JULY 27, 2017, MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia – Sgt. Justin Odom is one fit Marine. Odom, Marine Corps Systems Command’s training non-commissioned officer, has earned a spot at the Corps’ Third Annual High Intensity Tactical Training Athlete Championship, scheduled to take place aboard Camp Pendleton, California, Aug. 28-31.
The annual event brings together the top male and female tactical athletes from each region to compete to be the best tactical athlete in the Marine Corps. Competitors are challenged on their mental and physical capabilities through strength and conditioning activities that mirror the seven foundational movements in the HITT program. All activities support combat readiness by increasing Marines’ physical capabilities.
Odom earned his place at the preliminaries this summer aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, where he participated in a number of events, including a prone three-cone drill, prone agility drill, kneeling power ball throw, board jump, 25-yard dash and 300-yard shuttle. Although he signed up two days before the competition and had little time to prepare, Odom came out on top.
“I wasn’t really nervous at all, but did struggle a little with the cone drill because I hadn’t practiced agility drills since my high school days,” Odom said. “But I still tried my best and stayed focused.”
Odom was selected to represent Quantico as the top male competitor, alongside Maj. Kerry Hogan from Manpower and Reserve Affairs, the installation’s top female Marine.
“I was very proud he wanted to participate in the competition and execute the course,” said Odom’s supervisor, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Lodovico. “I hope he looks forward to the big competition in California because the sky is the limit for him.”
Through the Force Fitness Instructor program, the Corps seeks to promote innovative healthy physical fitness alternatives such as HITT to strengthen Marines’ physicality and, in turn, improve Physical Fitness and Combat Fitness Test scores, and Body Composition Program productivity. The goal of HITT is to enhance operational fitness levels and optimize readiness for all Marines. It focuses on flexibility and agility, as well as strength and stamina.
In addition to the Command’s PT program, Odom attends a local CrossFit box and enrolls in local competitions to help him stay motivated in his career and in any challenges that come his way.
“The competitive nature of CrossFit is rewarding because I get to see my progress as my repetitions increase in weight lifting and my numbers increase in different moves on the board,” said Odom. “My coach actually heard about the HITT challenge and encouraged me to sign up because of the similarities in both workout routines.”
Odom joined the Corps four years ago, just one year after graduating high school. Physical fitness has always been a priority, and he wanted to serve his country. The Corps allowed him to forge his interests into a career.
“The Marine Corps is the best branch of the military there is,” said Odom, who came to MCSC in 2016, and assigned as the commander’s driver.
In March 2017, the Florida native completed Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command selection school at Stone Bay, North Carolina. For now, he is in charge of Marine training at MCSC, but will soon head back to Stone Bay for the next portion of MARSOC training.
Odom said he has enjoyed working at MCSC because it’s a different type of challenge – one where he gets to work his mind by learning about computers and still focus on physical training.
“Sgt. Odom is excellent, motivated and does whatever it takes to get the job done,” said Lodovico. “His job while in MARSOC training and the HITT competition will be to perform the best he can. He really builds upon basic knowledge, and I know what he’s capable of.”
Odom said the physical and mental training he has received in the Corps, as well as the extra workouts he puts in during his off-duty time, have been the key to his success.
“I think it’s cool that I get to go to California and represent the command and base,” said Odom. “I love competing; that’s totally my wheelhouse, so I’m pretty excited for it.”
By Kaitlin Kelly, Marine Corps Systems Command