Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Raad conducts a sledgehammer exercise. Photo courtesy of HHC, USAG

HHC conducts PT with joint base fire department

Each morning when Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company U.S. Army Garrison prepare for unit physical training, they are normally completing exercises needed for the Army Combat Fitness Test. However, Monday was a little unique because PT was done at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Fire Department.

HHC, USAG 1st Sgt. Michael King said the joint PT session was done because one of the unit’s goals is building relationships with other agencies on the joint base.

“We see each other every day, but nobody really knows what HHC does,” said King. “In an effort to get out and build these relationships, we are starting to do out of the norm PT.”

King added that having PT with the fire department also provided an opportunity to learn a little history about their role during 9/11 and the attack on the Pentagon.

“We are coming up on the 20th year anniversary of 9/11 and this fire department was one of the fire departments that responded to the attack on the Pentagon,” he said. “(We) also (gained) knowledge and appreciation for what they do. We drive there every day and we know what they contributed to the cause.

“After PT, we were able to go through the fire department and see some of the memorials and pictures they had on the wall (with) the history of the fire department and how they supported the Pentagon. There was part of a crash truck that was destroyed at the Pentagon and parts of that crash truck are (hanging) in various spaces in the loading bay as a reminder of the people who (were on the ground) during that attack.”

King pointed out that the training firefighters have to complete is similar to Soldiers because both have to physically train, wear and carry gear that’s needed to save a battle buddy or someone from a fire.

“Not necessarily the shoot, move and communicate part, but … (the) posture and explosive power that you need to be a Soldier, you still have to have to be a firefighter,” King said. “When we did the PT, (we realized that) carrying a battle buddy, (is similar to) a firefighter (who carries) a victim out of the house. (It’s) the same (way) a Soldier moves a wounded (battle buddy) off the battlefield. A lot of what they do kind of ties into what we do.”

Although the PT session was out of the norm for the Soldiers, King said they enjoyed having it with the fire department. He said the unit didn’t have any expectations and the firefighters were awesome because they treated the Soldiers like family.

“I always found that PT is the one equalizer that will bring a group together no matter what,” said King. “Going through that PT session together, (we had a chance to) stop and remember our lineage and history of the brave men and women who responded on 9/11. It was a great relationship, a great bridge that was built there for all of us.”

Even though King hasn’t chosen the unit’s next stop for PT, he would like to work with other on-base agencies and branches of the military.

“We look forward (to working with) other agencies within our operability,” King said. “(We plan) to get ourselves out there and be one team, one fight.”

Pentagram editor Catrina Francis can be reached at


By Catrina Francis

Pentagram Editor