By Sgt. Kadja Manuel, 509th Strategic Signal BattalionMarch 26, 2018
WIESBADEN, Germany -- The 509th Strategic Signal Battalion, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade, continues to raise the (handle)bar above Army standards, instituting a new program providing bicycles to unit personnel to be healthy and help the environment.
The battalion is using the bicycles to integrate two Army initiatives to improve the overall health and readiness of its integrated workforce: the Green Boot program promoting environmental responsibility and sustainability, and the Performance Triad, or P3, a comprehensive program that promotes proper levels of sleep, activity and nutrition.
Having just kicked off the unit's own P3 program in January, leaders recognized the potential for increasing the health and fitness of its workforce by encouraging the use of bicycles across Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy, where it is headquartered. The unit purchased several bicycles and leaders sought innovative ways to implement the initiative across the workforce, to include Soldiers, Civilians and Local National employees.
"The end goal of our unit is to have fit and competent leaders that promote a holistically positive and healthy lifestyle," explained Capt. Lovell Pendleton, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 509th Strategic Signal Bn.
Poor levels of sleep, activity and nutrition are among the top challenges that affect readiness and Soldier deployability. According to the Performance Triad website, there are approximately 43,000 Soldiers who are non-deployable due to profiles, and an additional 78,000 active-duty Soldiers who are considered clinically obese. These numbers are alarming, but it can all be corrected with proper education followed through with an adequate amount of effort. Proper amounts of sleep, activity and nutrition will help all Soldiers and family members reach positive results and establish patterns for long-term health.
As part of the Green Boot initiative, the battalion previously placed recycling bins in every facility. The use of bicycles takes the program to the next level and helps the environment by reducing energy consumption and pollution. Non-tactical vehicles, or NTVs, are one of the battalion's largest expenditures and contributors to pollution. By having employees use bicycles to move about Caserma Ederle while assisting customers, the organization saves money on fuel and maintenance costs on NTVs and reduces pollution, ultimately benefiting the entire community.
The long-term effects of 509th Strategic Signal Battalion's initiatives are yet to be seen, but the purchase of bicycles has already yielded positive results. By trading its NTVs for bicycles, the unit is setting a positive example for other organizations seeking to promote healthy lifestyles and energy conservation.
"We've got to take care of our people because they're our most important asset," said Todd Hunt, the 509th Strategic Signal Battalion's Network Infrastructure Division chief.
2nd Theater Signal Brigade conducts Department of Defense Information Network operations to enable mission command in support of U.S. Army, Joint and multinational operations throughout the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of operation.