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Home : News : News
NEWS | April 4, 2017

Army Medicine Soldier is an American Ninja Warrior

By Jose Rodriguez Army Medical Department Center & School Public Affairs

Imagine walking ten miles in the heat, with no water, while carrying half your body weight in fish. No, this is not a grueling new lane at an Army competition; this is what Capt. Rommel Camangeg did when he was six years old to help support his family while growing up in the Philippines.

Hard work and a sense of duty were installed in him from childhood and that ethos drove Camangeg to seek out new opportunities in life. His latest is competing in the American Ninja Warrior competition.

Assigned to Headquarters and Support Company, U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Camangeg competed at the 2017 American Ninja Warrior regional qualifier held at the county courthouse in San Antonio.

For this season, more than 75,000 people applied to be on the show nationwide. The competition for the regional qualifier is fierce with only 100 selected. The finals happen in Las Vegas June 19-24. The top 15 competitors from each city move onto Vegas, where they face a course modeled after the Mt. Midoriyama course in Japan. The winner will take home $1 million.

Like many children in his home country, Camangeg always helped to support his family. Along with selling fish, he worked on his family’s farm and did other odd jobs. Half of what he earned he gave to his family and the rest he saved for his future. Life was tough, his parents away of the Philippines to earn money for the family, leaving young Camangeg to grow up with his grandparents.

Camangeg’s challenging childhood makes him appreciate everything he has earned while serving in the Army.

After finishing school, he moved to Guam where he worked to become a US citizen. Camangeg first served as a military policeman before he was commissioned as an officer. He remembers clearly the stark differences he saw in Army life compared to his childhood.

“The first time I walked into the dormitory and dining facility I thought to myself ‘wow, this is fantastic,’” Camangeg said. “I grew up sleeping on a wooden floor, sometimes with snakes.”

It was while working out in the gym that Camangeg first had the idea to compete in American Ninja Warrior. The television show is entering its ninth season, originally airing on the G4 television channel, then later on NBC. Participants compete in a series of increasingly difficult obstacles courses that test their agility, speed, strength and mental stamina.

Camangeg has always kept himself in top physical condition.

“Preparing for this competition is hard work and I put in many hours, and it’s fantastic,” Camangeg said. “Even the process of getting considered for American Ninja is demanding, I submitted a twenty page application describing my life along with a video of my work out.”

More than 70,000 people apply with just 100 selected to compete in the first round, so just making that first cut is a major accomplishment. No doubt, Camangeg’s top physical shape was a major reason for his selection, but it was also his inspiring story that helped him stand out.

At the regional qualifier, Camangeg completed nine out of the 10 courses.

“I was so tired I couldn’t feel my arms and went through the end of the course on muscle memory,” Camangeg said. “To get through it I recalled the struggles of my childhood and that gave me the strength to finish.”

Although he was not selected for the next round in Las Vegas, true to his nature, Camangeg is already thinking about 2018.

“The producers asked me to send in another video next year, so I’m beginning to train.”

Camangeg’s segment on American Ninja Warrior on NBC and the Esquire Network is scheduled to air June 12.