By Robert Dozier, U.S. Army Installation Management CommandSeptember 11, 2017
FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS (Sept. 10, 2017) - - The Army announced the five teams competing for the first BOSS Strong Championship, to introduce the future Soldier functional fitness concept. Soldier teams from each of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command's directorates arrived at Fort Sam Houston Theatre for the 16-day competition to demonstrate their ability as a unit to improve fitness, resilience and readiness, in a unique program which focuses on the five healthy aspects of life the Army hopes to enhance: physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being.
From IMCOM-Pacific, Camp Humphreys has assembled their team "SWOLE Team Six" including Pfc. Khayree Sneed, Spc. William Cook, Pfc. Nicholas Angelo, Spc. Bryce Forseth, Spc. Catheryn Mayfield and Pfc. Jayme Patterson.
"I'm here serving the best country in the world. The more I push myself, the further I can go," said Pfc. Sneed, a Gainsville, Fla. native. "Not only am I proud to represent my unit, B Company 602d ASB, but I'm going to the edge with Swole Team Six."
"I'm here for my team, and perform at the top of our game," echoed Spc. Cook, from Florence, S.C. "We are here to show how great the BOSS program can be."
BOSS refers to Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, an Army program designed to increase exposure to educational, social, recreational, and artistic activities by unaccompanied military members at Army garrisons around the world.
"While stationed in Korea, I joined the BOSS Strong team competition to better my fitness and readiness level," said Pfc. Angelo, who hails from the New York/New Jersey area. "Now that our team has won 1st in our region, we are all here to bring back the trophy."
"I'm grateful to have this opportunity to better myself," said Spc. Forseth, originally from Green Bay, Wis. "I'm here to show that I am part of the best squad out there."
Diversity is a mainstay in the U.S. Army and represented in the competition as well.
"I'm here to build myself stronger, be the best and make my family proud," said Spc. Mayfield, from the Philippines and the only female member or the Humphreys team. "I feel excited and 100% ready for the competition."
"I'm beyond proud to be here with my squad," said Pfc. Patterson, from Cullman, Ala. "We want to improve our readiness so that we can 'fight tonight' on the drop of a hat. We came to win."
Teams of America's rugged professionals competed locally at their garrison during the months July and August, to prepare themselves for the worldwide competition.
From IMCOM-Europe, USAC Italy has assembled their team "Able" including Spc. Landon Kennedy, Spc. Anthony Rodriguez, Spc. Gerardo Lopez, Pfc. Joey Biggers, Pfc. Christopher Ortiz and Pfc. Avelado Martinez.
"Compete, win and make a difference," explained Spc. Kennedy, from Danville, Ill. "I'm very excited for such a great opportunity to compete against other teams around the world."
"To compete in the BOSS Strong competition is and honor," said Spc. Rodriquez, from Fresno, Calif. "To represent my team is a privilege."
The exact nature of the competition has been a closely held secret from the competitors.
"I'm very curious about what events this championship will throw at us," said Spc. Lopez, from San Antonio, Texas native. "But I'm excited to show what our team is made of."
"I'm feeling strong and confident," said Pfc. Biggers, from Wichita Falls, Texas. "We're going to push each other hard and to the limit to win."
From their experience at USAC Italy, each member realizes the importance of the team concept for success.
"I'm here to prove to others and myself that I am the best," said Pfc. Ortiz. "With the help of my teammates, I will achieve."
"I'm here to face a challenge and push myself as well as my team beyond what each of us has," said Pfc. Martinez, from Naples, Fla. "I feel very excited and grateful for such an opportunity that only a handful of us have achieved."
The entire BOSS Strong Championship is being recorded and will be broadcast on various military networks including the U.S. Department of Defense News website. The series will follow the teams as they progress through the competition, and introduce the Army to function fitness concepts.
From IMCOM-Sustainment, Fort Meade has assembled their team "Dog" including Lance Cpl. Julia DiBartolo, Spc. Brandon Lee-Tobin, Lance Cpl. Autumn Schlecht, Spc. Alexis Kwamin, Lance Cpl. Dylan Green and Pfc. Joseph Ramirez.
"I'm super motivated to give my all and win," said Lance Cpl. DeBartolo, from Staten Island, New York, and one of three Marines competing from Fort Meade. "This is something most Marines won't be able to experience. I'm proud to represent Fort Meade."
"I want to push myself and my team beyond our limits to prove Fort Meade houses some of the most elite Soldiers," said Spc. Lee-Tobin, from Washington, DC. "I hope that what we do here will teach and inspire others to lead a healthy lifestyle."
The objective of the competition is to help and motivate the individuals of each team to increase their capacity to perform, during training and during the battle.
"I want to help my team succeed towards greatness," said Lance Cpl. Schlecht, from St. Paul, Minn. "I am grateful and excited to be a Marine, joined with the Army for a common goal. One team -- one fight."
"I came here to challenge myself in ways more than I thought I could handle," said Spc. Kwamin. "I'm feeling a myriad of emotions right now, for the challenges to come, but overall, I'm confident that 'Dog Team' will take this home."
Strength training is not the only component of readiness, as each team is learning.
"I'm here to grow and develop a stronger knowledge base in fitness and nutrition," said Lance Cpl. Green, Tenn. "It is self-empowering to compete with the best of the best from around the world."
"I'm nervous, but energetic and pumped for the chance to show what I can do, not only myself, but in my team," said Pfc. Ramirez, from Colo. "I'm going to push myself both physically and mentally to the limits, challenging myself and to show others they can push themselves farther than they thought.
Each team is assigned a personal trainer to assist in their development and performance.
From IMCOM-Readiness, Fort Bliss has assembled their team "Stronghold 7" including Spc. Richard Woods, Pfc. Jacob Harrison, Spc. David Yescas, Spc. Brittany Willams, Staff Sgt. Ken Huguley and Pfc. Lance Balaga.
"I'm part of a team that dedicated and invested hours of training to get here," said Spc. Woods, from Los Angeles, Calif. "It is astonishing that people saw a potential I've never seen myself. The next investment is to win it all."
"This is incredible, our chance to compete for the championship," said Pfc. Harrison, from China Grove, N.C. "I feel like this is a major stepping stone to the rest of my career. I want to make my family proud."
Championships are about winning, but also about the process and what leaders can make out of it.
"I'm here to win the competition, have fun with my team," said Spc. Yescas, from Henderson, Texas. "Everything I learn, I'm taking back with me to my unit and my Soldiers."
"I feel humbled by the competition," said Spc. Williams. "Grateful for my team and all the hard work we have put in the past couple of months."
Team pride is part of the process for high performance.
"I'm here to represent Fort Bliss, my team and my region," said Staff Sgt. Huguley, from Valley. Ala. "We worked hard to get here, so now we want to show Soldiers and leaders how hard work and training pays off."
"I'm here to get to a higher level of fitness, to be healthy and have fun," said Pfc. Balaga. "I'm really pumped about this."
From IMCOM-Training, Fort Lee has assembled their team KAHC Weapons of Mass Reduction, including Pfc. Jaela Clark, Spc. Jason Melnik, Pfc. Michael Golisano, Spc. Tanner Poush, Sgt. Damien Broadnax and Sgt. Jeffrey Jones.
"I'm here to compete to the best of my ability," said Pfc. Clark, from Gallipolis, Ohio. "I want to challenge myself and encourage others to pursue an active lifestyle."
"Oh, man. I'm excited. This is a huge event and I'm happy to be a part of it," said Spc. Melnik, from Syracuse, New York. "I'm here to represent my unit, my post. I plan on having a good time, learn something and get some fitness in."
Many of the Soldiers in the competition realize the impact their performance will have on the rest of the Army.
"I'm happy and excited to promote physical fitness and readiness to all service members," said Pfc. Golisano, from Milford, N.H. "My goal, to perform as best as I can, and to win for my unit."
"This has been an amazing experience," said Spc. Poush, from Chariton, Iowa. "I signed up to learn more about fitness, but I'm here to win."
The Army has brought the brightest, the most motivated and ready Soldiers together to show the rest how to climb to the highest level of readiness.
"First and foremost, I'm here to represent the U.S. Army, Fort Lee and to promote why readiness is so important," said Sgt. Broadnax, from Reidsville, N.C. "I feel every Soldier should at least try the obstacles. Bring this to Fort Lee, please!"
"I'm here to help promote fitness -- the key to Army-wide readiness," said Sgt. Jones, from Charlottesville, Va. "I'm confident and ready to win and put Fort Lee on the map."
The competition is sponsored by Cerasport Rice-based Electrolyte Drink, Trigger Point Performance Therapy, Global Promotional Sales and Breezer Mobile Cooling.