start (at least in Washington) at locations that have poor parking so it can easily take 15 minutes to find a spot.
Thankfully the CrossFit gym we were starting at had ample spaces and was very easy to find. We were all milling around and chatting when one of the Cadre hopped up on a truck and called us all over. There were a couple of guys who were taking their time saying goodbye to their girlfriends/wives and, upon seeing this, the Cadre put us in front-leaning rest position. The event hadn’t even started yet (kickoff time was still 15 minutes out) and we were doing PT.
That was awesome… and it instilled in the group that this was indeed a GORUCK event. I wasn’t worried that the event would be a cake walk… but at the same time wasn’t convinced that it would have the same “heart” that the standard GORUCK events have. Spending those 90 seconds in the front leaning rest took that worry away from me.
When it was finally time to start we were instructed to get in groups of 8 or 9 around a map. There were a number of teams that had the correct amounts and just as many that were short. It took a couple minutes but everyone filled in and the teams were formed. The team you are on at the beginning of the night is the team you will stay with for the duration of the event.
We received instruction then moved inside for the first portion of the event. We were taught how to find north, how to navigate, and how to move throughout a city. The cadre were thorough but concise and didn’t waste any time. It wasn’t long before we were off on our first mission… to scout out a fairly close location, take a picture from a good vantage point, and send the info back to HQ.
Apologies in advance but a few of the Garmin activities are partials because I forgot to start the movement when we left and, instead, remembered after we had traveled a few blocks. On our way back to our safe house we received a message that there was civil unrest and that we had to stay off the main roads. We checked our map and found a new way to get back to the safe house that was less out there in the open.
Throughout the night we learned and we roamed, we hid and we hunted, we had a really good time figuring this new event out as a team.
Our map had a section that was boxed in that we were not to leave… however inside of that box we could do as we pleased. This gave the Cadre room to hunt us down throughout the night.
Go ugly (or dirty) early… or so they say. Hide places where people won’t want to find you so that you won’t have to deal with people finding you.
After each movement we were back in the safe house for learning sessions. After each learning session we applied our knowledge gained to our next mission. It was great having that ability to test out everything we were learning in a “real world” environment.
We learned how to make fire using materials that we had brought with us…
…then we practiced it on the spot. We learned how to apply a tourniquet and the ramifications of doing so…
…then we practiced them on each other. Everything we learned about and created we tested to ensure it actually worked as expected.
The movements increased in both distance and the number of tasks assigned throughout the night. Everything built on itself and grew in a way that felt exciting and made sense.
What would a GORUCK event be without a visit from the city’s finest? As expected the Bellevue PD showed up at one point but thankfully did not shut anything down.
More learning, more movements, more fun, and more teamwork.
Being restrained sucks but duct tape and zip ties aren’t as strong and impenetrable as you might think they are.
We practiced restraining each other then breaking out of said restraints. It was fun and definitely eye-opening to what’s possible with only minor (or no) tools.
Whenever we had any “down time” during the event we were instructed to work on our homemade gas masks. That’s right… homemade gas mask.
I spent a fair amount of time on mine after we learned how to make them and I’m sure glad I did. I cut my mask a little wider than I was planning then used duct tape to fill in the edges so it was a near-perfect fit when in use.
Spend time on your gas mask… you won’t regret that.
The night quickly turned to morning and we were instructed it was time for our culminating exercise. During our culminating exercise we had to demonstrate nearly everything we learned that night… which was definitely a unique experience. After the exercise was completed we headed back to the safe house and tried not to die. This event was something I am so glad I signed up for.
Receiving the patch was awesome and this is definitely one I will look at with fond memories.
A huge thanks to Team Foxtrot for kicking ass all night long and even more thanks to the Cadre and GORUCK for bringing this awesome event to our area.
GORUCK Constellation is a very unique event that is still new for GORUCK. They’re modifying it after each event and even as I’m writing this I’m reading about a later class that had improvements made. I hope in 2018 that GORUCK decides to bring Constellation back to Seattle because it would be awesome to see just how much as changed. This was one of the largest GORUCK events I’ve seen in Seattle and it’s great to see so many people excited about it. When I registered for this event I had assumed it would have appealed more to the GRT (aka GORUCK Alumni) community but how I was wrong. This was the first event for nearly half of the people who showed up.
If you have the opportunity to register for a GORUCK Constellation event I highly recommend that you do so. If you have a GORUCK Constellation event coming up then make sure to check out our GORUCK Constellation Training Page, GORUCK Constellation Packing List, and GORUCK Constellation Food & Nutrition Guide. We have also been aggregating a number of GORUCK Constellation AARs so if you want to read more check out our GORUCK Constellation AAR Directory.
For those who stuck around until the end of this life got pretty exciting after Constellation finished. Less than 4 hours from endex my wife and I were on the road to the hospital where a short few hours later she gave birth to our daughter. She was 27 days early but thank goodness she waited for the event to finish before deciding to join the party!
Nice AAR, thanks for being a great teammate. See you at the next event soon!
Thanks for the AAR. It sounds like the new things they tried in Chicago were kept for your event.
I agree with the teams being a good mix of experienced and new members. I was the vet of the group with others having done zero to three other events. Like you, we had fun and the more experienced folks gently pushed the new ones to expand their limits.
It was “Get ugly early” right?
Brian Lohr says
That was the official saying, after we got into that dumpster it forever changed a little for me 😂
LOL so did we! But it was “Bellville” – how dirty could they be??
PS: Hope the new family is doing well!