Air Force uses unique training to help Army reach fitness goals

  • Published
  • By Melissa Buckley
  • Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office

Students from Fort Leonard Wood’s Air Force 368th Training Squadron are putting their new pavement skills to the test by laying concrete pads for the Army’s gyms-in-a-box that will support the Secretary of the Army’s Holistic Health and Fitness initiative.

Eight Airmen, under the supervision of six of instructors, are placing the pads outside the barracks of the 701st and 787th Military Police battalions and the 31st Engineer Battalion. A pad will also be placed outside of the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.

According to the Center for Initial Military Training, through Holistic Health and Fitness, also known as H2F, the Army seeks to empower and equip Soldiers to take charge of their health, fitness and well-being by optimizing mental readiness, sleep readiness, nutritional readiness, spiritual readiness and physical readiness.

The concrete pads will offer units a place to set their gyms-in-a-box, designed to allow fitness training to be conducted anywhere the containers are placed. 

Tech Sgt. Austin Wood, the 368th Training Squadron’s Pavements and Equipment Training noncommissioned officer in charge, said working together on this project benefits both the Air Force and the Army.

“With the students getting to do a project like this, it gives the students a chance to see how their work will be used around post and it resembles more of what they will do on an Air Force base,” Wood said. “It feels great to be able to help the Army with getting this program in motion by providing these Soldiers a safe place to do physical training.”

Senior Airman Anna Juan Mateo, a 368th Training Squadron student, agreed.

“I like being able to help the Army and be a part of this health and fitness initiative for Soldiers,” said Juan Mateo, who is set to graduate from the three-month Pavement and Equipment Training military occupational specialty school on Friday.

She said she feels fortunate to already have some actual experience on a “real job.”

“This was a very good experience for my class to be able to get out here as a team and perform our skills on a real job. The instructors helped us with the first part and we got to learn a lot from their expertise. We watched them do it and then we completed a portion of it on our own,” Juan Mateo said. “It feels good to work on an actual project, it is good experience for me for sure. I feel more confident in my abilities now.”

Wood said being able to perform these skills outside of the training environment is beneficial for students because normally, “we will form up at our schoolhouse and either expand our maintenance site or just place concrete that will be tore out and used for jack hammering,” Wood said. “The students like getting out and seeing other areas of the post and it helps break up the day-to-day of just being at the schoolhouse.”

Wood said it is nice to show students the importance of helping the other branches on post.

“We are one big team in the Department of Defense and helping another branch to get the mission done is just one part of that. On Fort Leonard Wood, we have a small footprint so anytime we can showcase our abilities to the other branches we jump to it,” Wood said.

To learn more about H2F, the handbook can be found on the Holistic Health and Fitness - Soldier Readiness System webpage.