A logistics company currently on a rotational mission in Poland won’t be able to conduct its mandatory “Biggest Loser” competition after all, Army officials confirmed Monday.
A U.S. Army WTF Moments post revealed that the first sergeant of the 574th Composite Supply Company, a Fort Wainwright, Alaska-based unit, was launching a weight-loss competition Monday inspired by the television show “The Biggest Loser.”
The competition involved splitting the entire company into 15 teams, with names like “Oreo Killers” and “Honey Bun Stunners,” and competing to drop the most pounds by the end of February.
The winners would’ve received two four-day weekends after their return to Alaska.
The issue wasn’t with the idea of a fitness competition, though. It was the NCO’s insistence that all soldiers participate regardless of whether they comply with Army weight standards, and that teams who gained weight would be assigned two hours’ extra duty for each pound gained.
In a WhatsApp screenshot attached to the WTF Moments post, a soldier told the first sergeant that “the Soldiers do not see weight loss of a goal of theirs at this moment as many of the soldiers are focused on their own fitness goals and are already within [Army Regulation] 600-9 standards.”
“I am not interested in what the Soldier[s] ‘want to do,’” retorted the first sergeant. “It is [not necessarily] about weight...or their own fitness goals. This is a company thing and a morale and team building thing.”
A spokesperson for U.S. Army Europe and Africa, Maj. Scott Kuhn, told Army Times that “the issue is being addressed by the unit’s chain of command.”
“While we support creative ways to help our Soldiers maintain physical readiness, we expect those activities to be morale boosting, meet Army standards, and align with healthy dietary and fitness habits,” Kuhn added.
The command’s concern stems from widely understood issues with eating disorders and unhealthy weight loss within the force, which were the subject of a Task & Purpose investigation last year.
According to Task & Purpose, the unit’s chain of command is investigating the incident and won’t retaliate against the soldiers who reported it.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.