By Ms. Brittany Nelson (IMCOM)May 17, 2019
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS--The U.S. Army Warrior Fitness Team, created to participate in functional fitness events around the world and promote unique career opportunities within the Army, is going strong in their inaugural year.
The team consists of 15 Soldiers who tried out and made the cut in November 2018.
First Sgt. Glenn Grabs, First Sergeant for the outreach company of the U.S. Army recruiting command, oversees the Soldier-athletes.
"I ensure the team is prepared and ready to compete in competitions around the country and represent the Army to the fitness community," said Grabs. "With recruiting activities throughout the community, they interact with young men and women that have the desire to serve."
Earlier this month a handful of Soldiers competed at the Fittest Experience in Austin, Texas, where Capt. Chandler Smith placed first in the pro male category. The day after the competition, Grabs took three of the team members to Fort Hood, Texas, to take part in multiple fitness activities and a meet and greet.
The team joined a group of Soldiers going through a master fitness training course taught by the Texas Army National Guard at Fort Hood. Instructors lead the activity, which prepares Soldiers for combat-like situations.
After the fitness exercise, team members tried out the Alpha Warrior rig at Fort Hood's functional fitness gym. Most team members are familiar with the rig's requirements because of their CrossFit and functional fitness knowledge.
"CrossFit really brought a community to me and the ability to walk into the gym and have people I can work out with and enjoy spending time together," said Capt. Kasandra Clark, aviator and Warrior Fitness Team member. "It opened up that world to me."
Clark was a pole vaulter and long jumper for the track and field team at the United States Military Academy. When she graduated she said she was looking for a team atmosphere where she could stay fit with the small amount of free time she had.
"The hard part was when I graduated and I wasn't on a team anymore, I didn't know what to do to stay active," said Clark. "Going to the gym for two to three hours wasn't fitting into a busy schedule of learning how to fly helicopters, making sure I was at work, and being a platoon leader."
Clark said the Warrior Fitness Team is a great opportunity to show people how to create a work-life balance and that it is possible to have a successful career while staying fit and physically competitive.
Another team member, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Phillip Calcese, a Black Hawk instructor pilot, tried out for the team to help promote fitness within the Army.
"I wanted to get involved with the fitness team to help the force to get better as we fight the fight and create better well-being for everybody," said Calcese.
While at Fort Hood, the Soldiers learned about STRONG B.A.N.D.S (Balance, Activity, Nutrition, Determination, Strength), an annual fitness campaign in May.
Fort Hood and other garrisons worldwide have been hosting fitness and wellness events throughout the month for STRONG B.A.N.D.S. The events promote healthy lifestyles and encourage community involvement, similar to the Warrior Fitness Team.
The team members also took part in a meet and greet at the Fort Hood Exchange where they talked to patrons about functional fitness and their team. A few shoppers participated in a pushup contest with the athletes as well.
Soldiers on the team have a wide variety of careers within the Army and Grabs believes their stories need to be told.
"All of these Soldiers have spectacular Army stories, who they are as people, what they have accomplished in service and where they come from is important to share," said Grabs. "These things need to be shared within the community because it connects the Army with the American population."
Among the Soldiers on the team is Sgt. First Class Anthony Fuhrman, an Army recruiter. Fuhrman is a strongman competitor and has competed in multiple strongman competitions as well as Dwayne Johnson's Titan Games.
Grabs mentions that all of the Soldier teammates are exceptional, and they are using their unique skills to interact with the community.
Grabs expects the team to grow and become more involved in the fitness community.
"I feel like there is a lot of unrecognized talent in the functional fitness community within the Army that can go into the public and share their Army story just like our team," said Grabs. "I think the future is very promising and I look forward to meeting more Soldiers and service members to grow our team and take their story to the public."