USS BONHOMME RICHARD, At Sea (NNS) -- With the arrival of the new year, Sailors and Marines serving with the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) resolve to maintain their physical and mental readiness while deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
Crew members are staying fit not only to meet military standards but to also help manage stress and sustain mission readiness, taking full advantage of health programs and fitness challenges while eating right.
"Being healthy is not just about weight loss," says Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF) Dante Tanada, attached to Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 9. "It is about having a healthy body and mind, which enables Sailors and Marines to do their job efficiently and effectively."
A consistent fitness regimen remains the healthiest way to cope with the physical and mental demands of operating at sea.
"Since I started working out, I have more energy for work, and I feel more relaxed after relieving my stress in the gym," says Operations Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Timothy Truong, attached to Commander, Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 7.
Earlier this month, personnel aboard Bonhomme Richard signed up for a 30-day fitness challenge, which can be met by completing the 100 mile option or the elite 150 mile option. Any miles completed on a treadmill, elliptical machine or running on the flight deck will count towards the overall mileage. Participants meeting the challenge will receive a t-shirt marking their accomplishment.
"I created this program to give Sailors and Marines the opportunity to start the new year by setting fitness goals for themselves," says Anne Bolton, the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation coordinator. "This challenge provides an excellent opportunity for the participants to gain an excellent foundation for fitness."
"I want to see if I have what it takes to complete 150 miles and get in better shape by increasing my stamina and endurance for running," said Truong.
The fitness challenge is part of a larger effort to promote healthy habits during deployment. Bonhomme Richard's Medical Department offers classes for tobacco cessation, hypertension and cholesterol and weight management.
The ship also offers yoga and spin classes. The galley tries to offer healthy food choices such as chicken, fish, vegetables, a fully stocked salad bar and fresh fruits as often as possible.
Bonhomme Richard is the command platform for the Bonhomme Richard ARG/11th MEU team, currently supporting maritime security operations in 5th Fleet.
The Bonhomme Richard ARG consists of the command element, COMPHIBRON 7; amphibious transport dock USS Cleveland (LPD 7); amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47); Tactical Air Control Squadron 12, Detachment 1; Helicopter Sea Combat 23, Detachment 3; Assault Craft Unit 1, Detachment B; Assault Craft Unit 5, Detachment F; Beachmaster Unit 1, Detachment B; and FST 9.
For more news from Commander, Amphibious Squadron 7, www.navy.mil/local/cas7/.