SAN DIEGO -- Upon returning from exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2006 in August, USS Rushmore kicked off a new five-day-a-week command physical training (PT) program to ensure sailors are physically ready to meet the challenges of future operations.

“Having PT each morning ensures each duty section will get 4-5 days of PT a week,” said Senior Chief Master-at-Arms Andrew Stringer, Rushmore’s command fitness coordinator, “And it makes for a stable plan of the day since every day starts out the same.”

Rushmore’s PT program includes an hour of station-training Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the wooden well deck of the amphibious assault ship and a 45-minute calisthenics workout Tuesday and Thursday on the flight deck followed by a run along the piers.

“Station training consists of groups of five sailors at each of 50 stations laid out in a ring in the well deck. We do 45 seconds of calisthenics, run two laps around the well deck and then move to the next station and do this for 45 minutes,” explained Quartermaster 1st Class Susan Bradley, who served as command fitness coordinator at Naval Station San Diego Port Ops before reporting to Rushmore.

According to Rushmore’s leading corpsman, Chief Hospital Corpsman Taryn Laube, the advantage of PT first thing in the morning is threefold: avoiding the heat of the day in San Diego; giving the chiefs and leading petty officers control over their division’s liberty; and getting a jump start the crew’s metabolism, which facilitates not only weight loss, but also makes for a more alert, productive and safer crew.

Rushmore’s program is an “all hands” evolution, the only exception being sailors on light/limited duty or in that day's duty section.