By Master Sgt. Shelia L. Cooper, 1st AD Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs:
(El Paso, Texas, Feb. 8, 2018)
Noncommissioned officers are known as the backbone of the Army. The NCO Corps, dating back to 1775, standardized the force during the Continental Army. Today, NCOs are the enforcers of standards and discipline, as well as mentors for subordinates. NCOs have the responsibility to ensure the safety, welfare and morale of the Soldiers are to standard.
Command Sgt. Maj. Sean M. Howard, senior enlisted adviser, 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade, led all of the brigade’s NCOs in a nonstandard 5-mile run at Fort Bliss, Jan. 29, to promote unity and morale for those who lead under him.
Howard said the run’s purpose was “to build on mental and physical resiliency amongst NCO leaders.”
When Howard arrived at the brigade a little over a year ago, one of his main priorities among Soldiers in his brigade was Physical Readiness Training. This training, completed five days a week, enhances and maintains each Soldier’s physical fitness level.
“PRT is the foundation of good units, moral and discipline within an organization,” Howard said. “It’s imperative to have a good fitness program established within our brigade’s footprint.”
Soldiers of all ranks must ensure that physical fitness is a main priority in their development while coming up through the ranks. This run emphasized the importance of physical fitness, by showing that NCOs set the standards, regardless of age.
“I think NCOs and all Soldiers should get a sense of accomplishment from PRT,” said Sgt. Christopher Schmiett, public affairs specialist, 1st AD Sust. Bde. “PRT provides a sense of knowing that they have already bettered themselves, physically, before many people have woken up for the day.”
It’s not every day that the NCOs assigned to the brigade get the opportunity to come together; however, on this one occasion, all the NCOs were in one spot at the same time.
“The run meant that all NCOs had the opportunity to come together as a group and be able to push one another to run that much farther and harder than what they would normally do,” Schmiett said.
Howard said the run was meant to challenge leaders by pushing them past their perceived limits, to build on mental and physical resiliency and to create unit cohesion among leaders.
“It starts with taking care of themselves (junior Soldiers) through fitness by leading and challenging their Soldiers every morning during PRT and setting the right example,” Howard said.
This nonstandard run of 8:30 per mile, which was faster than the Army standard, provided an opportunity for leaders to show off their fitness level. These runs prepare Soldiers for contingency operations throughout the world.
“Our NCOs need to always keep themselves physically and mentally prepared to conduct their wartime mission,” Howard said.
NCOs must lead by example to ensure their Soldiers are mentally and physical fit and that they are trained and proficient in their warrior task and drill. It all starts with PRT.
“PRT is essential for good order and discipline within the Army,” Schmiett said.