USS RUSHMORE, At Sea (NNS) -- More than 50 sailors from USS Rushmore (LSD 47) shed 450 pounds over 12 weeks in a shipboard weight loss competition which ended Sept. 3.
Sailors competed for prizes and promoted a healthy lifestyle while deployed in the Persian Gulf with the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (BHRESG).
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW) Marvin Collins spearheaded the event with Seaman (SW) Tenisha Osburn, a Hospital Corpsman striker. As the official weight recorders, they tallied the teams' progress. Each team was made up of four Sailors.
"The command will support most any event that promotes healthy living," said Collins. "I could see the teams that were taking this seriously would come in all the time to weigh themselves and see their progress."
The team of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," (GBAU) lost the most weight and won prizes from Morale, Welfare and Recreation, including vouchers for the ship's store, a new set of workout clothes and 72 hours of special liberty. The grand prize went to Quartermaster 2nd Class Shane Smith from Oroville, Wash., who lost the most weight on the winning team. He will receive a free plane ticket from Hawaii to homeport San Diego at the end of the deployment.
"The prizes didn't matter. It was about getting healthier and having the motivation to do it," said Smith, who lost a total of 37 pounds. "Now that it's all over and I get to go home earlier, it makes all the hard work worth it."
Team GBAU had the assistance of Quartermaster 1st Class (SW) Susan Bradley as their personal coach and dietitian. She implemented a strict gym schedule for her team and took extreme measures to see her team succeed.
"I had to slap cookies from their hands sometimes," said Bradley. "I mainly tried to provide healthy foods for them and I held a five-hour aerobic-thon to jump-start the competition. I am so proud of them all."
"It took a lot of hard work, dedication and the help from our teammates," said Chief Operations Specialist (SW) Charles Bonafilia, a member of GBAU. "After I was threatened to be kicked off the team for gaining six pounds the first week, I saw a lot of positive results from the workout program."
Hull Technician 2nd Class (SW) Shad Jones had the greatest individual success, losing 39 pounds, the most weight by a single person in the competition.
"I ate a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and my wife and mom sent me tons of tuna and salmon from home," said Jones. "My family was a big support and they couldn't believe how I look after I sent some recent photos home."
Jones saw the competition as a chance to completely transform his way of life and wants to continue down this path of fitness he has paved for himself.
"A diet is a quick fix. I had to completely change my whole lifestyle and reprogram myself," continued Jones. "I wanted to do this right. Being mindful of all the foods I eat, I drink tons of water and I feel great about what I'm doing."
Rushmore, part of BHRESG, is currently operating in the 5th Fleet area of operations and is conducting Maritime Security Operations (MSO).
MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
For more news from USS Rushmore, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/lsd47/.