[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                         June 13, 2008
Health

88th RSC offers help to Soldiers 
having PT problems

Story and Photos By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

      Soldiers who don't meet the Army's height and weight requirements or can't pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) are being helped through a pilot program held at Fort McCoy called Operation Fit Warrior.

Photo: Soldiers participating in an Operation Fit Warrior class conduct physical training in a combatives class. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Soldiers participating in an Operation Fit Warrior class conduct physical training in a combatives class.

      Sgt. 1st Class Richard Kolk said the 12-day pilot program is being offered in several rotations throughout June to Army Reserve Soldiers in the seven-state region of the 88th Regional Support Command. Kolk is the noncommissioned-officer-in-charge of Operation Fit Warrior.

      "We put the program together to help Soldiers with their life skills," Kolk said. "The Soldiers get daily physical training and nutrition counseling."

      Capt. Paul Hoiland, the Operation Fit Warrior officer-in-charge, said it's important Soldiers be able to pass the APFT and meet height and weight standards because these are required to be eligible for noncommissioned officer education system (NCOES) training. If troop unit Soldiers can't meet the requirements to attend NCOES training, they may be denied promotions and find their careers are affected, Hoiland said.

      Because personal preferences in food and exercise vary from Soldier to Soldier, Kolk said the Operation Fit Warrior course offers individual nutrition counseling and a variety of fitness options. Participants learn how to interpret their cholesterol levels, read food labels, and understand good nutrition. Kolk said the program has managed to secure the services of a dietitian for each of the two-week classes.

Photo: Capt. Beth Deschamps, a dietitian from Fort Riley, Kan., talks about nutrition during Operation Fit Warrior training. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Capt. Beth Deschamps, a dietitian from Fort Riley, Kan., talks about nutrition during Operation Fit Warrior training.

      "They say it takes about 21 days to establish new eating habits, and we have them for about 12 days," Kolk said. "We start them off by getting rid of the junk food and get them started with good nutrition."

      Students get information to take back to their home units, Kolk said. The program follows up via e-mail to see how the students are doing. The physical training portion of the program is broken into two parts. Kolk said the components of the APFT are taught during a morning session.

      "We can shave about one minute off their one-mile time and add about four to six push ups and sit ups during this class," he said. "We also can give them tips about how to take the tests better."

      The afternoon physical fitness training session focuses on basic combative training. Members of Regional Training Center-North (RTC-North) assist in presenting the class.

      Sgt. Todd Raymond of RTC-North said that Kolk had helped the unit acquire equipment needed for its training so they decided to help instruct the Soldiers in combatives training.

      "We train them on the certified level one," Raymond said. "It teaches them how to fight in combat, and also is a great workout."

      The great thing about combatives is that it doesn't necessarily depend on someone's size or gender to be successful, Raymond said. Everyone can do it.

      Spc. Jeff Mueller of the 377th Military Police Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, said he took the course to help build up his strength.

      "I had this training (early in my career as an Army Reserve Soldier), but only occasionally since then and nothing as in-depth as this was," Mueller said.

      For more information about the course, Army Reserve Soldiers can contact Kolk at (612) 919-6490 or e-mail him at richard.kolk@usar.army.mil.

 

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