By 2nd Lt. Michael Hefti
6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
FORT HOOD, Texas – Soldiers in an armored reconnaissance squadron of the 3rd "Greywolf" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division are taking a different approach to physical fitness.
These troopers in the 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment have found ways to incorporate combat drills and other combat-type training into their physical fitness routine. Each of these physical fitness events takes place at the section level.
"Conducting physical fitness at the section level allows us to begin key development of our junior leaders and develop them into better leaders for tomorrow," said Capt. Lance Blount, commander, Troop B, 6th Squadron, 9th Cav. Regt., "I commend the ability to have PT at the section level while implementing battle focused, challenging PT that prepares our Soldiers for the rigors of combat that our Soldiers will face."
"It (section physical training) also allows us to prepare for our future deployment by developing junior leaders to function independently within the commander's intent in the decentralized operating environment we will find ourselves," said Lt. Col. Guy B. Parmeter, commander, 6th Squadron, 9th Cav. Regt.
One of the training programs includes a three-foot log weighing 36 pounds and painted with the traditional red and white Cavalry colors. Soldiers run in Army combat uniforms and tennis shoes carrying the log from Clear Creek Road to Hood Road and back again for a total of four miles. This event is often referred to as the "coast to coast."
The log is not allowed to touch the ground and walking, although, authorized is highly discouraged, according to organizers of the events.
Soldiers have to complete the run unassisted and upon completion, a metal plate is screwed into the log with their name, date of completion and time. Three additional Soldiers run with the Soldier carrying the log for safety, evaluation, and encouragement.
Floodwood, Minn., native Staff Sgt. Charles Anderson, a section sergeant, in Troop B's 2nd Platoon, said that "section-level PT is just one of the things the 3rd Brigade Commander and squadron commander implemented that allows us to get a better workout and improve on our coaching, mentoring, and teaching."
Sgt. 1st Class Adin Salkanovic, a platoon sergeant in Troop B, who hails from Sarajevo, Bosnia, made the log and echoed many of Anderson's sentiments.
"It is an opportunity for Soldiers to conduct self assessment and demonstrate to their battle buddies that they will not quit in the face of hardship," said Salkanovic.
Other physical fitness training programs in which the squadron is participating include cross country runs in the Army combat uniform, runs in full-body armor, ruck marches, litter carries, combatives, man-to-man contact drills, vehicle push/pulls, and a host of other combat-related tasks guaranteed to give even Soldiers in the best physical shape a amazing workout, according to the squadron's physical fitness organizers.
When Mills, N.M., native Sgt. Chase Fluhman, a Troop B team leader, was asked what he thought of the PT program, he said, "Team and section-level PT allows us young NCOs (non-commissioned officers) to take charge of our sections, be creative, take initiative and see direct results of our Soldiers' hard work."