Maj. Michael Tiffany led 16 fellow Command and General Staff Officer Course students from his class in organized group physical fitness training Aug. 21 near Sherman Army Airfield.
He said the organized group physical fitness training mandate is new for the 2018 academic year, but students have always been responsible for maintaining physical fitness.
“There’s no better way of building team camaraderie within our smaller groups than participating in organized (physical training) in the morning,” Tiffany said. “We do PT on our own for three days, and we do (physical training) for two days as a group.”
Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy, Command and General Staff College commandant and commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, directed CGSOC and School of Advanced Military Studies students and faculty to participate in organized physical training.
The initiative further emphasizes the Army chief of staff’s focus on readiness. Top physical fitness performers are recognized at CGSOC and SAMS graduations with the Iron Major Awards.
Tiffany said students conduct the organized group training with their staff groups or seminars. He said the officers have an overall obligation to exercise five days a week.
“From my perspective, implementing the policy had nothing to do with a lack of fitness among the officers,” Tiffany said. “It was about our having opportunities to interact with each other as a team outside of the classroom environment while doing something physically challenging and fun.”
Tiffany said the athletic directors for CGSOC staff groups are volunteers. He said he would eventually develop a program that prepares classmates for future physical requirements.
“We are going to take the (Army Occupational Physical Assessment Test) and the (Army Combat Readiness Test),” Tiffany said. “We’ll build our program around exercises that will support us doing well on those tests, too.”
Maj. Cara Hamaguchi, of Staff Group 15A, echoed Tiffany and said the interaction among the students outside of a classroom environment would have value. She said the activities were a resourceful way to get to know each other as professionals.
“The personalities really come out on the PT field,” Hamaguchi said. “We get a glimpse of each other during the work inside and actually learn more about our classmates’ personalities out here.”
Tiffany said CGSC affords the time to ensure groups can participate in physical training together and meet the commander’s intent. He said assessing physical readiness using the standard Army physical fitness test alone is not the most efficient process.
“The APFT is a measurement of aerobic capacity and muscular endurance,” Tiffany said. “It’s not a thorough assessment of muscular strength or mobility. So, that is something we’ll do internally using various methods and measurements.”
Tiffany said the custom fitness program for his group will include elements that work on aerobic capacity and muscular endurance along with anaerobic exercises. He said officers are encouraged to use other resources on the post as well.
“We’ll build anaerobic areas by adding sprints and getting into the weight room to lift heavy weights,” Tiffany said.
Tiffany said the first day of group physical fitness was a success for the members of his team. He said all of the chosen activities came from the Army’s field manual for physical readiness training.
“We did 10 minutes of burpees and squats, took a break before doing 10 minutes of push ups and rowers,” Tiffany said. “And now we are going to do team relay races.”
Pictured above: Staff Group 15A Command and General Staff Officer Course students Maj. Cara Hamaguchi, Capt. Zach Morris and Capt. James Peck perform pushups during organized physical training with their staff group Aug. 21 on the soccer field by Sherman Army Airfield. Photo by Prudence Siebert