FORT STEWART, Ga. - The instructors at 188th Infantry Brigade's annual safety stand-down emphasized the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program and provided concepts for healthy living.

The stand-down addressed the topics of nutrition, maintaining a healthy heart, tobacco cessation, personal vehicle safety, alcohol awareness and motorcycle safety.

"In order to have a great Army in 2025, we need to continue taking care of our Soldiers and ourselves," said Col. Robert A. Warburg, 188th Infantry Brigade commander. "Safeguarding the health of our Army is a mission critical task."

Capt. Jill Fowler-Hakes, chief of the Nutrition Care Department at Winn Army Hospital, outlined the basic tenets of a healthy diet and went over the food pyramid, which can be found at

"Optimal nutrition can enable troops to train and perform at maximal effectiveness," said Fowler-Hakes. She added that hydration is the most critical component overall for sports nutrition as an athlete.

Although the majority of the brigade does not use tobacco, Alonzo Harris, a licensed practical nurse from Occupational Health, spoke on the benefits of quitting any tobacco use.

"Quitting tobacco helps optimize the physical, emotional, social and family dimensions of strength," he said. According to a study at the University of California, Riverside, tobacco delays the formation of healing tissue and sets the stage for increased scarring.

Sgt. 1st Class Edward L. Dowdell, the 188th Infantry Brigade Safety Non-Commissioned Officer, instructed the brigade on driving safety for civilian vehicles. He emphasized that Soldiers and government employees are not allowed to text while driving or talk on cell phones without a hands-free device.

Dowdell also covered the dangers of speeding and driving while intoxicated.

"In the U.S. in 2009, an estimated 17,602 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes - an average of one every 30 minutes," said Dowdell.

Motorcycle safety training was provided by Sgt. 1st Class Isaac H. Swinson, the brigade's motorcycle safety officer.

"The helmet is the most important piece of protective equipment," said Swinson as he pointed out the safety features of several different motorcycle helmets. "Helmets are mandatory in Georgia, and for all military personnel who ride motorcycles, both on and off post." Swinson told the brigade, in reference to Soldiers riding motorcycles, that as a leader you should: be proactive, know all guidelines and policies, and do inspections and counseling.

188th Infantry Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph F. Mayfield also provided a personal account of how personal protective equipment can save your life if you are riding a motorcycle and are involved in an accident.

The 188th Infantry Brigade, along with the other training support brigades in First Army Division East, provides and facilitates theater-focused training for deploying National Guard and Reserve formations. Based out of Fort Stewart, the 188th has been training deploying National Guard and Reserve units for Iraq deployments continuously since 2003.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16