Six drill instructors from New York City’s Fire Department spent two weeks on Fort Jackson as part of a program designed to let them compare training methods with the Army.
It’s part of an on-going partnership between FDNY and Fort Jackson, which has seen firefighters observe — and participate in — training programs of the Master Fitness Training Course at the Army Physical Fitness School.
“We’ve got 42 personnel, five of which are cadets that are in the ROTC program and six New York City firefighters,” said Capt. Matthew Dixon, with the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School. “We’ve had a mixture of a class, because we’ve got firefighters, cadets and active duty and reserve component students that come through the Master Fitness Trainer Course.”
Dixon said the firefighters were present as part of an ongoing partnership with the New York Fire Department that shares best practices with the Army.
“About three years ago, we reached out to the firefighters because they’re tactical athletes just like we’re tactical athletes,” Dixon said. “Their mission is not the same as ours, but a lot of the things they have to do physically are very similar.”
The program gives FDNY instructors the chance to observe first-hand advanced Army physical fitness training, and integrate it into instruction at the New York Fire Department training program.
“We’re gaining a tremendous amount of understanding and background of what the Army does,” said Lt. David Gomez, an instructor with the FDNY Fitness Unit. “Previous units that have come down here have laid the foundation, and we’ve utilized a ton of what we’ve learned here at the academy. Every time we come down here we’re gaining knowledge.
“It’s been an outstanding experience,” he said.
“The first thing they learn in the distance learning portion is anatomy and physiology,” Dixon said. “Specifically, things to better understand the body and how it works, prior to learning the principals of strength and conditioning.
Once they come to the actual resident course, they learn anatomy and physiology from the instructors, as well as program design classes — how to properly program for anaerobic strength and power, resistance training workouts, as well as aerobic and anaerobic endurance programming.”
The program wrapped last Friday, with the firefighters receiving a token of appreciation from the Master Fitness Training Course.
“We’re giving them possibly the highest award that we can give them for physical fitness, which is the Army PT patch,” said Mike Salter, course manager for the Master Fitness Trainer Course. “It’s been an honor.”
Salter said Fort Jackson is expected to send Soldiers to New York later this year to participate in the fire academy program.
“We’re also reaching out to other first responders in the South Carolina area, specifically near Columbia, to hopefully integrate this training with them, as well,” Dixon said.