NAVAL BASE KITSAP-BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) — Throughout the majority of aircraft carrier USS Nimitz's (CVN 68) recent six-month deployment and the several months thereafter, the ship did not have an official physical fitness leader, or "Fitboss."
On April 1, Nimitz welcomed Jermonte McKinney, from Belleville, Ill., as its new Fitboss.
"I am excited to live here in the Pacific Northwest and excited to see what I can bring to the table here on Nimitz," said McKinney.
Chief Electrician's Mate William J. McSwiggan, from Philadelphia, stepped up to lead the ship in physical fitness during the months Nimitz's fitboss position was empty. On top of his original duties on the ship, he oversaw nine different fitness classes scheduled at over 20 different times throughout each week on deployment.
"It was conflicting," said McSwiggan. "I had responsibilities for my actual job, which were crucial to the ship, and also had to involve myself in extracurricular activities, which I think is important."
McSwiggan said he enjoyed his time as the Fitboss, but due to juggling that with his primary roles on the ship, he didn't get the chance to put forward his whole effort.
"It was beneficial that I was able to take on the role, but I think having someone whose sole job [is] Fitboss is important," said McSwiggan. "I'm hopeful that [McKinney's] time here goes well, and that he works well with the command. The thing that helped me the most was everyone was very supportive, and I hope they are for the new Fitboss as well."
Prior to his role as Nimitz's Fitboss, McKinney worked for a Marine depot fitness center. He said he has always had a strong desire to work with the military, as he is inspired by the fit population and the large percentage of people who strive to stay in shape and live a healthy lifestyle.
During his time aboard Nimitz, McKinney said his goals are to nurture a culture where fitness is not a chore, but a positive and gratifying lifestyle.
"I want to make fitness something that is fun for everyone," said McKinney. "I don't want people to look at it as just exercise or physical training; something that they have to do. I want to get their attention and create a culture where fitness is enjoyable and options are available."
With a master's degree in exercise physiology and a strength and conditioning specialist certification, McKinney is more than qualified to fill the role of Fitboss.
McKinney said he plans to continue as Nimitz's Fitboss through the upcoming underway cycle and deployment.
"I'm excited to be on the ship for deployment and to travel and see things I wouldn't otherwise see," said McKinney. "That's a lot of the reason I wanted to work with the Navy and be on a ship. I think the sense of belonging and being part of such a large, close group is really amazing."
McKinney currently hosts "Ask the Fitboss" open forums in the ship's hangar bay every Tuesday and Thursday, as well as high-intensity lunchtime workouts Monday through Friday. He plans to expand fitness events and competitions for Nimitz Sailors throughout the summer months, and said his door is always open to Sailors with health or fitness questions.