Sustaining operations during the COVID-19 pandemic (Article 3)
By Kelvin RingoldMay 7, 2020
FORT HOOD — Readiness in the Army involves having highly trained, disciplined and fit Soldiers. The COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way Soldiers and leaders train, but maintaining physical readiness is a no-fail mission leaders can’t afford to lose sight of.“Physical readiness training (PRT) will always be a standard that must beupheld,” said 1st Sgt. Terrance D. Porter, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.Protecting the health of the force during these unprecedented times is a priority, but maintaining physical readiness is still as important as ever.“We face many global challenges in support of the warfighter,” Porter said. “There are arduous situations we can encounter at any given moment and we as Soldiers must be prepared.”The military continues to follow the recommended preventive measures to limit COVID-19’s spread. As such, regular physical readiness training formations have been curtailed, gyms have been closed and other social distancing measures have been set in place.Taking these preventive measures is a must, and ensuring Soldiers are trained and ready to defend the nation, takes some outside-the-box thinking to maintain physical readiness.“The COVID-19 pandemic is requiring Soldiers to become creative with their workout routines now that gyms have been closed until further notice,” Porter explained. “Physical training has pretty much been left on the individual Soldier to conduct and maintain on their own.”At the end of the day, PRT is an individual responsibility. For Sgt. Muirne Cooney, HHC, 13th ESC, it is a standard she embraces full-heartedly.“I’ve been able to keep up my physical readiness during social distancing by going for runs in less densely populated areas, as well as doing strength training exercises at home with weights and resistance bands,” Cooney said.Although Cooney spends time on her own physical readiness, she remains focused on taking care of the Soldiers under her care.“My Soldiers and I meet four days a week and do group PT,” Cooney said. “There’s only three of us, so it makes incorporating social distancing easier.”Porter also encourages his Soldiers to use the company’s new Army Combat Fitness Test equipment to prepare them for the new Army physical fitness requirements.Porter always leads by example and shows the Soldiers the new PRT can be both fun and beneficial, but also has to be done with the proper hygiene precautions.“As the first sergeant, I have the responsibility to provide motivation and ensure the ACFT equipment is readily available and properly disinfected to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Porter said.Maintaining physical readiness is crucial, but now more than ever, maintaining the health of the force is even more important.“I also continue to give my Soldiers updates on social distancing policies and make sure they understand how important it is to continue safe social and hygiene practices during this pandemic,” Cooney said.