BAMC Leader’s ‘Barn Burn’ Workouts Foster Fitness, Engagement

LAST UPDATED: March 24, 2022
Author: Elaine Sanchez 

​(Army Medicine News/MHS Headlines)
​​JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – The sun has not risen yet at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, and the streets lined with stately officers’ quarters and ancient trees are peaceful and still -- with one exception. 

Back behind his 19th century home, Brig. Gen. Clinton Murray is cranking up a late 80s pop song from the dusty interior of a barn that serves as his gym. 

As the notes of The Proclaimer’s “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” fill the room, a handful of motivated teammates from Brooke Army Medical Center kick up clouds of dust as they count off jumping jacks and air squats. Leading the group and barely breaking a sweat is their “barn burn” leader, who is also the BAMC commanding general. As the song nears its end, Murray calls out encouragement to the group, “Just a few seconds more. Almost there!” As the last notes fade, the group collapses to their now-dirt-covered mats in relief, but not for long. Next up is Reel to Reel’s upbeat “I Like to Move It,” signaling the start of crunches and heel touches. Murray’s Thursday morning song-inspired barn burns, open to any BAMC team member who would like to join in, have become the stuff of legend since he kicked them off almost a year ago. He holds the sessions in a barn built in 1917, the year the U.S. entered World War I, and, coincidentally, a year prior to the influenza pandemic that wiped out about 50 million people around the world. History has been kind to the barn; it’s well-preserved but mostly unchanged, with dirt-covered floors and rough-hewn wooden beams. 

But, shielded from the rain and wind, Murray finds it a perfect location for a workout. Stories have circulated about the commander’s challenging workout, and there are whispers of a rumored few, such as Chaplain (Col.) Stanley Smith, who have made it all of the way through. “My wife and I do cross-fit, which is why I was able to complete the commander’s circuit,” explained Smith, BAMC’s command chaplain. “Not that it was easy! It’s an awesome event, not only because it’s a great workout, but primarily because our commanding general leads the way.” ​
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