More than just another PT session

Springboarding off the success of the Warrior Pride Challenge triathlons in July and August, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s Army Substance Abuse Program hosted an even bigger athletic event this month: the WPC pentathlon.

Thirty-three service members representing the Army, Navy and Air Force arrived at the Panzer Local Training Area Sept. 15 at 6:30 a.m. for some physical training with a twist: a 25-meter grenade throw, a one-mile run, a 50-meter water can carry, a second mile run, a 50-meter tire flip and 10 shots on a laser firing range.

“We held the pentathlon to bring people together for a fun, engaging and challenging experience,” said Marianne Campano, ASAP prevention coordinator. “It also helps meet our overall goals to reduce negative incidents associated with high-risk drinking, foster wellness, and build community and social ties.

The premise of WPC, Campano’s brainchild, is that if service members are involved in alcohol-free activities, they are less likely to make poor decisions. Since young adults ages 18-24 are the most at-risk group for alcohol-related incidents, ASAP is offering those in ranks E5 and below free recreational activities.
The event was also part of September’s Suicide Prevention Month activities in the garrison.

“The physical health benefits of exercise are well known, but exercise also provides many mental health benefits. It has been shown to reduce stress, improve self-esteem and ward off feelings of anxiety or depression,” Campano said.
It also helps service members create social ties, another protective factor against suicidal behaviors.

“Engaging them in events … helps them to build resiliency,” said Bala Fischer, USAG Stuttgart ASAP manager. “This is where they’re able to socialize and engage with other people, and they engage with us. It’s a win-win situation for all of us.
“Just this one event exemplifies all the Comprehensive Fitness Program dimensions: physical, emotional, spiritual, social and family.”

Air Force Capt. Christopher Wiley of U.S. European Command J6 took first place, followed by Pfc. Justin Stephens and Pvt. Fabian Rodriquez, of 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Headquarters Support Company. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Karen Williams took first place in the Women’s Division.

For more information, visit the USAG Stuttgart Warrior Pride Challenge Facebook page. More photos are at the garrison Flickr site at