Members of the Fort Benning-based 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, gathered at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, to reinforce the value of spirituality in a soldier's life.
More than 500 attended a Spiritual Fitness Breakfast in the main dining facility Saturday to raise awareness of the importance of spirituality. As part of the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, spiritual is one of five dimensions of fitness, along with physical, family, social and emotional.
Many soldiers have faced multiple deployments over the last decade with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some have struggled with separation from families, maintaining relationships and dealing with financial hardships.
Lt. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of the 3rd Army, U.S. Army Central and guest speaker at the event, told soldiers that it's a good struggle to try and find what's deep inside of you.
"You may feel like you're struggling to even discover your spirit," Brooks said. "That's a good struggle. You are trying to find that part that's deep inside of you that you can't touch, you can't lift weights and make better. Unlike physical fitness, spiritual fitness is difficult to measure."
The general challenged soldiers to combine the physical training they are receiving with their own spiritual path to become a stronger and more balanced soldier. "Hang on to your spirit when all else around is failing around you, when physically you are broken, when there is sadness or despair," he said.
From the ranks of privates to commanding generals, spiritual fitness is an area of needed development for soldiers.
"We all need to understand who you are and where you are, and then accept it and work to move forward," Brooks said. "We need to exercise, exercise and exercise, physically, mentally and spiritually."
Spc. Stephen Corrales, a medic with the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, said the message from the general was inspiring.
Capt. Donald J. Bigham, also assigned to the 15th Infantry Regiment, said some people haven't been afforded the opportunity to have spiritual strength while growing up.
"When they are put in an adverse situation like a deployment, to have other brothers and sisters in uniform to grow with is important, but also to have something on the internal standpoint to grow from is very important too," Bigham said.