| 310th ESC | April 20, 2016
RAINELLE, W. Va. – Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Dawn-Noel P. Dunbar, assigned to the 811th Ordnance Company, 321st Ordnance Battalion, based in Raineville W.Va., has innovatively created a way to coordinate social media and Physical Readiness Training (PRT) to increase unit readiness and motivation for her fellow Soldiers.
Dunbar, a master fitness trainer who is pursuing certification under the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), uses the 811th Ordnance Company Facebook to provide the Soldiers of her unit with daily PRT instructions and a motivational quote.
“I completed my master fitness training at Ft. Knox in September of 2015, and we have been working on the fundamentals of physical readiness training during battle assemblies,” said Dunbar. “When we are together as a group, our PRT sessions will be more intense, and will get everybody prepared for the day to day job needs of the Army,” said Dunbar.
This provides Soldiers that are geographically separated from the helpful guidance of their leadership support chain a list of exercises to do as if they were at an active unit that does PRT on a daily basis.
“A lot of our Soldiers are firefighters who work different shifts,” said Dunbar, “the social media program inspires the firefighters, and they’re able to reach me at any time to ask questions about PRT or communicate together to get advice on their PRT program.”
“Because of the geographical challenges that we face as Army Reserve Soldiers, and not being mandated to show up at a PT session Monday through Friday,” continued Dunbar, “I think the Facebook page brings PRT to the house where they live, and they feel that they are still part of a motivated group.”
But the unit social media network doesn’t just offer general guidance on exercises for Soldiers.
The posts are provided with information that help the Soldiers of the 811th OD Company understand what is involved in PRT rather than encouraging them to complete random exercises on their own.
The PRT is designed for all phases of the Army Force Generation cycle ad can be modified as necessary according to approve policy.
“While we did learn other dynamic formats at the Master Fitness course, and I do those on the side, right now we are in the crawl stage with the unit PRT, where we concentrate on FM 7-22 because the program is enhanced by the Army PRT App,” said Dunbar.
Users of Dunbar’s social media program are also instructed to utilize the Army PRT app to enhance the PRT social media program.
“The PRT App has videos and approved alternative workouts if a Soldier is on a profile or reduced workout level, and offers a “hands-on” when the master fitness trainers aren’t there with the Soldiers to demonstrate,” said Dunbar.
The Army PRT app was developed by Army leaders to assist in measuring an individual’s height and weight, and offers tutorials to explain Army physical readiness subject to FM 7-22. The app can be downloaded to mobile devices online and used for free.
The role of an Army Reserve Soldier offers challenges to staying physically ready, but Dunbar’s daily posts are a valuable resource to help Soldiers with their ongoing fitness goals.
“The big issue that we see with PRT is our junior enlisted, in the ages 21 to 26, typically, are struggling the most with the discipline necessary to meet physical readiness requrements,” said Lt. Col. Gerald J. Krieger, battalion commander of the 321st Ordnance Battalion (Ammo), the higher headquarters for the 811th OD Company.
“Social media is useful in maintaining contact with the younger, more technologically connected generation of Soldiers to offer mentorship and put some of these ideas out there,” said Krieger. “The 811th OD CO volunteered to be the tip of the spear to see what kind of response we could get with a program like this before we push it to the other companies in the battalion,” said Krieger.
A personal trainer is an expense that most Soldiers cannot afford, so this well-developed social media program provides Soldiers with a similar opportunity without the expense.
“We’ve already seen some improvements in physical training readiness, but the real test will be in the months to come as APFT results come in,” said Krieger. “
With social media, we’re getting the information out on a daily basis, and we know our Soldiers are seeing it as we monitor analytics on the social media platform,” continued Krieger, “so while we don’t see them every day, we’re interacting with them and motivating them through social media.”
“Eventually, based on the success of the social media PRT program with the 811th Ordnance Company, we plan on adopting it for the other units in our battalion and proposing it to our higher headquarters, so our sister battalions can develop similar programs,” said Krieger.
Such hard work benefits not just the individual Soldier, but all members of the unit. To check out Dunbar’s Facebook PRT program, visit the 811th Ordnance Company Facebook page online.