Sgt. 1st Class Augusto “Tito” Pineiro, 38, a combat engineer assigned to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division died early Monday morning while riding his bike training for a future Ironman event. Tito was a husband, father of three, and friend to many. He will be forever missed by those who were around them and the ones he made such a tremendous impact on.
I have only a weekend experience with "Tito the Titan" as I called him on the day we met. He was a formidable man that stood as tall as he seemed wide. The grin on his face was as wide as his chest with a slight slant. I remember this feature the most because when we were first introduced, some 30 hours earlier, by is Operation Enduring Warrior support group he was wearing this military grade gas mask. Tito was set out to do this seemingly impossible task of running 100 miles. He then set to do it while limiting the amount of oxygen he would receive by 50%. Tito had a cause and he was willing to push himself to the limits to show people that with the support of a team anything is possible. It was evident that Tito and the OEW team was in full force that day with relay members, 50 runners, 100 mile runners, crew support, and volunteers. They were a "unit" with a mission. These soldiers were not faint of heart and not wavering to the thunderous bolts of lightning that were setting off as the race did. Tito's mission was clear. Place the impossible in a submissive strangle hold.
The Knock on Wood race in 2018 will do to serve two things. It will honor a man who made the impossible, possible. And it will bring together his friends, family, and comrades for a weekend of challenges to conquer. It will also help raise money for the OEW mission and Tito's wife and children. I will be praying for this family and I hope everyone can keep them in their hearts as they go through these difficult times. If you would like to donate place follow this link HERE to the donate tab.
Here is an article about Tito's quest to break the world record for miles completed in a gas mask. He did this to honor and raise support for wounded, disabled, and fallen veterans of our U.S. Military Force.
He's been seen along Ga. 144 on Saturday mornings, determined and steady as he runs, oxygen intake dramatically reduced and heat building between the black plastic and his face. The black Special Operations gas mask doesn't leave his head until he gets to his unit's Fort Stewart compound — 18 miles later.
That's nothing compared to what the 3rd Infantry Division soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Augusto "Tito" Piñeiro, plans to do Friday. The 37-year-old aims to run for 100 miles straight in Greenville, South Carolina, while wearing the oxygen-restricting device. If Piñeiro succeeds, he will, by default, surpass the 41-mile world record for distance run in a gas mask.
"I'm not doing it to break the record," he said recently before donning the mask at Fort Stewart for a sweltering 3.2-mile lap. "I just want to run 100 miles with the mask on and say I did it."
It's partly a tribute to a friend, a Navy SEAL who was killed in action but whom he won't identify. The two pledged to one day run 100 miles together wearing gas masks.
And he's also doing it to raise awareness of Operation Enduring Warrior, a nonprofit that seeks to "empower and motivate" wounded veterans.
"After slogging through a rain-soaked start Friday night, Sgt. 1st Class Augusto "Tito" Piñeiro settled in for more than a day's worth of running in a gas mask, covering 100 miles to draw attention to the needs of wounded veterans.
And while the mask and the distance proved no match for the 37-year-old soldier, he wasn't exactly bright-eyed when his ordeal neared its end.
"I was falling asleep Sunday morning when I was running," Piñeiro said Tuesday in a phone interview with Army Times. "I had a buddy of mine who came down from Fort Bragg (North Carolina). He was literally holding my hand, running with me, waking me up when I was falling asleep."
Piñeiro stayed awake, hitting the century mark after 37.5 hours of running during the Knock on Wood 100 event in Greenville, South Carolina. The effort more than doubles the 41 miles covered by Marine veteran Aaron Benningfield while wearing a gas mask in 2015; Benningfield's mark is recognized as the world record by RecordSetter.com
Founded by veterans to offer support programs for wounded warriors, OEW's most visible ambassadors are members of the Masked Athlete Team, who assist wounded vets during obstacle courses, marathons and other competitions. Piñeiro has worked with the nonprofit since 2014 and like other MAT members uses a call sign instead of his name while under the mask, going by "Unbreakable."