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Force Commander Awards BOXESG with "Green 'H'"

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070324-05
Release Date: 3/24/2007 4:19:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) James Seward, USS Boxer Public Affairs

ABOARD USS BOXER, At sea (NNS) -- Each ship of the USS Boxer (LHD 4) Expeditionary Strike Group (BOXESG) was awarded the Force Commander’s Annual Health Promotion Unit Award, also known as the “Green H” on March 12 for excellence in promoting healthy lifestyles.

Throughout the past year, BOXESG promoted the importance of several health issues such as women and men’s health, tobacco cessation, physical fitness and readiness, suicide prevention, mishap prevention and force health protection.

“Our goal was to promote healthy lifestyles by offering different programs that help Sailors make proactive decisions,” said Lt. Camille Moss, Boxer’s general medical officer. “The most important part in getting the Green ‘H’ was teaching crewmembers how to prevent injuries and illnesses.”

Following Boxer’s lead, each ship created a healthy lifestyles committee comprised of their safety, medical, chaplain services departments and each command’s drug and alcohol prevention advisor (DAPA). The safety departments were responsible for informing the crew about industrial environment safety, the medical departments took the lead by providing weight management and smoking cessation classes. BOXESG’s chaplains taught the crew about suicide prevention, and the DAPAs advocated that Sailors drink in moderation.

“The award couldn’t have been achieved without the teamwork that was displayed between Boxer and the rest of the ships in the strike group,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW) Carl Pickel. “Everyone took initiative in coordinating the different programs and took all the right steps to get the job done.”

According to Lt. Phillip Bamford, BOXESG’s Green H award coordinator, the strike group’s main emphasis is on its tobacco cessation classes.

“Programs that promote wellness through prevention are observed closely,” said Bamford. “Making sure that we promote a tobacco-free environment helps keep the ship’s physical readiness standards high, which ensures the command’s success.”

Boxer led the way by offering two one-month smoking cessation classes with up to 20 Sailors per class. Nearly every Sailor graduated the course, and four Sailors from each class reported that they were still smoke-free after a six-month follow up.

BOXESG also takes into consideration Sailors who didn’t pass the Navy’s Physical Readiness Test (PRT), taking proactive steps toward helping them correct fitness problems by implementing programs such as mandatory physical training and weight and diet management.

By receiving the award, each ship in BOXESG is allowed to paint a Green H on the ship’s bridge. The award demonstrates to ships throughout the fleet that the ships of BOXESG are taking significant steps in taking care of more than 6,500 Sailors and Marines.

The ships of BOXESG plan to maintain the standard they have set in health promotions, with the ultimate goal of earning a consecutive Green H.

Boxer is the flagship for Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group which is currently conducting maritime security operations (MSO) in support of U.S. 5th Fleet. 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.

The commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility encompasses about 7.5 million square miles and includes the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 27 countries, includes three critical chokepoints at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

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