COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The U.S. Army's new Warrior Fitness Team made quite an impression during the largest multi-sports event in the world held here over the weekend.
In the team's inaugural competition, seven of the 15 members traveled to Columbus for the 2019 Arnold Sports Festival to showcase the talent and professionalism of U.S. Army Soldiers.
A team of six Soldiers claimed first place out of 32 teams in the CrossFit Endeavor competition. The team included: Capt. Kasandra Clark, an aviation officer; Capt. Deanna Clegg, a logistics officer; Capt. Brian Harris, an aeromedical evacuation officer; Capt. Ashley Shepherd, a military intelligence officer; 1st. Lt. Chandler Smith, an armor officer; and Spc. Jacob Pfaff, a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter repairer.
Individual competitor Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Fuhrman, who is a U.S. Army recruiter, was named top 10 in the world in the Amateur Strongman Classic.
The Soldiers were just a few of about 22,000 athletes who descended on Columbus to compete in a variety of events, to include CrossFit, Strongman, fencing, Mixed Martial Arts and National Physique Committee.
While the Warrior Fitness Team was very competitive, their presence was about much more than winning trophies.
"There is a dearth of fit military-aged males and females who are looking to enter service, so by going out and competing and winning at these types of fitness events, we hope to … draw some interest in these capable candidates who are already here," said Chandler, who is coming to the team from Fort Benning, Georgia.
The Army is modernizing its recruiting efforts and seeking new ways to reach individuals who meet the qualifications necessary to serve. The Army already invests in the physical fitness of Soldiers, so it is using its elite athletes to connect with individuals in the fitness community and educate them about the opportunities and benefits of service in the Army.
"Having a functional fitness team attend and compete at events like the Arnold has given the U.S. Army an opportunity to interact directly with the fittest people in the American population," said 1st Sgt. Glenn Grabs, who has led the development of the new team. "Watching them compete, cheer for and push the teams they were competing against truly showcased the Army values that are instilled in each of them. I look forward to everything they will do to assist in the recruiting mission."