Story by Cpl. Alvin Pujols
The United States Marine Corps was proven to be the fittest of the armed services, according to a study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, but that victory wasn’t enough. General Joseph Neller, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, created a new military occupational specialty: force fitness instructors.
“The course is significant because the Commandant of the Marine Corps wanted to create a course that would train Marines and improve physical fitness while mitigating injuries,” said Gunnery Sgt. Dimyas Perdue, the chief instructor with the Force Fitness Instructor Course. “This is also the first ever course in the Corps solely designed to teach Marines how to physically train members of their commands.”
Marines from all over the Marine Corps heard the call to join the ranks of force fitness instructor through Marine Administrative Message 460/16 and decided to take the challenge of enhancing the Marines under their charge.
“I heard about the MOS after reading the [Marine Administrative Message], and a fellow gunnery sergeant asked if I was interested in becoming a force fitness instructor,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jeffrey N. Schoebel, a force fitness instructor graduate at the Force Fitness Readiness Center. “I was, and we began the process to pursue the course.”
Marines like Shoebel, a motor transportation chief with 1st Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, went through a rigorous five-week course, where they learned about nutrition, injury prevention, anatomy and physiology and applied all they’ve learned throughout the course in the operating forces.
“Marines are known for being superior athletes but we don’t have an understanding of nutrition, injury prevention, anatomy and physiology,” said Perdue. “That is why we go through all of those topics throughout the course.”
The students learned through practical application just how useful the course was and couldn’t wait to apply it.
“As a class, we have seen tremendous results during the five-week course, so I look forward to working with my Marines and watching them improve,” Shoebel said.
Perdue hopes the instructors go back to their commands to teach and train their Marines with the knowledge they have learned and work toward making the Marine Corps a more lethal and prepared force.
Now the newly graduated force fitness instructors will take all they’ve learned in the past month and return to their units to implement everything they’ve learned.
“I look forward to going back to my command and looking at their capabilities, then using what I learned to tailor a workout plan designed for my entire company,” said Shoebel. “This course also provided me with a lot of knowledge and resources regarding nutrition, injury prevention and all-around physical fitness that I will be sharing with the other Marines. This new program is going to be much more effective than the typical three-mile run and pull ups.”
With the first force fitness instructors returning to their commands, Marines will attain new levels of physical fitness, not only through physical training but through proper nutrition and injury prevention techniques. The I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group will gain two of these instructors to help its Marines achieve a new level of combat readiness.