JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (Apr. 29, 2022) – The U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training hosted the Holistic Health and Fitness Industry Day and Exposition April 26 – 27 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.
The two-day exposition featured almost 60 industry and academia vendors, more than 600 attendees, and presentations from Army leaders and subject matter experts on the Army’s efforts to optimize Soldier performance within the H2F system.
“Being a Soldier is a full-contact sport,” said Gen. Paul E. Funk II, the Commanding General for U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. “By investing in our Soldiers we ensure to maintain an asymmetrical advantage.”
H2F is a cultural shift in the way the Army trains, develops, and cares for Soldiers, taking a holistic approach that accounts for the physical and non-physical domains of readiness.
In his keynote remarks, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston said though historically the Army has focused on the physical domain, we need to look at things holistically for the long term in the form of prevention.
“When we look at people in a holistic approach we become a more lethal force,” said Grinston. “The domains of fitness are not just nice to have, they are the foundation of everything we do. Neglecting these domains has an impact.”
The Army fostered the H2F system as the primary investment in Soldier readiness, optimal physical and non-physical performance, reduced injury rates, improved rehabilitation after injury, and increased overall effectiveness of the Total Army.
“H2F is the perfect example of how the Army is putting people first,” said Brig. Gen. John Kline, the Center for Initial Military Training Commanding General. “It is the largest human performance optimization initiative in the Department of Defense…but we know this effort cannot be accomplished alone. Fortunately we have the innovative minds of those of you joining us today, and we need your expertise and innovative thoughts to help us navigate towards our common goal of making the best even better.”
While the H2F system is a total Army program, the National Guard and Army Reserve have additional challenges in implementing H2F, particularly their geographical dispersion and the limited touchpoints with their Soldiers.
Part of the exposition was helping build potential solutions for those challenges.
“The National Guard’s dedicated full-time staff and 67 field project officers are implementing H2F across the 50 states, 3 territories and District of Columbia through a combination of state initiatives, regional resource networks and partnerships,” remarked Maj. Gen. John Andonie, the Deputy Director for the Army National Guard. “Partnerships help us to leverage additional expertise and deliver capabilities that address Soldiers’ concerns at critical points of need.”
Brig. Gen. Robert Krumm, the Commanding General for the Army Reserves 81st Readiness Division, said they are facing similar challenges as the National Guard.
“As for how we manage the challenge of orchestrating all those myriad programs out there, it’s less an orchestra than it is jazz improve,” remarked Krumm. “We look for the pieces of programs which might work and we are running a two-year pilot program with a test of nearly 4,000 Army Reserve Soldiers to try out those ideas to see if they do work. Those lessons—the successes and the failures—will then inform USAR leadership about what the shape of the H2F program should look like as we implement it across the entire Army Reserve.”
Despite the challenges, Krumm said the potential of H2F can have a long lasting impact.
“If we can make it work, then we have positively affected a Soldier in the direction of a positive lifestyle change that can transcend Soldiers’ time not just in their current units, but even after they leave the service,” Krumm added.
Key note speakers for the H2F Industry and Exposition Day included: Gen. Paul E. Funk, commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Brig. Gen. John D. Kline, commanding general, U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston, 16th Sergeant Major of the Army, Col. Kevin Bigelman, H2F Director, Maj. Gen. John Andonie, Deputy Director of the Army National Guard, Col. Nick Gist, Director of Physical Education, Maj. Allison Brager, Director of Human Performance, U.S. Army Warrior Fitness Team, Brig. Gen. Robert Krumm, Deputy Commanding General- Operations, 81st Readiness Division, Dr. Jen Schumacher, Assistant Director, Performance Psychology Program USMA, Lt. Col. Nick Barringer, Director Baylor University Nutrition Graduate Program, Thomas Constable, DoD Total Force Fitness and H2F Principal Deputy, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Thomas Solhjem, U.S. Army Chief of Chaplain, Col. Jonathan Harvey, commander, 18th Field Artillery Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C., Hunter Treuchet, H2F Performance Team Director, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.