Sergeant Tony's Blog

Girls Be Crazy! — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s blog post for 3/20/2013

Wednesday, Mar. 20th 2013 3:57 PM

She was pretty.

Prettier than the girls she was with, and didn’t act nearly as self-important as the others.

But I knew that she was trouble from the instant I laid eyes on her.

Still though, I wanted to meet her. But there were obstacles to that meeting, both real and social.

In order to meet her, I went through a middle-man. He arranged the meeting. Plus, I was too chicken to approach her without someone to make the introductions.

I didn’t know anything about her dreams or her aspirations. I didn’t know anything about her background. All I knew was that she was pretty. I know this is all so superficial. But I’m a man. Sometimes we can be shallow.

Maybe you can forgive my lack of depth, I was going through a tough time and I needed a distraction. Maybe even a companion. And I thought she might be the distraction I needed.

She was going through a tough time as well. (Our “matchmaker” said as much.) So maybe she needed a distraction too.

She looked at me in a way that kind of melted my heart. She was friendly, but just a little reserved. Cautious, I thought. Maybe she’d been hurt. Maybe she’d had some complicated relationships in the past and I guess she was just feeling me out before she could decide what she thought about me.

Our relationship was difficult from the beginning. She was, I’m afraid to say, not very smart. I don’t mean to be cruel. But it’s true. You don’t always know these things right away. But it didn’t take long to discover that she wasn’t that clever. It was frustrating. I tried to deny it to myself for a long time. But she was just stupid at times. She was irrational. And sometimes she’d be inattentive. She apparently didn’t have much interest in the things I wanted to do. I would suggest something to do and she would just look at me as if “I” was the one who had said something stupid.

She would get quiet, or scared, or something, and just disappear … for days. Sometimes we’d be in the middle of something and she’d just walk off. And then later she’d act like nothing was wrong. As if she hadn’t done anything strange or irrational. So confusing. So frustrating.

It still is.

I’m looking at her right now. She’s in my backyard, chewing on lord knows what.

When I rescued her from the animal shelter, she was on death row. The next day she was to be “put down” as they say. I’d gone there looking for a companion because I was terribly lonely … and a little fragile. It was 2003 and the United States had just invaded Iraq. My son, Matthew, a Corporal in the Marine Corps, was at the “tip of the spear.” Marines were making a lightening dash invasion of Iraq, racing from Kuwait to Baghdad to remove Saddam Hussein from power. They were moving quickly. High speed, low drag. High risk and extremely dangerous.

You may recall those days when the war was on television all day and all night. Embedded reporters were giving us an almost real time reporting of the war. So I had gone to the pawnshop and bought extra TVs for every room of my house. Every single room. I was looking at the flickering images into the wee hours of the night, hoping for even the briefest glimpse of my son. Every waking hour that I wasn’t teaching a boot camp class, I was in front of a television. I was getting about 3 hours of sleep a night. I ate all of my meals at home in front of the TV. I had no social life.

Just 2 months earlier I’d taken Matthew to the airport. I stood in the security line with him and tried to distill all of the advice I could think of into that brief space of time as we waited in line. I spoke as one Marine to another; a father to a son. I was deeply and acutely aware of the fact that this might be the last conversation I would ever have with him; the last moments of his life that we would spend together.

What do you say at a time like that?

Matthew was a Marine Non-Commissioned Officer, well trained and experienced, with excellent commanders. I’d met his Commanding Officer during a visit to his base a year earlier and was impressed with him. He and I hit it off from the start. I liked him a lot. He was a cross between Denzel Washington and Jamie Foxx, intense but quick witted and funny. I had complete confidence in him.

Even still, as Matthew and I stood in line at the airport, I felt like I needed to tell him things that he’d been taught since he’d joined the Corps. Things that I knew that he knew, but the father in me said that I needed to tell him too. I wouldn’t be comfortable unless Matthew heard those same things coming from me. He was patient and let me talk, assuring me that he’d do exactly what I said.

But nothing had prepared me for that talk with my son. He wasn’t going off to college. He wasn’t going off to summer camp. He wasn’t taking a trip with friends to Florida for spring break. My boy was going off to war. Hard men, ruthless, barbaric men with weapons were waiting to kill him on the other side of the world. What do you say?

And then our time was up.

Matthew cleared airport security and I stood there behind the velvet rope watching. I was trying to be strong and stoic. He reached down and picked up his gear, threw one bag over his shoulder and picked up the other one. He steadied himself under the weight of his gear … took a few steps toward the direction of his gate and then turned back as he walked away, looked at me … smiled and gave me a nod. I smiled, and waved, and nodded back.

I stood there and watched him until he disappeared, lost in the crowd of people.

And then he was gone.

My boy was gone from my sight and from my ability to protect him. I had raised him. I’d protected him and consoled him his whole life. And now he was gone and that might be the last time I would ever see him alive. And that realization was absolutely overwhelming. It made me weak in my knees.

I had to sit down on one of those plastic chairs in the airport. And then I lost it. He was only 22 years old.

Today, former Staff Sergeant, now Captain select, Matthew Ludlow, is back home in North Carolina, alive and well after many deployments – the most recent one ending just this past December.

And in my backyard is that stupid dog I rescued from the pound in March 2003. Her name is Aki (ahh-key), it’s Japanese for autumn. She doesn’t fetch. She doesn’t care if you throw the Frisbee across the yard. She’s not interested in learning anything either. And she’s a terrible watchdog.

And no matter how many times Aki makes me crazy, no matter how many times she runs off because she’s heard it thunder, I will always love her. She sat next to me in the middle of the night while I looked for signs on television that my boy was okay, that he was alive. I watched the war late into the night and Aki sat right next to me. She never left my side. As if she knew that my life depended on what I saw on those TVs.

I always said that I rescued her … but really, she rescued me. Happy 10 year anniversary, Aki! Thank you for being my dog!

— 30 —


“A nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors, will have its laws made by cowards and its wars fought by fools.” ~ Thucydides



For you NCAA Bracket keepers, let me invite you to join our group “Tony Ludlow’s Group” on (

Fill out your bracket and join the group!

If you’d like to take part in the pool (not necessary to participate in the group), it’s $10 per person. Pool entry fee is due to me prior to tip off of the first game on Thursday! Winner of the pool is the person with the most points in our group who joined the pool! Good luck everyone!




Corporal Ashley Hofeditz, RD LDN, talked about the ten common food and nutrition mistakes. Today we cover number 6.

#6. Avoiding all foods made with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

Foods made with HFCS get a really bad rap. But HFCS along with all other added sugars, including “natural” sugars such as honey, agave syrup, and the like, all should have a very small part in our daily diet.

So the focus should be on reducing the total amount of added sugars in our diet that are found in many processed foods and beverages.

Consuming too much sugar contributes to obesity which leads to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Aim to eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, and low fat dairy.

Thank you, Ashley!


Today’s new friend is tomorrow’s family.



The evening class has returned to the 5:45pm start time for Monday – Thursday, and 5:30pm on Friday.



Currently we have over 2400 “Likes” on Facebook and over 6,000 check ins!!!!! That’s amazing! Encourage your friends and family to “Like” the page! It would be awesome to have 2500 likes by the end of next month!

Keep on checking in! Keep on tagging your friends!
Thanks, everyone!




We’ll meet at 7:00am on Sunday, March 24, in front of the Visitor’s Center at Shelby Farms. We’ll be going 1hr 30min.



If you’d like to challenge the 7-minute mile, we’ll do that next Tuesday, 26 March at 5:15am at the U of M, weather permitting. Let me know if you’d like to challenge the mile. We’ll only meet IF there is a new challenger.


DID YOU START USMC FITNESS BOOT CAMP LAST FEBRUARY OR MARCH 2012? Let me know, ASAP!! I want to get your rank t-shirt made ASAP!



Anytime the “Feels like” temperature on The Weather Channel – I’ll be using the TWC app for iPhone — drops to 30 or below, we’ll go inside. The 0530 and 0645 classes use the “blue gym” on those days. During basketball season, the evening class will use the exercise room off the main gym.

If the Memphis City Schools close for ice or snow, we will also stand down. If they start, but then dismiss classes early, the evening class will stand down.



What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.

How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.

It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!






Members of the Sub-7 Club are Boot Campers who’ve run the mile in under 7 minutes under my observation and timing.

Congratulations to the following members of the Sub Seven Club:

Lance Corporal Lee Chase,
Lance Corporal Chris McLelland,
Staff Sergeant Patrick Moore,
Staff Sergeant Rob Johnston,
Staff Sergeant Andrew Stolnicki,
Gunnery Sergeant Bart Thomas,
Staff Sergeant Dory Sellers,
Gunnery Sergeant Henry Kenworthy,
Master Sergeant John Winford,
First Sergeant Matt Green,
And Sergeant Major Andrew Forsdick.



Your rank insignia t-shirts look AWESOME on you! (Don’t forget to wear yours EVERY WEDNESDAY AND/OR THURSDAY, T-SHIRT DAY!

And please go to

And enter your boot camp anniversary date. If that information is already there and correct, you’re good to go.

Every Wednesday is our Official BOOT CAMP T-SHIRT DAY! You can wear your rank insignia shirt anytime you‘d like, of course, but always every Wednesday!

The Rank Structure of the Quarterdeck:

Under 6 months is a Private
Six months to 1 year is a Private First Class.

Over 1 year is a Lance Corporal
– Rachel Phillips 2/2012
– Amber Jackson 4/2011
– Sherri Thompson 4/2011
– Carrie Schule 5/2011
– Mary Bauer 6/2011
– Randal Rhea 4/2011
– Cindy King 4/2011
– Bevan Lee 5/2011
– Melissa Thompson 5/2011
– Wayne Henderson 1/2011 *
– Michelle Moss 5/2011
– Lee Chase 7/2011
– JD Dombroski 8/2011
– Lindsey Stanfill 9/2011
– ShaWanda Upshaw 10/2011
– Tara Ingram 11/2011
– Pam Torres – meritoriously promoted 12/2012
– Tait Keller 12/2012
– Kitty Keller 12/2012

Over 2 years is a Corporal
– Robin Scott 3/2011
– Chris McLelland 3/2011
– Courtney Phillips 2/2011
– Emily Melonas 6/2010
– Beth Mills 5/2010
– Ashley Hofeditz 4/2010
– Anne Marie Wyatt 4/2010
– Jenni Harris 8/2010
– Tim Romanow 8/2010
– Ashley McClure 8/2010
– Wendy Shea 4/2008*
– Jeremy Harris 1/2009*
– Falana Scott 7/2010
– Paul Bauer 11/2010

Over 3 years is a Sergeant
– Cecelia DeLacy 2/2010
– Teresa Faulk 6/2009
– Meg Cannon 3/2009
– Cameron Mosley 11/2009
– Karen Massey 11/2009
– Paul Tronsor 3/2009
– Jonathan Phillips 10/2008
– Sarah Vickers 8/2009
– Shena Clemons 10/2008
– Robert Hunt 8/2009
– Albo Carruthers 8/2008
– Kim Wamble 8/2008*
– Scott Plunkett 10/2008

Over 4 years is a Staff Sergeant
– Jessie Flanders 1/2009
– Andrew Stolnicki 1/2009
– Ben Killerlain 1/2009
– Buddy Daves 5/2008
– Dory Sellers 6/2006*
– Patrick Moore 9/2008
– Anne Kenworthy 8/2008
– Alan Schaeffer 4/2008
– Rob Johnston 4/2008
– Patty Dougherty 3/2008
– Oscar Adams 3/2008

Over 5 years is a Gunnery Sergeant
– Mike Ryan 5/2006*
– Leslie Garey 6/2007
– Henry Kenworthy 5/2007
– Michelle Dunn 3/2007
– Frank Jemison /2007
– Bart Thomas /2007
– Matt Prince /2007
– Beth Rehrig 7/2007
– George Rose /2007

Over 6 years is a Master Sergeant
– Anne Mead 2/2005*
– Kay Ryan 10/2006
– Megan Warr 8/2006
– Leesa Jensen 5/2006
– Rob Norcross 8/2006
– Mike Barta 6/2005*
– Anne Emmerth 6/2005*
– Jeff Lee 1/2006
– Ralph Braden 9/2006

Over 7 years is a First Sergeant
– John Winford 2/2006
– Kay Shelton 1/2006
– Louis Glazer 3/2005
– Matt Green 5/2005
– Gary Thompson 10/2005
– Scot Bearup 10/2005

Over 8 years is a Sergeant Major
– Melissa Moore 2/2005
– Hank Brown 3/2004
– Teri Trotter 4/2004
– Andrew Forsdick 9/2004

Over 9 years is a Warrant Officer 1
– David Townsend 1/2004
– Peter Pettit 5/2003
– Buddy Flinn 7/2003
– Amy Singer 9/2003

Over 10 years is a Chief Warrant Officer 2
– Pat McGhee 1/2003
– John Whittemore 1/2003

Battalion Executive Officer
Major Richard Bourland

* broken time



We should be!


You should totally do that!



If you set up an automatic payment at your bank (Boot Camp mailing address is 4888 Southern, Memphis 38117) you can subtract $10 off your fee! That’s right, instead of $75, you can pay $65!

(This is not an automatic bank draft that I set up with a voided check. This an automatic payment that you yourself set up.)



0530 Monday through Friday
(First and second Tuesday of the month are M-16 Workouts at CUMC. Third and fourth Tuesdays are Mt. Fuji Workouts at the U of M)

0645 M-F

5:30 PM: Monday through Thursday, 5:30 on Friday.



First of all, find me on Facebook and make me your friend. (Also, be sure to “like” USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP on Facebook.)

Here’s how the discount works!

It’s simple: make a Facebook status update and get a discount!

For every status update that you make that references:
“USMC Fitness Boot Camp,”
“Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,”
“Tony’s Boot Camp,”
or something similar, (there are fake boot camps out there) you can take $2.50 off your next reenlistment fee for each update!

You can take up to $20 off for any given month!

Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP or to me specifically by name.


You can do the same thing by “checking in” at USMC Fitness Boot Camp either by using Facebook “places,” Foursquare, or any of the other “check in” apps that show up on your Facebook News Feed.

So log on and start getting your discounts now!



Remember that when one of your family or friends joins the program at full price because of your recruiting efforts, YOU get a free month of Boot Camp!



A calendar has been added to the official USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website.

For you visual learners, you’ll find this an easy way to glance at the week or month and see where the workouts will be, if there’s a venue change.


Q. How can I get up in the morning on a consistent basis?
A. Contrary to what many think, I am NOT a morning person. I have to be “dynamited” out of the bed! Here are some tips to help you get going in the morning:
1. Use two alarm clocks. I have a snooze alarm that starts going off several minutes before I intend to get up. Then I have a “Last Call” alarm clock that is located across the room. This alarm clock is set to go off when I MUST get up.
2. Once the last call alarm goes off, the bed become OFF LIMITS! Get moving!
3. Get out of bed, turn off the alarm clock, and start turning on lights all through the house. Turn on the TV.
4. Lay out your clothes the night before. Don’t go wandering around the house in the morning trying to find your left shoe and your favorite shorts. So, have things ready the night before.

What would you do if money was not an issue, fear was not a factor, and failure was not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

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