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Recruit Sustainment Program, Army fitness guru help prepare new Soldiers for future 
By Army National Guard Spc. Bethany Fehringer, 104th Public Affairs Detachment 
Sgt. Ken 
Tennessee Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Kenneth Weichert, aka Sgt. Ken, teaches new exercise techniques to the new Soldiers with the Colorado Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion’s Recruit Sustainment Program Oct. 20, 2012 at an armory in Denver. The RSP trains new Soldiers for the challenges they will face at basic training and in their military careers. (Official Army National Guard Photo by Spc. Bethany Fehringer/Released)

Paratus preliator — prepared warrior — isn't just the motto of the Army National Guard's Recruit Sustainment Program; it's an acute description of the preparedness coaching Soldiers receive while awaiting Basic Training.

In the RSP, a Soldier is focused on three things: being mentally prepared, physically fit and administratively correct.

Simply stated, the RSP is designed to increase the success rate of Soldiers by fully preparing them before they depart for Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training.

An Oct. 20 event to help prepare the Soldiers included Tennessee Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Kenneth Weichert, aka “Sgt. Ken,” a master fitness trainer for the National Guard, who travels around the country giving motivational talks and classes about fitness and nutrition.

Through connections and relationships with the Colorado RSP cadre, Sgt. Ken visited the Denver Armory, where he taught the new Soldiers his philosophy on nutrition, and mental and physical fitness.

First, Sgt. Ken gave a lesson about the importance of eating right and in moderation.

He believes a person who is trying to lose weight can still indulge in something that isn’t on his or her diet plan – in moderation – but to remember to only have a small amount. He also discussed the finer details of clean eating. For example, he said people should choose whole grain breads instead of just wheat breads.

Then Sgt. Ken and the new Soldiers moved into the drill hall for a 45-minute workout, during which the Soldiers were in constant motion.

The certified Army master fitness trainer exercised the Soldiers to his self-designed Operation: Living Fit program. The total-body, boot-camp style workout intersperses bursts of cardio, such as jumping jacks and sprinting in place, with toning exercises including pushups and lunges.

Sgt. Ken said he thinks the new Soldiers really enjoyed and benefitted from his presentations.

“Colorado showed me in today’s example the best stamina, strength and esprit de corps out of any Recruit Sustainment Program I’ve ever trained in more than 30 states — and a couple of territories — over the last four years of being on the road doing the Sgt. Ken show,” he said.

A prepared unit is made of ready Soldiers, which allows units to focus on their specific training instead of having to stop everything just to teach a Soldier the basics, said Sgt. 1st Class Brannon Curiel, initial active duty training manager for the Recruiting and Retention Battalion.

The RSP cadre is always looking for unique ideas to integrate into training, he said.

“I think it’s something different that we can bring from outside the box,” said Curiel. “It’s something they wouldn’t see on a regular basis, and it’s kind of a fresh and new thing that we don’t do every month. Plus, the ideas he has about nutrition and personal training and motivation — it's good for the RSP people to see that.”

The RSP doesn’t train only on physical fitness; it also works to instill other values of the Army into the new Soldiers. This includes National Guard Bureau-required trainings such as equal opportunity and suicide prevention, along with more tactical training such as land navigation.

“I think it’s great, and I take great pride in that,” said Curiel. “We get a lot of honor grads who come back. It’s also the Soldier bringing something to the table, but I like to think that the Soldiers are learning something here as well.”