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Warrant Officer Dan Zirbes used to struggle with the physical fitness test and some years didn't pass During the body composition tape test he remembers how he would tuck his chin in to change his neck diameter and improve his score Now, he wants other Service members to know not to be afraid of failure because that's what it takes to succeed
Zirbes lost over 70 pounds on Weight Watchers for Men and was selected as a spokesperson He is passionate and excited to share his story so that, "It might be that kick in the pants for someone who needs it," he said
While sitting on his couch, on January 6, 2011, he noticed his t-shirt creeping up over his belly and he said to himself, "Oh no, that didn't just happen" That's when a commercial for Weight Watchers came on He signed up on-line He was 236 pounds then, but after one week on Weight Watchers he lost five pounds just by following the plan, adjusting his food choices and making small modifications to his routine like taking the stairs or parking further away
"At first others thought it wasn't going to last and that it was just for the fitness test After losing 20 pounds and keeping it off, others started to pay attention" Being overweight he used to feel extra stress during promotion boards and physical training tests Now he can see, "it isn't all about smarts, you need to improve physically as well as mentally"
To succeed he began to look at food in new ways with the help of the Weight Watchers points system and the easy to use on-line program and phone application He started to eat breakfast on time and having dinner before six Things like having a beer became more of a reward His approach was simple he said, "Don't look at it as what you can't have, look at it as substitutions"
When Zirbes reached 216 pounds he hit his first plateau, he was an E-6 and was in phase one of the Army Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course He started to check on Weight Watchers blogs and engage in chats where he was able to talk to another military person who pointed out that he was likely consuming far too much salt He began taking into consideration what causes fluctuations in his weight and learning more about his body
When Zirbes reached 190 pounds, he hit another plateau and that is when he started working out, biking, lifting and running to gain more muscle After six months, in July 2012, he had reached his goal weight of 175 Today, he looks forward to working out and has established equilibrium in his weight maintenance That is not to say it he is not without setbacks Zirbes explains, "It's a matter of how you handle speed bumps or road blocks, and mental fortitude comes into play Choose something that is proven (like Weight Watchers) and stay the course"
He points out that he used to hear a lot of "if only," and now he tells Soldiers "YOU CAN!" In August 2011 he put a packet in for the Warrant Officer program and was accepted in March 2012 He accepted a commission and quit smoking in September 2012 During training he received a State Command Warrant Officer Award for exceeding the standards With his new drive and ambition he feels that he has pushed himself far and isn't ready to stop
"It isn't about doing the minimum its about exceeding the minimum, exceeding your minimum and pushing yourself to the max standard, to be the leader and to help other people progress" Instead of "sticking to the corners" now he wants opportunities, he wants to be a leader and have Soldiers to look to him as an example
Zirbes advice for others struggling with weight, "Look at yourself, don't look to others around you It is all about making yourself better Losing weight is 'all good'; nothing is going to harm you You have to be willing to do whatever it takes!"
After being selected as a contest winner for Weight Watchers success stories, Warrant Officer Dan Zirbes was asked to be part of the Weight Watchers Campaign He did a video interview in Minneapolis and was further selected to be used in a national commercial campaign Weight Watchers flew him and his wife out to Los Angeles, California and where he spent three days creating various spots Select the links below to view them
By Staff Sgt Jennifer Rechtfertig
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
April 15, 2013
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.