by Carrie Adams

Joe Crupi called me from Iraq today (Memorial Day) for a Death Race Profile Interview. About thirty minutes into our call he asked me calmly, “Can you hold on a second?”  When he returned a few seconds later he said,  “We are taking rounds right now, I gotta go.”  It cut our interview short and served as a reminder that even as we remember those who have fallen there are still so many in harm’s way today.

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Joe Crupi

Stationed in Iraq on a military base working as a civilian contractor Crupi, 28, spent his first two years as an intelligence analyst and ever since July 2010 he has been a trainer for the military in a role entitled, embedded mentor. He train analysts on how to use different computer systems to do their work.

Crupi is no stranger to being overseas.  He spent six years in the Navy and completed a tour in Bosnia in 2005 and another in Afghanistan in 2006.  He left for boot camp in September 2001.  Two weeks after 9/11.  He was at the point where he had graduated and  was looking at doing the military reserves and going to college simultaneously.  He signed up in August before September 11th and was planning on leaving February 14th so he could stay until his birthday.  After September 11th he made a call requesting to leave earlier for boot camp.   He was originally denied.  But unexpectedly he received a return phone call on a Tuesday informing him that he could go sooner but it would be that Friday.  He agreed.

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by Beth Connolly

[Editor's note: This piece is part of our Spartan Military Profile series, in which we tell the stories of Spartans who serve their country.  Check out the first post in the series here.]

Nick and friends on race day (Nick is 2nd from left)

If any first-time racer could run an eight mile Super Spartan course, break his ankle twenty feet from the finish line, and still cross it in relatively good humor, it would have to be Nick Nakamura, 31.  Whether it’s the L.A. County native’s laid back California mentality or his military training after nine and a half years in the Navy is anyone’s guess.  All I know is that during our phone interview, when I asked him to tell me how he broke his ankle, he cracked up and said, “It was pretty funny…I think it was funny, anyways.”

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