By Capt. Kurt Van SlootenApril 8, 2010
Fort Stewart, Ga. - Two of the 188th Infantry Brigade Commander's priorities are building physical and spiritual fitness for his Soldiers, and what could be better than combining both priorities into a single event'
The brigade's monthly spiritual fitness run kicked off at 6:30 a.m. at Fort Stewart and was held at the brigade's second home, Fort Gillem, at 3:00 p.m. on 25 March.
Spiritual fitness runs look like other organized brigade runs and include stretching, warm-up and cool-down periods, but add the benefit of the chaplain's message at the end.
"There are three levels of spirituality that can be addressed at spiritual fitness events," said Capt. David W. Clark, 188th Infantry Brigade chaplain. The first level and second levels are not openly religious and include motivational messages and events like prayer breakfasts. The third level is religious and chaplains lead services according to their religious affiliations, said Clark.
The chaplain's message after the run addressed relationships between co-workers in the brigade setting. "We as Soldiers must know the mission of our supervisor," said Clark. "By knowing their mission we can help our commander to accomplish his mission. Also, be aware of what is going on with the people around you, so you can help bear that load if necessary. Lastly, know yourself and know when you need to ask someone else for help."
The chaplain and his assistant, Sgt. Heath M. Anderson, prepare for these runs well in advance. "At Fort Stewart, we have a site that is already approved for the runs, which are run at your own pace on a set route," said Anderson. "At Fort Gillem, we run in formation due to traffic concerns. The chaplain and I work with the operations section to set a date for the monthly run that doesn't interfere with the brigade battle rhythm. We then secure the necessary supplies, to include refreshments. On the day of the event I go out ahead of time and set up for the event to make sure things go smoothly, and clean-up after the event."
"The Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is a new Army program dedicated to building resiliency in the force" said Col. Robert A. Warburg, 188th Infantry Brigade Commander. "It involves viewing Soldiers as world class warrior / athletes, and has several pillars for building resiliency. Spiritual and Physical fitness are the anchor points of the program."
The 188th Infantry Brigade, along with the other training support brigades in First Army Division East, provides and facilitates theater-focused training for deploying National Guard and Reserve formations. Based out of Fort Stewart, the 188th has been training deploying National Guard and Reserve units for Iraq deployments continuously since 2003.