JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
The Department of Defense's senior non-commissioned officer led Soldiers competing in the first BOSS Strong Championship on a demanding one-hour physical training session Sept. 12 which would bring many to their knees.
Command Sgt. Maj. John Wayne Troxell, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, used heavy lifting, pushing and pulling exercises which he believes most resemble the actual demands on Soldiers in the battlefield.
"This style of training will mimic what we do in combat," Troxell said. "They'll be tired, carrying heavy loads, they're running out of gas in a hurry and they have to overcome all that strain, all that pain, all of that stress, to reach the objective to fight and win."
Several stations were set up for the Soldiers, and each squad rotated through lifting, strength, planking, pushing and pulling activities designed to test even the most fit.
"Troxell is one-of-a-kind. His PT session broke me -- for the better," said Spc. Alexis Kwamin, from Fort Meade, Md. "I feel better about my team. Every day I am surprised how much stronger our team is, and getting better."
Troxell is no stranger to the Army force and has been spreading his message of fitness all during his 35-year career.
"He has been at our post before, so I knew he was a go-getter," said Spc. Brandon Lee-Tobin, stationed at Fort Meade, Md. "I expected [the course] to be nothing less than difficult, and so we were going to give him a run for his money. I knew I would give 100 percent at all times. I definitely wasn't going to fall out in front of the Sgt. Maj. - he is the boss of bosses. He has been showing himself as leadership and getting out there as well. All across the Army -- we're taking these skills and going to push it out to our units back home."
The SEAC was at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston to attend the BOSS Strong Conference.
"I came to San Antonio to talk the leadership at the conference: the Command Sergeants Major, our civilian leadership at MWR and our BOSS representatives," Troxell said. "I needed to communicate what I do as the SEAC, the strategy we have at the national military level, in terms of defending the homeland, the expectations we have for them as a Soldier and a leader, and what they can expect in terms of operational tempo now and in the future."
BOSS refers to Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, an Army program designed to increase exposure to educational, social, recreational, and artistic activities by unaccompanied military members at Army garrisons around the world. BOSS leadership is embedded within the U.S. Army Installation Management Command's G9 Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation -- and is the driver behind the Championship event.
"This [competition] is a class-A effort with world-class coaches, equipment and I just applaud the IMCOM G9, the MWR folks -- everybody involved, for putting this together," Troxell said. "The level of fitness and motivation of the Soldiers in the competition is huge, and I think we don't do enough in the military to continue to make and keep us Army strong and prepared for the fights we have to fight to defend the homeland."
Five teams of Soldiers from USAC Italy, Camp Humphreys, Fort Lee, Fort Meade and Fort Bliss are competing in the first BOSS Strong Championship, and will introduce the future Soldier functional fitness concept of how to train today for the fight tomorrow. Soldier teams competed at their garrisons, and the best were selected to represent each of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command's directorates for the 16-day competition.
"I had no expectations, but [Troxell] said we were going after PT like we were going out to war," said Lance Cpl. Autumn Schlecht, one of three Marines from Fort Meade, Md. participating in the competition. "Expect nothing -- experience everything, that's my motto. As an avid gym-goer, it wasn't the first time I've seen this equipment, but it was the order of the workout that set it apart. Our team created a strategy to work together on the exercise: one mission at a time."
The entire BOSS Strong Championship is being recorded and will be broadcast on various military networks including the U.S. Department of Defense News website. The series will follow the teams as they progress through the competition, and introduce the Army to functional fitness concepts.
"I've been in the Army for 35 years; I've got three years left," Troxell said. "I will retire at the most senior enlisted position in the entire Department of Defense and will have given everything I could have given."
The SEAC didn't want to leave Fort Sam Houston without some final thoughts, to inspire the BOSS Soldiers.
"I don't expect anything back from the Army. I owe the Army everything - for making me what I am. I'm going to walk away knowing that I had the great privilege to serve around great men and women, like these BOSS representatives.
"My message to them: [remember] the fight we are in now is not going to go away. So physically, mentally and emotionally, we've got to be prepared for the worst day of our life, which could happen tomorrow, and it could happen in an instant. Be ready at all times."
The competition is sponsored by Cerasport Rice-based Electrolyte Drink, Trigger Point Performance Therapy, Global Promotional Sales and Breezer Mobile Cooling.