MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va., Aug. 14, 2017 — Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Odom is one fit Marine. Odom, the training noncommissioned officer for Marine Corps Systems Command Quantico, has earned a spot at the Corps’ 3rd Annual High Intensity Tactical Training Athlete Championship, scheduled to take place at Camp Pendleton, California, Aug. 28-31.
The event brings together the top male and female tactical athletes from each region to compete to be the best tactical athlete in the Marine Corps. Competitors are challenged on their mental and physical capabilities through strength and conditioning activities that mirror the seven foundational movements in the HITT program. All activities support combat readiness by increasing Marines’ physical capabilities.
Odom earned his place at the preliminaries here this summer, where he participated in a number of events, including a prone three-cone drill, prone agility drill, kneeling power ball throw, board jump, 25-yard dash and 300-yard shuttle. Although he signed up two days before the competition and had little time to prepare, Odom came out on top.
“I wasn’t really nervous at all, but did struggle a little with the cone drill because I hadn’t practiced agility drills since my high school days,” he said. “But I still tried my best and stayed focused.”
Odom was selected to represent Quantico as the top male competitor alongside the installation’s top female Marine, Maj. Kerry Hogan from Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
“I was very proud he wanted to participate in the competition and execute the course,” said Odom’s supervisor, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Lodovico. “I hope he looks forward to the big competition in California, because the sky is the limit for him.”
Through the Force Fitness Instructor program, the Corps seeks to promote innovative healthy physical fitness alternatives, such as HITT, to enhance operational fitness levels and optimize readiness for all Marines and, in turn, improve physical fitness and Combat Fitness Test scores, and Body Composition Program productivity. The program focuses on flexibility and agility, as well as strength and stamina.
In addition to the command’s PT program, Odom takes part in CrossFit and local competitions, which, he says, help him stay motivated in his career and face any challenges that come his way.
“The competitive nature of CrossFit is rewarding because I get to see my progress as my repetitions increase in weightlifting and my numbers increase in different moves on the board,” he said. “My coach actually heard about the HITT challenge and encouraged me to sign up because of the similarities in both workout routines.”
Odom joined the Corps four years ago, just one year after graduating high school. Physical fitness has always been a priority, and he wanted to serve his country. The Corps allowed him to forge his interests into a career.
“The Marine Corps is the best branch of the military there is,” Odom said.
Up Next: Special Operations
In March, the Florida native completed Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command selection school at Stone Bay, North Carolina. For now, he is in charge of Marine training at MCSC, but will soon head back to Stone Bay for the next portion of MARSOC training.
Working at MCSC is a different type of challenge, Odom said — one where he gets to work his mind by learning about computers, while staying focused on physical training.
“Sergeant Odom is excellent, motivated and does whatever it takes to get the job done,” Lodovico said. “His job while in MARSOC training and the HITT competition will be to perform the best he can. He really builds upon basic knowledge, and I know what he’s capable of.”
Odom credits his success the physical and mental training he has received in the Corps, as well as the extra workouts he puts in during his off-duty time.
“I think it’s cool that I get to go to California and represent the command and base,” he said. “I love competing; that’s totally my wheelhouse, so I’m pretty excited for it.”