Fight Oar Die: Army vets set to row across Atlantic to raise PTSD awareness

Vets set to row across the Atlantic to raise awareness & money for PTSD. Source: Fight Oar Die

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs says roughly 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

A Mobile native is trying to change that -- he's among four combat veterans set to row across the Atlantic Ocean to raise awareness and money for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

"There's not a day that I don't think about being back over there and I think that goes for a lot of people that were over there and back home now," said Retired Army Major Bryant Knight. "Every one of us on the team has seen it personally and I think that's our big driving factor to represent our veteran community,"

"Fight Oar Die" is what they're calling their mission -- one they hope will show fellow veterans that anything is possible -- to stop taking their lives and start living them.

They're set to compete in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge -- a 3,000 mile rowing team race from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua.

All four men live in different parts of the country.

Bryant Knight -- Denver, CO

Alex Evans -- Evansville, IN

Beau Maier -- Cody, WY

Christopher Kuntz -- Powell, WY

They have been training for the challenge. On any given day they try to row 10,000 meters in 40 minutes on rowing machines.

"We are the farthest away we can be from any large body of water to train. We are training every single day. Our diets are pretty extreme. A lot of rowing on a concept 2 rower... A lot of crossfit. I'm also doing yoga three times a week," explained Knight.

Their special 28-foot ocean rowing boat is still under construction out of Port Townsend, Washington by a company called SpinDrift Rowing. The boat will have three rowing positions and will be 100% self-contained for them to live, eat, and sleep on the boat while they row across the Atlantic.

"The plan is to have two rowers on at a time and if we really need to get behind the oars and gain some distance to see where we are with out competitors we will put a third man on there, but two hours on and two hours off non-stop," said Knight.

When the boat is finished they plan to do trials in the Pacific and possibly make a trip to Mobile to go out in the Gulf.

With race time in December -- they expect to encounter storms, 40 to 60 foot waves and rowing together -- set a new record.

"For the class of boats we're in -- ocean rowing boats - the record is a little over 33 days and we want to beat that record. We are here to win and we are dedicated to win - but if we are able to cross the ocean period - that's going to be a win for us," said Knight. "Ultimately we're doing it to help fellow veterans and if we can do that everyone wins. We hope to make Fight Oar Die a national product. We want to grow it. It's something that is needed. We are still in the early stages, a grass roots effort, but hopefully one day it Fight Oar Die will be helping veterans on a daily basis."

They're already taking applications for team members for next year and beyond.

Meanwhile, they Fight Oar Die has partnered with the University of Denver to help better train psychologists to work with veterans.

If you would like to help with the Fight Oar Die cause click here.

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