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Colonel Robert Born, commander of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), recently addresses leaders from across the brigade about physical readiness at an obstacle course on Fort Campbell. Readiness is a priority for Bastogne brigade. (Sgt. James Griffin/1st Brigade Combat Team) 

As the fog hovered over Johnson Field, Jan. 14, a group of determined captains assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), began their stretches and warmup exercises at 6 a.m., in preparation for the arrival of Col. Robert Born. 

This morning was special to these captains as they would be conducting physical training with their brigade commander, and soon to be senior rater.

For these future company commanders, PT with Bastogne 6 is an opportunity to build camaraderie, test their grit and capitalize on a rare opportunity to gain insight from a seasoned, senior Army leader. 

The morning started with a few warmup drills, a brisk run to the obstacle course for their main workout and ended with a few relay races, activating their competitive spirit.

During rest periods, the officers gained a bit of mentorship by Born and gained a shared understanding of how critical physical fitness is to the brigade’s readiness.

“This was very important,” said Capt. Cory Trainor, assistant operations officer, 326th Brigade Engineer Battalion. “I definitely learned a lot about the team and had some fun out here today.”

The tough and challenging workout was common to these officers as this is a lifestyle for them, but the opportunity to learn about each other and share information was special.

“The esprit de corps and warfighting prowess is great within this brigade,” Born said.

During the after-action review portion of their physical training session, everyone gained a shared understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, the brigade commander’s vision for readiness, and where the unit can improve to heighten its success.

An emphasis on the company commander and first sergeant dynamic for readiness was a talking point during their conversation on the impacts of taking command.

“A really strong PT culture is one of the fundamental competencies of an infantry brigade combat team,” Born said. “I’m looking to you to ensure your unit does good PT, and you enforce the standards.”

Physical fitness is just one of the facets of overall unit readiness, but these future company commanders learned their role in ensuring it stays at a high-level.

The young captains didn’t just discuss readiness but discussed communication, the importance of detailed planning and how being a commander is a significant point in their career. 

“I’m very excited to become a company commander,” Trainor said. “Every job is important but I’m very excited to get down there and be with the Soldiers where the rubber meets the road.”

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