2-15 FA Soldiers excited about new fitness facility
February 7, 2013
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- From that first push-up and sit-up in basic training, Soldiers are expected to maintain a level of physical fitness throughout their careers that will help them perform their military duty during combat. Fitness facilities and exercise equipment is made available on all military installations and improves over time.
Nestled in the motor pool area of 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, is a free-standing building called a Combat Readiness Training Facility. These new facilities are popping up all over Fort Drum, including Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, to give Soldiers more opportunities to maintain physical fitness and introduce them to the cross-fit program.
Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Heingarten, facility manager for the 2-15 FA CRTF, has participated in a lot of PT throughout his 20 years in the military, and he knows a good program when he sees one.
"To have a facility like this at a battalion, I think this is awesome. Throughout the years the military has really improved on offering Soldiers, sailors and Marines the opportunity to stay fit across the board," he commented. "The military has really improved in that aspect, so I like what they have offered here for the Soldiers (who) are part of this battalion."
The building houses state-of-the-art equipment. Along one wall are the Curve treadmills, Versa Climbers, Jacobs Ladders and rowers. The opposite wall has several free weight stations and pull-up bars. Down the center is an open area where Soldiers can exercise with medicine balls of varying weights, jump rope, perform push-ups and abdominal exercises, and improve their balance and agility.
First Sgt. Rolando Soto, command sergeant major for 2-15 FA Rear, said he is excited about the new CRTF and he knows what a value it is to the battalion leadership.
"The amazing part of this facility is that it affords the commander the ability to train (his Soldiers) in all weather, regardless of what the outside temperature is, and it has a vast variety of different cross-fit apparatuses," he said.
Soto will send his leaders to the Mountain Athlete Warrior Course here on Fort Drum, which trains unit leaders how to plan effective physical fitness training programs for their Soldiers.
"We still have to get our leaders trained in the different types of equipment and different cross-fit type of exercises, but it (the CRTF) gives them the tools in order to open up their physical fitness program from the more traditional narrow scope, to the more conventional civilian-type exercises," he added.
With the addition of the facility in the battalion's area, 1st Lt. Gerald Popko, commander of B Battery, 2-15 FA Rear, already has seen a positive effect on his Soldiers.
"I think it is excellent; you can see how much, already, it encourages Soldiers to come down here and work out when they have a facility for their own battalion," Popko explained. "They feel like it is for them specifically. The brand-new equipment is a huge morale booster."
Popko knows that as more Soldiers use the facility, they will learn about the different types of equipment and the variety of exercises that will improve their overall physical fitness.
"It will open their eyes to other areas of physical fitness and other exercises. When they see other people doing them, it will encourage them and educate them to all the varieties of fitness that they can do for themselves," he said.
Soldiers and leaders are having a great time getting used to the facility and the unusual equipment.
"The Curve is a terror. It's really confusing. You are expected to run a certain pace, but you break a sweat really fast on it," said Sgt. Marco Pena, a mechanic from G Company, 210th Brigade Support Battalion Rear, which is attached to 2-15 FA Rear. "And do not underestimate the Jacobs Ladder. It is a mean one."
Pfc. Michael Rich, a generator mechanic assigned to G Company, 210th BSB Rear, with just over a year in the Army already knows the importance of a good workout. He said he likes this smaller facility over the larger ones because he is able to move from one piece of equipment to another piece quicker to maximize his morning PT time.
"I love it. We've got all this equipment and good music. The equipment is all brand-new, and I like it a lot better than going to (the larger gyms)," Rich said. "Here, they made it so once I am done with one muscle group, I can blast on into another one with no long cool down in between."
The 10th Mountain "Fit for Duty, Fit for Life, Fit for the Climb" philosophy will be passed down to future leaders.
"For us as leadership, it gives us the opportunity to have a facility where we can teach our younger Soldiers and mentor them," Popko concluded.