July 21, 2017 –
The sunrise illuminated the track and the air was warm and humid as soldiers jogged in laps and warmed up for their daily physical training session. In the center of the field a brief was given to another small group of soldiers who listened intently to the instructions being given.
This was the opening scene for an Army Physical Fitness Test for soldiers of the 314th Press Camp Headquarters and subordinate units as part of their training in the Fight Tonight Initiative. The objective of Fight Tonight is for soldiers to train and maintain standards to be ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, supporting and relieving units overseas.
“We have to be ready to ‘fight tonight’ as we were in Germany and the 80s and 90s,” said Col. Adam Roth, the brigade commander. “The Fight Tonight Initiative gets us back to the basics: training, maintaining, leading and caring.”
The initiative requires constant training of each soldier in areas such as physical training to ensure each soldier is physically fit and able to carry out basic warrior tasks in a deployed setting.
“I feel great, exhausted but great,” said Sgt. Chase Lawrence, a public affairs specialist from the 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. “You have to be able to get out there and pull your weight as well as your buddy’s in case they go down.”
Lawrence lost 40 pounds in an effort to maintain his personal physical fitness and support the Fight Tonight Initiative.
“It’s too easy,” said Lawrence. “Any of us can do this. If you went through basic then you can get through this.”
Another warrior task required by the initiative is weapons qualification where soldiers show their proficiency through rifle marksmanship by hitting at least 23 out of 40 targets at varying distances on a 300 meter range.
“I shoot a lot better now than I did in basic,” said Spc. Matthew Roberts, a public affairs specialist for the 314th PCH. “ You really just have to focus and remember the training that we do every month and it’s easy.”
“Shooting is a very perishable skill,” said Lawrence. “If you don’t practice it a few times a year you will see your accuracy drop.”
The challenge for reservists is to maintain the same level of readiness as active duty soldiers with limited training opportunities. The Fight Tonight Initiative is an effort to maximize those opportunities to ensure reserve Soldiers are prepared to answer the call to action by maintaining the army standards of training…all this, while working regular jobs in conjunction with their reserve duty.
“The soldiers trained hard this weekend,” said Capt. Christopher Sumter, the acting commander of the 314th PCH. “Completing this training has increased our readiness and is helping to ensure that we are one step closer to being ready to fight tonight.”