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NEWS | May 16, 2012

21st Century Sailors on the rise

By Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Hudson Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

After the Navy-wide announcement of the establishment of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, March 5, Sailors at Joint Base Charleston - Weapons station are striving toward the goal of maximizing Sailor and Marine personal readiness by raising the bar in physical fitness.

The initiative consolidates a set of objectives and policies, both new and existing, setting a fleet-wide goal to maximize personal readiness throughout the ranks. The program is divided into five categories placing emphasis on readiness, safety, inclusion, continuum of service and physical fitness.

According to the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus during his announcement of the initiative, Sailors and Marines must be ready to meet the demands of performing in a tactical environment, and physical readiness is a crucial link to ensuring Sailors and Marines are ready to take on the challenges the Navy and Marine Corps face today and in the future. As part of the 21st Century initiative, Sailors and Marines must maintain the highest level of sustained fitness with the ultimate goal of having the fittest, most deployment-ready force in the history of the Navy and Marine Corps.

"We ask for only the very best from our Sailors," said Master Chief Petty Officer Billy Cady, JB Charleston - Weapons Station command master chief. "To be the best, Sailors must have sound mind and body to be successful and combat ready. That means each and every Sailor must be physically fit, deliberately incorporating physical fitness routines and living a healthy lifestyle instead of simply just doing enough to get by on the Physical Readiness Tests twice a year. The more that we do each day to improve our physical fitness level, the more prepared we will become to handle any situation."

To help reach this goal in superior performance in physical fitness, Naval Support Activity's Command Fitness Leader Petty Officer 1st Class Jacob Moore, a Master-at-Arms, oversees group physical fitness training three times a week - pushing Sailors to reach their maximum capability.

"The Navy requires all Sailors to be physically fit, and here at NSA, we strive for only the very best," he said. "We encourage our Sailors to push harder and longer to help them reach their maximum capability and once they've reached that level we go one step further by pushing them to exceed their own standard."
"We train three times a week and in cycles to help build upper and lower body strength over a period of time. We also train to improve Sailors' cardio," said Moore. "We train for PRTs in a progressive state, meaning that over a period of six months the PT sessions become more and more strenuous to ensure that Sailors can exceed the set standard and pass the test when the time comes."

Moore discussed the transition from a 'culture of testing' to a 'culture of fitness,' explaining how programs under the 21st Century initiative, such as Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System and 'Fueled to Fight,' will help achieve the transformation.

"There are some Sailors who approach exercise like they do studying for a test; cram before a PRT, and then give it up as soon as they pass," Moore said. "With this new initiative in place, we have already seen many changes taking place, for example, all waivers for body composition assessments are removed. You have to get a BCA even if you score an 'outstanding' on the PRT. The program has placed emphasis on physical fitness, raising the bar in what used to be the standard and expecting more from Sailors. The goal is to have fitness more of a priority in a Sailor's life both on and off duty."

For one Sailor, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kirsten DeVaughn, a Machinist's Mate who works at NSA, after having a child five months ago, PT has not only been helpful in losing some of the added pounds from the baby, but also very challenging.

"It was hard getting back into a routine of physical fitness after the baby," she said. "But through the encouragement of the CFL and fellow shipmates, I now have a set routine that has pushed me to my limit and beyond. I incorporate fitness during my off time as well by implementing healthier foods and a more active lifestyle which goes hand-in-hand with the Navy-wide effort in promoting a higher standard of physical fitness of the 21st Century Sailor."

"With the Navy needing to do more with less across the board, it is even more important for Sailors to be able to exceed past standards in physical fitness," said Moore. "Top physical performance is a must in today's 21st Century Sailor in order to reach the wide spectrum of arduous duties world-wide. My goal as the command CFL is to push our Sailors to excellence and help ready them for any challenge they are faced with."