FORT LENNARD WOOD, Mo. —
Students from the U.S. Air Force’s 368th Training Squadron at Fort Leonard Wood put their new paving 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 guidance of six instructors, set up the sites in front of the barracks of the 701st and 787th Military Police Battalions and the 31st Engineer Battalion. A mat will also be placed outside 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, readiness to nutrition, spiritual readiness and physical readiness.
The concrete pads will offer units a place to place their box gyms, designed to allow fitness training to take place wherever the containers are placed.
Tech Sergeant Austin Wood, the 368th Training Squadron’s Surface Training and Equipment NCO in charge, said working together on this project benefits both the Air Force and the Army.
“Because the students have to do a project like this, it gives them a chance to see how their work will be used on the job, and it’s more like what they’ll be doing at an Air Force base,” Wood said. “It feels great to be able to help the Army move this program forward by providing these Soldiers with a safe place to physically train.”
Senior Airman Anna Juan Mateo, a student with the 368th Training Squadron, 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 scheduled to graduate from the Army’s three-month vocational training course in pavement and equipment training on Friday.
She said she feels lucky to now have real experience of a “real job”.
“It was a very good experience for my class to be able to come out here as a team and put our skills to work. The instructors helped us with the first part and we got to learn a lot from their experience. We watched them do it and then we finished some of it ourselves,” Juan Mateo said. “It feels good to work on a real project, it’s a good experience for me for sure. I now feel more confident in my abilities.”
Wood said being able to perform these skills outside of the learning environment is beneficial for students because typically, “we’ll set up in our school building and either expand our maintenance facility or just put in concrete that’s going to be torn up and used for percussive knocking,” Wood said. “Students love going out and seeing other parts of the post office and it helps break up the daily routine of just being at the school.”
Wood said it was nice to show students the importance of helping other post offices.
“We’re one big team at the Department of Defense, and helping another branch accomplish the mission is just one part of that. At Fort Leonard Wood, we have a small footprint, so any time we can demonstrate our capabilities to the other branches, we jump at it,” Wood said.
To learn more about H2F, the manual can be found on the Holistic Health and Fitness – Soldier Readiness System webpage.