CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Ninety-four pounds and two promotions in nine-months, Spc. Dean Johnson of the 113th Sustainment Brigade's S3 section and a resident of Siler City, N.C.

"He has been an inspiration to his fellow Soldiers and a true steel warrior," said Johnson's supervisor Sgt. Talisha Moore.

Johnson, on his first overseas deployment, weighed almost 300 pounds before the 113th mobilized November 2011.

"I simply was a very lazy kid," says Johnson. "I wasn't disciplined and neglected physical fitness. I had bad eating habits too and put on the pounds easily."

When the unit mobilized for federal service and deployed to Fort Hood, Texas, Johnson decided enough was enough and chose to get in shape and lose weight.

Johnson has been in the North Carolina National Guard for four and a half years. His primary occupational specialty is as a chemical operations specialist (74D) and is currently working as an operations center specialist in the brigade's steel operations center.

Many non-commissioned officers and officers in the unit helped Johnson through exercise and nutrition instruction, motivation, discipline and mentorship.

Sgt. Jason Jester, 113th SB fuel operations non-commissioned officer said about Johnson, "I gave him some tips about nutrition and exercise and he took that and ran with it." Jester also said, "Of all the people I trained with over the last 20 years, I have never seen anyone make the improvements in the amount of time that Spc. Johnson has. I am so proud of all his hard work and to call him a friend."

First Lt. Crystal Lykins also mentored and assisted Johnson through his transformation.

"Spc. Johnson met with me multiple times for information on how to safely and effectively lose weight. He has worked really hard and stayed dedicated to his exercise and nutrition program. In my 15 year career as a personal trainer and fitness instructor, I have never seen someone be so focused and dedicated to a set nutrition and workout plan."

She proudly stated, "Spc. Johnson has transformed his physical and mental outlook. He is a great role model and inspiration for others who want to lose weight and get back in shape."

"In the beginning, I really needed to be pushed hard to discipline myself and learn how to properly exercise and lose weight," stated Johnson. "I owe a lot of thanks to my mentors and workout partners over the past nine months who showed me the way, and now I am mostly on my own."

Johnson's primary mentors and major influences during his transformation from an overweight, out of shape soldier, to a fit, healthy one were fellow 113th soldiers: Sgt. Jason Jester, Sgt Maj. William Stoddart, Staff Sgt. Abdelaziz Ellis and 1st Lt. Crystal Lykins.

"I believe the key to success in everything you do is desire and discipline," said Johnson. "Without it I would still be a PT and weight failure."

Johnson has improved his PT score by 120 points since he began his transformation in November 2011.

Johnson was promoted to the rank of specialist July 30. His next goal is to lose another 15-20 pounds and get higher scores on his Army physical fitness test.

Page last updated Thu September 6th, 2012 at 00:00