Marine Corps Base Quantico --
Force Fitness Instructor Course and new MOS roll out aboard Quantico
The Force Fitness Instructor (FFI) program called for by the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller is well underway at the Force Fitness Readiness Center of Excellence aboard Marine Base Quantico.
“The Commandant wanted a structured physical fitness program,” said retired Lt. Col. Joseph C. Shusko, director/deputy of the Force Fitness Readiness Center of Excellence (FFRCE). “He wanted more focus on the non-physical fitness aspects, to include nutrition and physical therapy.”
Neller’s Frago 01/2016 Advance to Contact directed the establishment of the program no later than the end of fiscal year 2017, “to ensure we are both physically fit and mentally tough, we will build a cadre of Force Fitness Instructors, assigned at the company/battery/squadron level, who will be responsible to the commander for the development of the unit’s physical training program.”
The goal, he stated, is to have on a daily basis, “the maximum number of Marines present and effective for duty that are trained and equipped with operationally functional equipment, and ready for immediate deployment worldwide.”
At the moment, that isn’t happening. According to Shusko about 4,000 Marines each year report some sort of musculoskeletal injury. He said most of those could have been prevented with proper warm ups and cool downs, which is where the newly minted Force Fitness Instructors come into play.
He explained that the FFI, using the latest in scientifically based techniques, modern technology and the sports medicine field will seek to establish a Corps-wide culture of total fitness.
The initial course started Oct. 3, with 43 Marines who will earn the new MOS 0919 after they complete the five-week course, making them subject matter experts in fitness for the commanders in the OpForces.
“The overall intent of the program is to change the way Marines see fitness,” said Gunnery Sgt. Dimyas Perdue, chief instructor. “One of the biggest things is to remove the negative stigma of reporting injury, as well as seeing the importance of warming up and proper recovery.”
The staff of 10—eight Marines, one civilian athletic trainer and one civilian specializing in strength and conditioning—will train FFIs in nutrition, injury prevention and sports medicine, as well as how to manage the daily physical fitness regimen of the unit.
Student Gunnery Sgt. Tasha Winslow said the FFI course will provide her the opportunity to teach her fellow Marines at Training Command CPAC NAS Pensacola how to PT properly.
"I want to challenge them and provide education on something they may not have knowledge of,” she said. "I want to gain knowledge. I want take legitimate information regarding supplements and nutrition back to the force, that way I can recommend safe things to the Marines.”
Two weeks into the course, Winslow said she has been motivated by other Marines in the program.
"Everyone is physically fit in some way—naturally or what they've worked for,” she said. “The Marine Corps has more than runners. The Marines here run the gambit of physical fitness and it's seen daily through their actions from the classroom to the asphalt, everything from all-around sound Marines to those that specialize in lifting, Crossfit and much more. You have those that know how to eat and you can see that it is truly a lifestyle."
Upon graduation, she and her fellow graduates will earn the MOS collateral duty 0919 and return to their units where they will serve at the fitness experts to their commanders.
Winslow added, “I'm going to be a better SNCO. I'm going to be a better asset to my commander and my Marines.”
Sergeant or above at the time of application, with at least one year of service remaining at the completion of FFI Course
Must have a PFT score of 250 or higher, 1st class CFT, and be on full duty status forthe last six months
Previous formal instruction experience, such as martial arts instructor trainer, martial arts trainer, formal learning center instructor, is recommended but is not a pre-requisite