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Face of Defense: Army NCO Prepares for Tough Competition

By Army Sgt. Jesse Smith
2nd Combat Aviation Brigade

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea, Jan. 30, 2015 – The gym is as big as basketball court and is dimly lit. White powder chalk hangs in the air. Sweat drips from a soldier’s forehead. He walks with his barrel-chest out up to a squat-rack and stares at the weight.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Vann, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the communications section for the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, warms up to perform a crossfit workout at the fitness annex on Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Jan. 28, 2015. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jesse Smith

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

He looks at the weight as though he is staring down an enemy on a battlefield. His eyes are fixated on it like an animal stalking its prey. Once he feels ready to defeat this enemy, he steps underneath the bar.

The soldier was Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Vann, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the communications section for the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division here.

Vann, who hails from Chicago, is training for the upcoming 2015 CrossFit Games open competition which begins Feb. 26. A workout of the day will be posted online and he will have a week to complete the exercise and be judged by one of the certified judges here on Camp Humphreys.

He will then upload his scorecard online after which he will be ranked among all of the other competitors in the world based on his score, but Vann did not always think that crossfit was the sport for him.

Training Builds Self-Confidence

Vann first heard about crossfit after redeploying from Afghanistan in 2011. Once back in the U.S., he was able to watch the 2012 CrossFit Games and he said that it caught his attention. He said he didn’t actually begin doing crossfit training -- which he initially found to be intimidating -- until early 2013.

“Once I found the courage to actually come in and try it, I saw that I could do it,” Vann said. “Anyone who puts in the time can do the same thing.”

Vann said he believes that crossfit training can benefit soldiers due to its varied ranges of workouts and how it builds self-confidence.

He said that it needs to be engrained in every soldier to be prepared for the unknown, and crossfit training can help a person be physically ready for any task.

“It makes us mentally and physically fit at any given time should we have to be ready to fight,” Vann said.

Workout Regimen

Vann said he tries to do at least two workouts every day to include a specific muscle strength workout and a crossfit workout of the day. He does one in the morning and then another in the evening.

Vann said he hopes to one day retire and become a trainer at his own crossfit gym.

“I feel like I am good at motivating others and I really just love to be in the gym,” Vann said.

Just like he does in the gym, Vann will continue to step under the bar and lift it and his fellow soldiers to higher standards.


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