Spc. Torian Ward, poses with her Family during Family Day for 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment. Ward is one of a number of Soldiers who graduated Basic Combat Training after attending the Future Soldier Preparatory Course. (Photo Credit: Emily Hileman) VIEW ORIGINAL

Among the 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment Soldiers in formation on Hilton Field, April 19; four stood tall, with their heads held high. Had you told them 13 weeks prior that they would be graduating Basic Combat Training, they wouldn’t be so sure.

These four Soldiers left home three weeks earlier than their battle buddies to participate in the Future Soldier Prep Course here at Fort Jackson.

“It helped me immensely,” said Pvt. William Maxwell. Maxwell participated in the fitness track of the Future Soldier Prep Course that worked to get him within 2% of the body fat percentage required of Soldiers prior to entering Basic Combat Training.

During their time on the fitness track, future Soldiers are taught much more than just physical exercise and weight loss.

“We took classes on nutrition and mental health and we went to the Holistic Health and Fitness program,” Maxwell said. “Some of the H2F instructors taught us things like yoga, which was beneficial.”

The hard work paid off and Maxwell secured his dream position as a 13B – Cannon Crew Member.

The other three Soldiers did not originally qualify for service due to an Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score of 31 or above. Once they met the score of 21, they became eligible to participate in the course. “My score went up so many points and I got the job I really wanted to get,” said Spc. Torian Ward, an academic track graduate. Ward was able to increase her Armed Forces Qualification score by 25 points, which helped her secure her goal as a 42A – Human Resources Specialist.

After multiple attempts, Pvt. Braxton Pringle was able to secure a 21 on his ASVAB and qualify for the educational track, as well. “I kept trying and trying and it was under the 20s,” Pringle said. “I finally got 21, came through the education program and it went up to a 64.”

The Future Soldier Preparatory Course officially began Aug. 8 and has helped to improve the physical fitness and AFQT scores of Soldiers who were originally unable to qualify for military service. Soldiers must still meet some qualifications (ASVAB score of 21 for the educational track or no more than six percent body fat percentage for the physical track), but are able to spend up to 6 weeks improving their physical and educational abilities to qualify.