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Sun Kings Keep Fit at Sea

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120410-24

By Lt. Blake A. Baccigalopi, VAW-116 Public Affairs

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- The Sun Kings of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 116 are preparing for the upcoming Navywide Physical Fitness Assessment cycle by creating and meeting fitness goals while aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).

Lt. Joseph Early, VAW-116's command fitness leader (CFL), ensures the physical readiness of his command whether deployed or back at Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, Calif. Early created a regimen designed to break the monotony of physical fitness by introducing VAW-116's new program, which employs a diverse routine of weight and cardio workouts, as well as diet and nutrition recommendations.

"Everyone wants to be physically fit; the desire is already there," said Early. "It's all about finding what motivates a person to follow through and just doing it."

Early isn't the only one motivating his Sailors to get fit and healthy. He has several assistant CFLs who help provide deckplate leadership and support to members assigned to the Fitness Enhancement Program (FEP) as well as to any individuals who wish to become fit and lead a healthier lifestyle.

One important feature of the program is being able to tailor it to the individual. Each member is responsible for setting a goal, then the CFL and ACFLs work with the Sailor to create a fitness and nutrition plan.

"Not every person in our command is the same, but every person has the means of being successful and accomplishing their fitness goals. It's simply my job to provide them the tools they need to succeed," said Early.

VAW-116 has its own success story with Senior Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Ryan Corcoran, who battled with his weight and fitness the majority of his military career. Since the squadron deployed three months ago, Corcoran has lost 22 pounds.

"Of all the fitness programs in which I've participated, this has yielded the most results," said Corcoran. "It is a relief to finally find a routine that is not only enjoyable, but remarkably easy to sustain, both while deployed and at home. The constructive criticism and attention I receive are no doubt the catalyst for my success."

VAW-116 is one of nine squadrons that comprise Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, embarked aboard Lincoln, the flagship for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9. CSG 9 also includes guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, composed of guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).

CSG 9 is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts, and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Fitness is one of the key elements of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative which consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.

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