The Army implemented the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program to help equip its most valuable resource, its people, against the inherent stressors of a force at war.
By providing training and resources to Soldiers and Families, the intention is to provide preventive measures to build resilience within the ranks rather than simply reacting when problems occur.
One commander has personally taken the CSF2 mission to heart and strives to embed its principles within his battalion.
For the last 18 months, Lt. Col. Erik Berdy, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, has ensured his paratroopers have the chance to participate in his program.
“I took a bigger program and made it applicable at the battalion level,” Berdy said. “If you’re physically sound, mentally and emotionally sound, and if you have a spiritual base, your self assessment is a positive one.”
Over the last year, the White Falcon’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program has consisted of wellness briefs, resiliency training, and physical training guidance. The program places emphasis on developing healthy paratroopers by improving their overall well-being and enhancing their ability to handle life stressors at work or home. Paratroopers are also encouraged to get a fitness assessment at the Fort Bragg Wellness Center, where they are tested to determine their strength, flexibility, body composition and cardio-respiratory fitness.
Nestled amidst the many priorities of last week’s busy training schedule, the battalion’s train-the-trainer program took 25 paratroopers from the ranks of private to sergeant first class and equipped them with the ability to take the physical training of their warriors to the next level.
“One of the major reasons why we do this is to promote functional fitness,” said trainer 1st Lt. Peter Drance, a platoon leader from Company B. “Functional fitness is fitness for your life.”
He explained how the training provides PT leaders with a wider knowledge of how to build strong and durable paratroopers.
“The movements that we’re doing are directly applicable to the job that these Soldiers are going to be doing,” he said.
The attendees were divided into two groups. One focused on aerobic exercise and efficiency while running. The second group focused on functional fitness that included lessons on proper weightlifting techniques and gymnastics.
The idea is to have experts at the lowest levels of the organization to help guide and bring up the others.
“We want to be able to develop the Soldiers of our unit in a safe and efficient manner,” said 1st Lt. Alexander Deluca, a trainer and platoon leader from Company A. “They’re going to learn how to properly program these exercises into their PT programs.”
Deluca pointed out that the exercises they are teaching are proven effective and the results are evident when their paratroopers train in the field.
“If we want to take our unit and our Soldiers to the next level of physical development, we need to implement and utilize the tools we are given.”
Both trainers say they have seen proof that the program is working.
“In my platoon, we’ve definitely improved physically,” said Deluca.
“Looking around the battalion and within my own platoon, the Soldiers … definitely have a better understanding of these functional movements and apply them to PT and their lives in general,” said Drance.
He said this newest crop of trainees hasn’t been any different.
“They’ve been really receptive to what we’re teaching. We’ve definitely seen a lot of improvement and an increase in their knowledge.”