THOR3 (Tactical Human Optimization, Rapid Recovery, and Rehabilitation) program is losing its funding, and it was the best part of modern life in our unit. THOR3 has nothing to do with Chris Hemsworth, except that he, without a doubt, would jump at the chance to use the training.
THOR3 is Army Special Operations physical training suite – in that, it includes many useful amenities. As Special Operations soldiers we received training, guidance from strength and durability coaches who are elite in their own right, having worked with the Olympic committee and professional sports, or, in some cases, both. Also, THOR3 includes a sports/performance psychologist, a nutritionist, and a state of the art physical therapy facility for rehabilitation and resilience. It’s a great program because it keeps folks happy and healthy. Not everyone uses the program, but there is a reliable and good participation rate. I enjoyed working with my trainer, Brian, after I managed to create a self-induced IT band injury. I learned a lot from him, and he seriously improved my condition.
In contrast, when I first arrived at my unit, I didn’t use THOR3, and I was skeptical of these guys walking around the gym. Sometimes, they had coffee in hand and were watching everyone’s form. I realized that they were there to help and had coffee because they were just at work, but it irked me. I was younger then and very competitive and didn’t want some guy who wasn’t one of us telling me how to work out. But, the truth is, I didn’t want to deal with my poor form or overzealous and unnecessary methods of training. But, I eventually came around and saw the light of maturity and long-term thinking. Afghanistan was a special experience for my team. Because of the nature of the deployment, nearly all of us dropped as low in weight as our bodies could handle. When I returned, THOR3 was an incredibly useful tool to rebuild and capitalize on the physical strengths I brought back with me.
I was still relatively new to group and rumblings about training, funding, and that it’s all ended downhill began to circulate. The SGM of USASFC made a point to visit every group. For some reasons, SGM’s often are bored and miss their operational time. I’m not one but I’m out, and I know I miss it. But, his primary motive was to update the troops on the state of the force and deliver a harsh reality. That sequestration is real and training, shooting, moving and communicating was not going to be prevalent, except when abroad, past 2016. He went on to say, however, to keep retention robust and maintain the well-being of the force THOR3 funding would increase and that we could count on it.
Today, the cheap chalk that is used to ease the wear and tear of Olympic lifting on your hands is in short supply across the units. The number of trainers is not expanding, but decreasing. We lost our nutritionist; he works for a professional football team, now. This is no doubt, like many other things, hurting morale. Money is getting tighter, and the few things that keep guys going are not stressed, even though the positive impact of THOR3 is known and widespread. What’s worse is that we were told that in terms of funding, THOR3 was one of the few programs that was safe. Furthermore, THOR3 truly helps operators who are injured return to duty. Of equal importance, THOR3 prevents operators from becoming injured via training and from the high intense physical demands of the job.
My experience with THOR3 was very positive. We had world class trainers and sports industry elites helping out. These guys wanted to give back and hang out with SF guys. It was a great relationship and to think the force as a whole may not benefit at full capacity from this necessary program isn’t encouraging