"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."
THIS YEARS CHALLENGE IS DEDICATED TO
Every year, on Memorial Day Weekend, the Blackbeard Challenge is held to remember the life and legacy of SSG Matthew A. Pucino. Not for the faint of heart, the challenge is just that, a challenge. This year the 2021 Blackbeard Challenge is dedicated to Mr. Matt’s most ardent supporter, Adam Caudill. Every year, with the heart of a lion, Adam completed the punishing workout with extreme focus and dedication, striving to keep Matthew’s memory alive. This year we strive to keep the memory of Adam Caudill alive. Even though we may have parted ways for now, we take comfort in the fact that Adam and Matthew are together, looking out for one another and training hard. Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.
It’s not the end.
Taken from a paper for school, here is how Adam described all that the Blackbeard Challenge meant to him:
"There are real heroes who fight for what's right in the U.S. I don’t have to look hard to find a real hero in my life.
On November 23, 2009 in a dirty small town in Afghanistan, the world lost a true hero and a amazing soldier. Matthew is a great hero because he sacrificed something very valuable to him for others, seeing his family again. That isn't something everyone would do. I didn't know Matthew Pucino personally but he was on my dadś Army Special Forces team. LIttle did I know, while I was sitting at home playing with my toys that my life would forever be changed at that moment. You see, this happened when I was only four years old so I didn't really know much about what happened. I have heard stories and I do know that Mr. Matt will forever be my hero.
His name was Matthew but most people called him Matt.
SSG Matthew Pucino died serving his country. During a routine combat patrol, Matthewś all terrain vehicle struck an improvised explosive device and he was killed immediately. My dad and Mr. Matt were in front of the convoy that dreadful night. They were both leaders and wanted everyone else to be safe. Sadly, Mattś 4 wheeler hit the bomb and exploded. My dad was right next to him. This could have been my dad. I understand, now, what this really means. It was a 50/50 chance of my dad or Mr. Matt hitting that IED. In my eyes, Mr. Matt saved my dad.
Matthew Pucino sacrificed his life to save his fellow warriors. Because of him, all of his teammates were able to go home and see their families again. I get to have my dad. That is a big risk he took for my family and his.
The nation lost a true patriot that day. He laid down his life so the American people may retain their freedom. Freedom Isn't Free. His family created a foundation to carry on his legacy and to help wounded soldiers.
My life would be forever different if it had been my Dad instead of Mr. Matt. That makes him my hero.
We remember Mr. Matt always, but especially on Memorial Weekend when we do a workout called the Blackbeard Challenge. It is really hard. Yesterday, we completed it in approximately 90 minutes. Please remember his name. Please remember SSG Matthew Pucino. He never asked to be a hero but he surely became one in my eyes. Thank you, Mr. Matt for giving me more time with my dad. I will never forget."
Read more about Adam and his family's mission:
ABOUT THE CHALLENGE
On November 23, 2009, a hero was lost to the world. At age 34, Staff Sergeant Matthew Albert Pucino laid down his life to free the oppressed. The Blackbeard Challenge was created to remember SSG Pucino while we continue working to assist our warriors and their families, just as Staff Sergeant Matthew A. Pucino would have done, keeping his name and memory alive.