Michigan National Guard’s Stay Fit, Stay Guard program

Spc. Mackenzie Wilcox of the medical command, attempts to get over the Belly Buster at the Fort Custer Training Center obstacle course during the Stay Fit Stay Guard Program. The […]

Spc. Mackenzie Wilcox of the medical command, attempts to get over the Belly Buster at the Fort Custer Training Center obstacle course during the Stay Fit Stay Guard Program. The Michigan National Guard’s Stay Fit Stay Guard program was conducted at Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta, Mich., from April 23 – May 7, 2016. (Michigan National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Tyler Piper/Released)

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Story written by 1st Lt. Tyler Piper, JFHQ Public Affairs

FORT CUSTER TRAINING CENTER, Mich. — The pilot program Stay Fit, Stay Guard, ran by the Michigan National Guard, is being conducted at Fort Custer Training Center, Augusta, Mich., from April 23 – May 7, 2016. Twenty-seven Soldiers from all over the state volunteered to participate in the program.

Soldiers from the Michigan National Guard's Stay Fit Stay Guard program conducted at Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta, Mich., from April 23-May7, 2016, defend their position during military operations in urban terrain training.

Soldiers from the Michigan National Guard’s Stay Fit Stay Guard program conducted at Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta, Mich., from April 23-May7, 2016, defend their position during military operations in urban terrain training.

The purpose of the Stay Fit, Stay Guard program, is to retain these Soldiers and help them towards their goal of passing the Army Physical Fitness Test. Several national guard states from around the country are running some type of fitness program to retain their Soldiers.
“These Soldiers are too important to us, and the Michigan National Guard, to not try to retrain and refocus their efforts on passing their APFT,” Master Sgt. David Stafford, the program director said.

Soldiers that volunteered for the program were required to sign a memorandum stating that after passing their record APFT, they would sign a new two-year contract with the Michigan National Guard. In order to qualify for the program, the Soldiers had to be within two percent of passing the height and weight standards and score a minimum of 50 points in each event of the APFT.

“Our goal for this pilot group is to get 50 percent of them to pass their record APFT,” Stafford added. “At only seven days into the program, we have already had five Soldiers pass their APFT.”

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Brevoort of the 1431st engineer company, moves through the six-vault obstacle at the Fort Custer Training Center's obstacle course while participating in the Stay Fit, Stay Guard program.

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Brevoort of the 1431st engineer company, moves through the six-vault obstacle at the Fort Custer Training Center’s obstacle course while participating in the Stay Fit, Stay Guard program.

During the 15-day program, nutritionists were brought in to instruct the Soldiers on proper diet habits as well as explain the benefits of watching what they eat. The nutritionists worked with the dining facility on FCTC to tailor their menu to the nutritional needs of the program. Soldiers were also subjected to old memories of basic training as drill sergeants from the Recruiting and Retention Battalion were brought in to lead the first few physical fitness sessions.

Soldiers from the Michigan National Guard's Stay Fit Stay Guard program conducted at Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta, Mich., from April 23-May7, 2016, receive instruction from Staff Sgt. Jason Hilla during an intermission in their urban terrain training.

Soldiers from the Michigan National Guard’s Stay Fit Stay Guard program conducted at Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta, Mich., from April 23-May7, 2016, receive instruction from Staff Sgt. Jason Hilla during an intermission in their urban terrain training.

In addition to the nutritional training and the physical fitness training, the Soldiers completed their required Structured Self-Development courses, a 40-hour Combat Lifesaver course, completed three days of Master Resilience training, ran through FCTC’s obstacle course and used basic Soldiers skills to conduct military operations in urban terrain with paintball guns.

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