In long run, Soldiers’ strides show strength
Sgt. Ida Irby,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
More than 300 Soldiers in the Army’s Warrior Transition Battalion participated in a battalion run Friday at the Warrior Transition Headquarters at West Fort Bliss. Wounded warriors have worked under fitness limitations to transition from crutches and wheel-chairs, with multiple upper and lower body injuries to become productive veterans in their community or return to duty.
“The WTB’s run events are important because the strength of the warriors in transition mirror the physical strength of the U.S. Army,” said Lt. Col. Long Pahm, WTB commander.
Starting with a slow pace and thunderous motivational cadences, the battalion ran. A trail of more than 75 walkers followed. Warriors in transition participate in battalion runs to improve their physical, mental and emotional well-being. Cadres use organizational runs to evaluate Soldier recovery from month-to-month.
“I am here to take care of Soldiers, and it is challenging, but in the long run it will be rewarding to see the Soldiers leave here better than they came,” said Pahm. “One of the Army’s mottos is ‘Army Strong,’ which is a physical, mental and emotional strength. This is the right motto for the Army because it has positive reinforcement for the Soldiers here.”
“When wounded Soldiers stay active it helps with their recovery time – both mentally and physically,” said 1st Sgt. John Aaron, serving as first sergeant of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Warrior Transition Battalion, for the last two months of his 26 years of service in the Army. “When Soldiers come out of theater with post-traumatic stress disorder and other physical injuries, a daily routine provides a normality that gives the Soldiers a sense of self-worth. … For Soldiers with lower extremity injuries, we try to prevent Soldiers from having prolonged inactivity due to limiting profiles, which may lead to weight gain.”
The Army holds a stern standard for the fitness of all Soldiers. According to Pham, the fitness plans help the Soldiers release stress and maintain their physical readiness.
Additionally, the fitness program is expected to decrease injury rates and standardize the units’ training. For Soldiers in the WTB, exercise is not the typical pushups, sit-ups and run, but rehabilitation exercises specifically designed for low intensity and low impact, which are adjusted to fit the needs of each Soldier. Nutrition and exercise are important factors in maintaining fitness for all Soldiers.
Different programs allow all the Soldiers to become involved in physical training daily. From yoga, archery, walking, biking, running and swimming, WTB provides physical training opportunities to keep the Soldiers healthy and strong to focus on rehabilitation.
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