Lieutenant General (retired) Mark Hertling, right, has been awarded the 2015 Dwight D. Eisenhower Fitness Award by the United States Sports Academy for his major contributions to improve the nation’s health. The award was presented by Gordon Howell, long-time Academy faculty member, at a recent ceremony at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.
DAPHNE, Ala. – The United States Sports Academy has announced that Lieutenant General (retired) Mark Hertling is the 2015 recipient of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Fitness Award for his major contributions to improve the nation’s health.
Hertling received his Bachelor of Science degree at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was also a NCAA Division 1 swimmer and water polo player. He holds Master of Arts degrees in History and International Relations, and a Master’s of Science in Exercise Physiology from Indiana University.
Fitness has always been important to Hertling, an Army Veteran of nearly 38 years. While best known for his time in command of all U.S. Army Forces in Europe and for leading the Army’s 1st Armored Division in combat, it was his service as the commander of the Army’s Initial Military Training (“basic training”) where he introduced new programs affecting the physical readiness of the military. Reforms such as the “Soldier-Athlete Initiative” and “Fueling the Soldier” — both implemented to improve the physical conditioning and nutritional health of new soldiers — continue to have a lasting effect. Hertling also taught in the Department of Physical Education at West Point, where he was the first PE teacher to win the Instructor of the Year award (1985).
He has commanded every organization in the military from platoon level to field army, having served in Armor and Cavalry units in peacetime and combat. He was known as a soldier-focused leader, an innovative trainer, and a strategic planner and operator.
After retirement from the Army in 2013, Hertling became the Senior Vice President for Global Partnering, Health Performance Strategies and Physician Leader Development for the innovative Florida Hospital in Orlando. He is a prolific writer and speaker and recently produced a new book, “Growing Physician Leaders.”
In 2013, Hertling was appointed by President Barack Obama as one of 25 serving on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sport, and Nutrition. He is also an advisory board member for “World T.E.A.M. (The Exceptional Athlete Matters) Sport,” an organization providing opportunities to physically challenged athletes. He serves as an advisor for “Operation Gratitude,” an organization supporting deployed military and their families, and a senior advisor for “Mission Readiness,” a non-profit, bipartisan organization of retired military leaders who call for smart investments for America’s children. Hertling also serves as a military analyst for CNN.
Being honored with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Fitness Award is not a first for the heavily decorated veteran. Hertling has received many military honors including three Distinguished Service Medals, six Legions of Merit, five Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, and the Army Commendation Medal for Valor. He has also received a Gold Cross of Honor of the German Army, the Romanian Land Forces Emblem of Honor, and the Polish Soldier’s Medal of Honor. He is also a recipient of the Boy Scout’s Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
The Eisenhower Fitness Award is presented annually by the Academy to a person who has shown outstanding individual or cumulative achievement in fitness and has contributed to the growth and development of sport fitness through outstanding leadership activity. Eisenhower founded the President’s Youth Council on Sport and Fitness, a national committee that served as the catalyst to the nation’s fitness movement. His work is evidenced today by the number of physical fitness tests being administered to American youth.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission Sports University created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy visit www.ussa.edu.