By Michael StrasserJuly 26, 2018
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (July 26, 2018) -- Two teams of Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division (LI) have stepped up to the challenge and will represent Fort Drum in the 2018 BOSS Strong competition.
Presented by U.S. Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, BOSS Strong is an eight-week, garrison-level competition that focuses on comprehensive fitness and engagement in installation activities and programs.
Only the top six teams from Army installations worldwide will advance to the championships in October. To get to the finals, teams must participate in a wide range of activities available throughout post. The more they do, the more points they accumulate.
Representing Fort Drum are:
Team Black Knights, from the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade - Spc. Adrian Torres; Spc. Hampshire Collins; Pfc. Phurbu Tsering; Pfc. Darius Johnson; Spc. Percy Newton; and Pfc. Tristan Santiago.
Team Centaur, from 1st Brigade Combat Team - Sgt. 1st Class Johnathan Pfau; Staff Sgt. Michael Pomerleau; Sgt. Nicholas Bruce; Spc. Daryll Yvarra; Spc. Christian Castillo and Pfc. Duke Truong.
The competition officially begins Aug. 6, but before that, team members report to the Army Wellness Center for their initial health assessment that includes body composition measurements using the facility's BodPod. The three participants with the greatest lean body mass change at the end of eight weeks can earn their team a maximum of 600 of the 1,400 total points possible.
Staff Sgt. Jonathan Banister, Fort Drum BOSS secretary, said that the competition challenges teams to get active and encourages them to explore what is available at FMWR facilities on post.
"Everyone on the team gets a passport that lists all the activities they can do, through FMWR, BOSS, ACS and other organizations on the installation," Banister said. "It combines everything - physical fitness, sports, volunteering, professional development - into one, big competition. It's designed to get Soldiers involved with installation activities and it also lets them know that our post has all this cool stuff they can do, so they can go back to their units and let others know what's going on."
For example, teams can earn two points by registering for an account at the Robert C. McEwen Library and reading a book on the reading list of the Sergeant Major of the Army or Army Chief of Staff; bowling two games at the Pine Plains Bowling Center or taking a guided tour of the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Museum. Five points can be acquired by registering for VO2 and metabolic testing or enrolling in a nutrition class at the Army Wellness Center.
"There's a lot of different things that they can do, and we'll let them know some of our upcoming events at BOSS that will get them points," Banister said. "During the competition, we'll monitor how they are doing."
Teams can share their experiences by posting online videos and photos that highlight workouts and participation in activities. Teams can accumulate a maximum of 320 points by the end of the competition for documenting their experiences.
If a team advances to the championships, there's a good chance they may encounter some of the physical and life skills challenges that they conducted on post. Last year's finalists encountered the Alpha Battle Rig - like the one at Atkins Functional Fitness Facility - and an obstacle course that included the assault bike and rower. They also competed in a nutritional challenge where they had to prepare and present a plate of healthy food in front of a panel of judges.
Sgt. Nicholas Bruce is one of the six participants from 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, who said that he is motivated to win this competition.
"I'm a A-type personality, so I like to win," Bruce said. "If you can't envision yourself being at the championships, then why do it? We're definitely playing to win."
However, he said their training schedule is jam-packed in the coming months so it will be a challenge for them to accomplish other facets of the competition.
"We've got the physical fitness portion locked down - our guys are in great shape already so we'll get together and come up with a PT program," Banister said. "Knowing how tasked out we are, if we want to win this we'll have to figure out how to make things happen whenever we can."
The garrison competition concludes Sept. 30, and the top six teams will compete in a head-to-head, two-week series of challenge, Oct. 29-Nov. 11, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to be named BOSS Strong champions.
Last year, 372 competitors - 62 teams from 27 garrisons - participated in the program. Banister said that the team from 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, was just a few points shy of making it to the finals. Ultimately, the winning team was from Vicenza, Italy.
Details about the competition, as well as videos from last year's championship are available at https://www.armymwr.com/programs-and-services/boss/bossstrong.