By Staff Sgt. Kyle Richardson, 41st Fires Brigade, PAOJanuary 20, 2012
HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas--Several First Strike Soldiers along with the help of their battalion chaplain and his assistant, made small work of some oversized boulders while showing the true strength of their combined spiritual fitness.
Forty Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade took on the challenges at Boulders Sport Climbing Center located in Harker Heights during a battalion spiritual fitness event, Jan. 11.
Spiritual fitness is a display of individual characteristics needed in stressful times on the battlefield or during the rigors of day-to-day life. Spiritual fitness is also one of the five dimensions of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program which was launched Army-wide in 2009.
Because spiritual fitness is an aspect of a Soldier's life that is utilized on a daily basis, Soldiers continue to train and develop this characteristic.
"We put on spiritual fitness training events to build-up the moral in Soldiers, increase teamwork, and overall make up the comprehensive soldier," said Capt. David Ravenscraft, Cincinnati native, battalion chaplain for the 1st Bn., 21st FA Regt. "It's important to develop Soldiers in all areas, but the spiritual fitness aspect of Soldiers can keep them moving when times get tough.
During the training, Ravenscraft quoted Napoleon Bonaparte--'The strongest weapon a Soldier has is his spirit.'
"If a Soldier's spirit is broken, he will not be able to complete his mission," said Ravenscraft. "When a Soldier's spirit is strong, he can reach new heights."
During the training event, some Soldiers conquered fears and reached new heights while climbing the various rock walls.
"This is my first time climbing and I think it's a great idea that my unit is willing to do something like this," said Spc. Alvin Greenwood, Beech Island, S.C. native, petroleum specialist for 575th Forward Support Company, 1st Bn., 21st FA Regt.
While the training event helped Soldiers expand upon their spiritual fitness, it also served another purpose.
"We have Soldiers from all the batteries in the battalion," said Spc. Gabriel Figueroa, Adjuntas, Puerto Rico native, a chaplain's assistant for the 1st Bn., 21st FA Regt. "Normally, these Soldiers wouldn't get the chance to work with one another unless we're in the field or deployed. So this training provides an opportunity for all the Soldiers to get together. It's important for Soldiers throughout our battalion to know one another and work with each other. I believe in what the bible says 'two ropes together are stronger than just one rope.' If all the Soldiers in the battalion were pieces of rope and we continue to train together, then if we ever deploy, we would be a lot stronger."
Although the Soldiers attended a spiritual fitness training event, Ravenscraft said that the Soldiers do not have to be religious to attend the event.
"This training is about more than a Soldier's religious background," said Ravenscraft. "We're here to develop individually, but more importantly, as a team."
Throughout the day the Soldiers worked on multiple climbing drills, team building exercises, and toward the end of the day they were able to do some free climbing and repelling.