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Maj. Gen. Joseph Caravalho, Jr., commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, addresses the audience at the 3rd International Congress on Soldiers' Physical Performance. The week-long meeting brings together military and... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

The 3rd International Congress on Soldiers' Physical Performance, hosted by the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, welcomed attendees to the Westin Boston Waterfront in Boston, Massachusetts, on Monday, Aug. 18.

The four-day symposium will cover Soldier health performance research, including symposia and featured science sessions by both international partners and world renowned speakers.

The 3rd ICSPP is a continuation to the already successful 2005 and 2011 congress' held in cooperation with the Finnish Defence Forces. Adding value to the 2014 experience, this year's Planning and Advisory Committees will offer attendees the opportunity to participate in an interactive forum, featuring both a Warfighter Readiness Roundtable and a Think Tank, in an effort to establish an international consensus for research priorities.

Daily poster sessions showcasing original research will be available to participants in the Poster Pavilion and attendees will also have access to a Recruitment Center for the duration of the conference to explore multiple job opportunities, professional development, and research support.

At the evening opening ceremony, the 94th Army Reserve Regional Support Command Band played during the arrival of the official party. Members of the official party included: Maj. Gen. Joseph Caravalho, Jr., commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command; Mr. John Resta, director at the U.S. Army Public Health Command; Col. Thomas Eccles, commander of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine; Mr. Brad Nindl, science advisor at the USAPHC; and Ms. Marilyn Sharp, senior investigator of the Environmental Medicine and Military Performance Division at the USARIEM.

"I want to welcome you to the 3rd ICSPP," opened Eccles. "As the USARIEM commander I have the special privilege to welcome you to not only the congress, but also to my home."

Eccles went on to emphasize the American military history of the Boston area during his welcome address; keying in on the importance of Soldier readiness then and now.

"We realize just how important readiness is," said Eccles, and "we realize both morally and ethically how important every Soldier is. We want them to be at the top of their ability to perform and at the top of their potential. This [ICSPP] is an amazing effort, and I invite you all to make the most of this week of education, of conversation, and the exchange of ideas."

"The fact that you all [our International partners] are singularly focused on improving Soldier performance… that is the right message," said Caravalho, who followed Eccles at the podium. "By leading in this international forum, with experts from across the world, we hope to exchange the most current scientific information on Soldiers' physical performance in a way that facilitates action and progress. This conference's significance extends not only to the performance of all our Soldiers, but also to their primary performance enabler, and that is Soldier health."

Caravalho emphasized the importance of Soldier health; the ability of a Soldier to protect themselves from disease and injury, enabling them to perform at their highest capacity to contribute to the overall security of our Nation.

"Over the next four days, let us examine and exercise the unique capabilities we bring to this conference and ensure we take each other's ideas back home with us," concluded Caravalho.

The impressive 2014 3rd ICSPP opening ceremony went on to feature a physical readiness training demonstration, coordinated by Master Sgt. Jeffery Kane from the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School, as well as a drill team presentation by the Lynn English High School Marine JROTC Drill Team. Master of Ceremony Sergeant Daniel Clark, known also as "the Singing Trooper," closed out the opening ceremony with a performance of "God Bless America."