The U.S. Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program, designed to help troops fight the mental stress associated with combat, will be added to basic training programs beginning Oct. 1, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey told reporters during a press conference last month at Fort Jackson, SC. The program will be covered in the first week of basic training and will be continued throughout all levels of training for officers and enlisted personnel, he said.
“We were heavily weighted on providing assistance and treatment after we identified the problem, and we were a little light on the preventive side,” Casey said.
A record number of soldiers committed suicide in 2008, which pushed the rate of military suicides past the civilian rate for the first time since the Army began keeping records. One training portion of the program will bring sergeants to the University of Pennsylvania to study with the staff of the Positive Psychology Center. Fifty noncommissioned officers will begin with a week of training at the center, with 300 more scheduled to arrive in November and December.
The Sterling Center YMCA in Beverly, MA, is hoping to go green with the help of U.S. Department of Energy federal stimulus funding. The Y is one of 31 organizations in Massachusetts that applied for $100 million in federal funding through the state's Department of Energy Resources. The Y applied for a $300,000 grant to cover the cost of the cogeneration (combined heat and power) system. Cogeneration systems use natural gas to produce energy and heat water. A total of $32.3 million was requested for 28 organizations that sought funding to invest in cogeneration, including the University of Massachusetts and the Hyannis Youth and Community Center.