On the surface of it, the idea of training Sailors about nutrition, exercise, fitness, injury prevention, sleep and mental well-being didn’t seem like a hard sell. Two days of classroom instruction, workout drills and yoga sessions, all led by professional trainers, gave them a temporary break in their routine aboard ship in homeport at Naval Base San Diego.
The workshops led by O2X Human Performance over the past year are an outgrowth of an innovative program that began in 2021 at Surface Warfare Officers School to teach future ship commanders how to better lead their crews by maximizing their own work performance, physical fitness, mental health and mental readiness. The holistic approach to these programs are among the surface Navy’s continuing course changes after investigations into the causes of shipboard mishaps, including collisions and groundings, found commanders and crews plagued by sleep deprivation, stress, fatigue and inadequate training.
The initial series of workshops for ships’ crews — supported by Naval Surface Force officials in concert with Naval Health Research Center’s Crew Readiness and Watchstanding (CREW) efforts — found that all Sailors benefit from the training and incorporated it into their own work and personal lives.
“We’ve collected a substantial data. It’s loved. Everybody likes it,” said Dale Russell, the Naval Surface Force’s operational safety and human factors advisor in San Diego.
As of mid-October, 770 Navy personnel have gone through the O2X program since it was incorporated into the Prospective Commanding Officer/Executive Officer courses at Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, Rhode Island, according to O2X Human Performance, a Scituate, Massachusetts-based company founded by three former Navy SEALs. That includes 440 officers at SWOS and 305 sailors and officers from Naval Surface Forces Pacific ships in San Diego, including destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88), littoral combat ship USS Manchester (LCS 14) and, more recently, the Blue Crew of USS Omaha (LCS 12).