Top Enlisted Advisor to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joins Forces with FitOps to Fight Veteran Suicide Amid COVID-19

Comes as mental health check-ins and unemployment increase among veterans FitOps helps veterans find purpose through fitness

The former top enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has joined forces with the FitOps Foundation to help prevent and end veteran suicide – an epidemic that has become more severe amid COVID-19.

John Wayne Troxell, who for the past four years served as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC) and senior non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Armed Forces, will lead the FitOps strategic advisors board. FitOps helps veterans find purpose through fitness by training and certifying them as elite personal trainers at its camp in Arkansas.

“Even before COVID-19, too many veterans lost their reason for being, to serve others and struggled to transition to civilian life. Now the need is even greater,” John Wayne Troxell said. “Ending the veteran suicide epidemic is my new mission, and few organizations have had the impact FitOps has had in saving lives.”

In his new role, Troxell will help the foundation with its current efforts as veterans are acutely feeling the effects of the coronavirus. More than 1 million veterans filed for unemployment benefits in April, remote mental health appointments have skyrocketed, and reports warn that many industries that employ veterans could be more vulnerable to layoffs. An average of 20 veterans take their own lives each day, 1.5 times higher than the national average.

Troxell will also work to help FitOps reach service members who plan to separate from the military and equip them with training prior, so that when they hit the ground as a civilian, they are equipped to immediately serve their communities again, this time as personal trainers and coaches.

“We are very fortunate that SEAC Troxell has joined forces with us. As someone who gave 38 years of distinguished service and rose to the very top of the military, for him to make his next mission helping veterans find purpose again through fitness, sends a serious message,” FitOps Founder and veteran Matt Hesse said.

“I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of knowing one’s purpose and using fitness to pursue it. Our mission is clear: We will not rest until we solve the veteran suicide epidemic.”

Before his retirement in December 2019, Troxell advised the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense for four years on all matters involving joint and combined total force integration, utilization, health of the force and joint development for enlisted personnel. Troxell enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1982.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, FitOps has helped its graduates transition to virtual fitness sessions so they can still provide personal training sessions and classes to clients.

The FitOps Foundation was created in 2016 by Hesse and since has graduated hundreds of veterans with a current waitlist of 2,200. At the month-long camps, veterans learn exercise physiology and business skills to become Certified Veteran Fitness Operatives (CVFOs). After graduation, through partnerships across the country, FitOps helps their CVFOs get jobs in the fitness industry at clubs such as Performix House and 24 Hour Fitness. The graduate network extends as far as Alaska and Japan. CVFOs also receive counseling and transition assistance as they continue on their journey to civilian life from military service.

For more information on the FitOps Foundation, please visit

Contact: FitOps Communications Alexandra Hesse, /970 376 8155 

FitOps PR Newswire (May 2020) Top Enlisted Advisor to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joins Forces with FitOps