Conquering The Platform-Christopher Young

Conquering The Platform is proud to present the story of veteran Christoper Young. West Point graduate and responsible for bringing sons and daughters home from multiple deployments.   Be sure and check out his custom shirt design “Duty, Honor, Country” available for a limited time.  We’ll let Chris tell it in his own words...

My life would have been so different if I hadn’t found my focus at age 18. Like many, I was a wild teenager with no plans beyond the next weekend party. But once I graduated La Serna High School in California I simultaneously found the love of my life and enlisted in the Army. I had now found my focus. I did well enough as a Soldier to earn a spot to attend the West Point Prep School in New Jersey right before our Country was attacked on 9/11. Being a prior enlisted medic I went and worked at Ground Zero in NYC with my fellow soldiers and will never forget the feeling of patriotism I felt seeing everyone working together after such a horrific event. My focus was clear now: I needed to work to be the best leader I could be. I felt honored to be a cadet at West Point and took the motto “Duty, Honor, Country” to heart. I found strength in Athena’s helmet as I stared at the crest on my plate as a plebe, and committed myself to being the best cadet I could be. I focused in the classroom, on the rugby pitch, in the weight room, and with my long-distance relationship with my fiancé. I buckled down at West Point and did the absolute best I could in everything I attempted. I commissioned as an Infantry Officer and received my diploma from President Bush with 16 of my family members in attendance who had flew in from California. I was never more proud than I was that day.
As an Army Officer I have been privileged to lead America’s sons and daughters through the best (and worst) of times. My first deployment I spent 14 months in Sadr City, Iraq. As a Platoon Leader I was responsible for planning missions and making decisions to keep my 42 man Platoon alive, which I accomplished. I believe a big part of that had to do with the focused weight training we performed as a group after each patrol. We would spend hours in our make-shift gym at our Combat Outpost working to improve our physical strength and endurance. It was then that I fell in love with the heavy weights and programming of Powerlifting. Holding an undergraduate degree in Systems Engineering and a Masters degree in Business I was enamored with the “numbers” aspect and the constant improvement of “just 5 pounds more per week” and the different strategies I could use to build more strength. During my Company Command time in the 82nd Airborne Division I held Powerlifting meets to show my Paratroopers that you needed to be strong, not just a good runner, to reach your full potential as a Soldier. During each of my Airborne jumps as a Jumpmaster I was never nervous, though I was over 250 pounds, because I knew Powerlifting had made my legs so strong that I wasn’t going to get hurt when I landed. This confidence radiated from me in every task I was given. At Ranger School I thrived because I had already pushed myself so many times in the weight room that I knew I would never quit and was going to get my tab no matter what. My focus never wavered. Remembering my West Point 2006 class motto: Never Falter, Never Quit!
After Command I took a position as an assistant professor of military science at an ROTC Program in Los Angeles. It was then that I finally worked up the courage to compete in my first USPA Powerlifting meet in Anaheim in 2016. I was blown away by how strong everyone was! I only totaled 1,200 pounds but was hooked on competing and improving. The camaraderie that was extended to me was like a family and I knew I found a sport that I could compete in for the rest of my life and be proud of. From my first meet to now, I have competed in nine meets and have improved my total to 1,504 pounds, have competed at Nationals, and hold weight/age state records in Georgia where I am currently stationed. My wife Andrea and our four kids support my hobby (obsession) and spend time with me daily in my garage gym, always motivating me to improve. My kids think I’m the strongest man in the world, and I’m going to try to live up to that for as long as I can. Though my kids are young they show an interest in Powerlifting and I can’t wait for the day when I can share my knowledge with them and coach them to state/national/world records from the training we conduct at our family garage gym.
It’s amazing what focus can do for a person. It can grow a wild teenager to be a devoted family man, it can take a young enlisted Soldier to follow his dreams to be an Airborne Ranger Infantry Officer with a degree from West Point, and most importantly focus can guide my decisions in over 31 months of combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan to bring each and every one of my Soldiers home alive. I will always be proud of that.