FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Sappers of the 20th Engineer Brigade's 307th Engineer Battalion (Combat) are taking fitness to another level.

Lt. Col. Brett Sylvia introduced the leaders in his battalion to the Complete Soldier Fitness Performance Resilience Enhancement Program at Frederick Fitness Center at Fort Bragg. The training is part of Sylvia's effort to the sapper athlete warrior program. He said that the program would allow the Soldiers within the battalion to become more mentally and physically fit for combat missions. Special Forces and Army Rangers participate in similar programs.

"We have been studying programs that have popped up across the force and decided what would make most sense to us as sappers", said Sylvia.

The CSF PREP program was designed to train Soldiers to overcome mental and physical fatigue as a small group. After completing tasks such as climbing a wall or carrying a hundred-pound dummy up a flight of stairs and back, the Soldier is evaluated for mental and physical fatigue. Once he is cleared by his evaluator, he moves on to the next event.

Sylvia came up with the idea of the sapper program after researching similar fitness programs such as the Insanity, P90X, and the Ranger Athlete Warrior program.

He said that unlike Insanity and P90X, the RAW program was more of what the battalion needs.
The Ranger program was introduced to ranger battalions in 2007. Its handbook outlines the objectives to control injuries, improve performance and standardize rangers across the regiment. Those objectives are reached by using components of functional fitness, performance nutrition, sports medicine and mental toughness.

Sylvia said that his program will allow the battalion to take the Army's physical fitness training to the next phase, "beyond" the Army's new physical readiness training program. He said that the battalion will also reshape how they look at profiles and rehabilitation.

"Soldiers on profile will no longer fall out to the back of the formation as they have in the past," explained Sylvia.

Typically, Soldiers who are injured or are recovering from injury may be exempt from physical fitness training. Under Sylvia's program, Soldiers will do specially designed training to meet their rehabilitation requirements.

The battalion's sapper program began Monday, he said. Sylvia's goal is to make leaders and warriors out of the young Soldiers within the battalion. He said he hopes to ensure they will have all skills to lead the next generation of upcoming Soldiers.

"I think that we have a lot of sappers who are fired up about it and I think that they are going to push one another," he said. "We're going to push one another hard."