Navy Fitness Not Beat by the Heat


SANTA RITA, GUAM -- The summer heat isn’t slowing down sailors when it comes to fitness. Sailors swam, ran and competed under the sun at Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s (MWR) Admiral’s Cup Summer Sports Day June 15 at Polaris Point, Guam. As a salute to deployed service members in Iraq, members of the U.S. Transportation Command Joint Intelligence Operations Center at Scott Air Force Base decided to run, walk, swim, bike or rollerblade 6,681 miles, which is the distance from their drill location at Scott Air Force Base to the heart of Baghdad, during June and July.

The Polaris Point event featured categories for traditional sports such as sand volleyball and softball as well as a hot dog eating contest. The competitions were held throughout the day at Polaris Point, starting with a triathlon at 5:30 a.m.

“We’re all out here enjoying the sun and beach and just trying to have fun,” says Master at Arms Seaman Apprentice Aric Valliere, who competed in the softball tournament as well as a “tough man contest” that required teams to move as a group with bags of coconuts weighing them down.

The different events augment the command’s training, Valliere says.

“It helps us stay active,” he says. “The better we work together, the better we’ll do.”

Similar to the Spring Sports Day in March and the Winter Sports Day in November, this series of events at Polaris Point is about getting sailors outdoors and building camaraderie.

“This is why we love fitness. This is why we love recreation,” says Sara Merwin, MWR fitness coordinator. “As long as sailors are having a good time and everybody stays safe and healthy, MWR did our job.”

Things were also heating up at Scott Air Force Base for the Fitness Challenge to Baghdad. The Navy Reserve unit will track their daily exercise to reach the 6,681 miles goal. The totals will be tallied and recorded by the unit fitness coordinator to verify that the combined unit totals span the distance to the Iraqi capital.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Houldson, operations officer, devised the program as a way to pay respect to the sacrifices of their mobilized counterparts. Nearly 30 percent of the unit is currently mobilized or on full-time orders.

Cmdr. Robert Arp, commander, says the fitness challenge is an excellent way to unite the unit members across the miles. He is confident the unit will meet its goal and is planning a challenge to other Navy Reserve units with a second fitness challenge--"Jog to Afghanistan."

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