Cutter Diligence helps local community get ‘Dili-fit’

Written by Ensign Emma Lutton

Crewmembers aboard Coast Guard Cutter Diligence pose for a photo after their first 'DILI-fit' session. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Crewmembers aboard Coast Guard Cutter Diligence pose for a photo after their first ‘DILI-fit’ session. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Homeported in Wilmington, North Carolina and moored in the heart of downtown, Coast Guard Cutter Diligence has built and maintained a close relationship with the community that it calls home. Wilmington, one of the few Coast Guard cities on the East coast, has been home to the crewmembers that serve aboard the cutter for the past 24 years, and is the only active Coast Guard Cutter named after one of the first 10 Revenue Cutters that is home ported in an original homeport.

While inport, the crew, much like other Coast Guard crews around the Nation, engages daily with the members of the local community. Recently, the crew decided to take this engagement one step further – with a weekly fitness class open to members of the public.

In recent months, several business owners had made comments suggesting that they would be interested to see how members of the Coast Guard stay in amazing shape, especially those confined to a mere 210 feet for months at a time.

And so, the idea was born. Excited to start something new for the local community, the crew got to work planning during their last patrol.

“I love working out and also love meeting new people,” said Ensign Emma Lutton. “The fact that members of the community suggested such a program was enough to excite me into volunteering as the project officer. I hope the community enjoys it as much as the crew does!”

The crew also voted on a name for the program – DILI Fit.

Their planning led to the creation of a six-week fitness series for the crew and community to work out together while the cutter was back in its homeport.

It was an easy lift for the crew – they already complete workouts every Tuesday and Friday while in Wilmington, and they decided to open the workouts on Tuesdays up to the public.

Our goal is to have fun, stay fit and give the community a sense of the “military culture” that we live every day, Cmdr. Matt Carter, commanding officer of Cutter Diligence explained.

So far, the crew has completed two successful workouts, and have four more planned before they depart on their next patrol.

Cutter DiligenceThe first DILI Fit session began right on the cutter’s pier, where the crew and members of the community stretched, discussed the proper forms for the workouts and completed a risk assessment to mitigate any potential issues.

“We complete one before every mission onboard, and it’s a helpful and important tool – one that we want to share with those working out with us,” Carter explained.

The first workout, led by Lt. j.g. Jonathon Upton, was a 1.5-mile circuit run along the river walk. The crew also had stations set up along the path to complete different exercises, ensuring that there were different levels for all ability levels. “I set up seven stations with a crew member at each to lead the workouts, which included: burpees, pushups, lunges, bear crawls, sprints, squats and more. By the end, everyone was sweaty and smiling as we took a group picture in front of our racing stripe” said Lt. j.g. Jonathon Upton.

The second DILI Fit session was led by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jake Rorabeck, with assistance from Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Sanabria, both of whom currently compete in a national cross-fit competition.

The crew was excited and a bit nervous for the challenge their fellow crewmembers had put together.

A few returning community members, as well as some new faces also joined the ranks. For this workout, the participants were separated into five different groups to complete five different exercises: burpees, pushups, squats, planks and lunges. The goal was to push yourself as hard as you could for 30 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds, completing each rotation 5 times before rotating.

Once everyone had finished, Rorabeck surprised the group with a final station – pull-ups.

“Everyone can do a pull-up,” Rorabeck swore as he taught the group different variations so that everyone could participate.

Between strict, assisted and jumping pull-ups, as well as a dead arm hang, everyone was able to complete this last challenge and the workout was a success.

As the crew looks forward to the final three sessions of the community workout, they also look forward to preparations for their next patrol.

As the crew continues to plan and organize each workout, they strive to continue and develop the cutter’s Service to Nation – not only when performing critical mission underway, but also with community outreach while inport.

As the community of Wilmington and the crewmembers aboard Cutter Diligence continue to bond, the stronger the Coast Guard City will become. DILI Fit is just another link to accomplishing this task.