Answering the call of duty


SSG Derek Cutting, right, poses with, from left, SPC Brandon Salas, SPC Antonio Borja, and SPC Christopher Paulino of Guam at the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Puerto Rico after completing their relief work on Saipan last Monday. (Contributed Photo)

For bodybuilder Derek Cutting, competitions could wait, but not the CNMI people who are in dire need of help after Super Typhoon Yutu slammed Saipan and Tinian late last month.

Cutting missed the prestigious Shawn Ray’s Hawaiian Classic held in Honolulu last Nov. 10 as he stayed back on Saipan to help in the relief efforts here.

“My family and I were supposed to leave for Honolulu last Nov. 6 for my competition on Nov. 10. I am a bit disappointed that we had to cancel our family trip, but I am more than happy and honored to be side by side with my brothers and sisters in the armed forces, helping to rebuild and get Saipan and the CNMI back on track,” the staff sergeant with the Army Reserve said.

Cutting received his call of duty a week before he completed his 46-week preparation for the event sanctioned by the National Physique Committee—the largest amateur bodybuilding organization in the United States.

“I planned a 46-week prep and started my intense training on Jan. 5 At 45 weeks, I received my orders to cover down and set up our medical aid station,” the founder and owner of Latte Built 24-Hour Fitness and Nutrition Center said.

“My first sergeant called me up and told me they were planning on sending over 300 Army soldiers from our 9th MSC Battalion and needed me to design the medical plan of action as well as organize a team of lower enlisted certified medics. So, here we are now two weeks into the operation and we’ve designed a joint operations team of Airforce, Navy, and Army ER doctors, paramedics, and combat medics,” Cutting said.

The Army Reserve soldier added that when Yutu hit Saipan, his training regimen suffered.

“When the storm hit a few weeks ago it already had upset my intense daily training regimen. I missed four straight days of lifting and cardio, not to mention all my chicken, beef, and eggs got spoiled within two days. I could already see my conditioning slipping and knew my chances for placing in such a large competition were impossible at that time,” said Cutting, who has been serving the country for 18 years with four combat tours in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After passing up on the tournament in Honolulu, Cutting will shop for other competitions next year.

“After I end these orders, I will be looking for another NPC sanctioned show either in Asia or maybe in Hawaii again,” Cutting said.

Meanwhile, Joint Region Marianas spokesman Brad Ruszala lauded Cutting and his fellow servicemen for stepping up to the plate.

“He trained about a year for this competition, but fate had other plans. Instead of representing the Marianas on stage, he’s spent the past two and a half weeks representing our nation’s military when we need him and his fellow service members the most. NPC Shawn Ray’s Hawaiian Classic might not have been in the cards this year, but your community is grateful for your personal sacrifice. Thank you for putting the CNMI ahead of yourself,” Ruszala said.

Cutting thanked Ruszala for the good words, but reiterated that credit should go to all those providing help to the community.

“Just because I wear this uniform I (we) are not the only ones rebuilding our island. I see amazing acts of kindness and unselfish actions every day from many civilians within our community. They are the heroes, they are the ones that do the right thing when no one is watching and know they will most likely not get recognized for their acts of valor,” Cutting said.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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