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WA Guard Soldier focuses on training the brain

Maj. Brian Nelson develops post-military career plan

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Physically fit and mentally charged, Maj. Brian Nelson doesn't appear to be getting tired. On top of his new position as deputy director for the Joint Services Support section of the Washington Army National Guard, the high-ranking official has tested out his entrepreneurial side.

It's been a learning process to say the least.

"We thought we were going to change the world," Nelson said. "Trying to be an entrepreneur in the Army is tough."

In 2009, Nelson and a group of about 10 men in the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion developed a language training program he calls "LingFit." Nelson said it's cross-fit for language training.

The program remains in its infancy stages, and there's no timetable for the website launch. Nelson views it more as a side hobby to his full-time job on Camp Murray.

But that's OK, because Nelson has been busy enough.

The 42-year-old helped organize the inaugural "Unleashed" stair-climbing race last summer at Stadium Bowl in Tacoma to raise money for his animal rescue nonprofit, the Kindred Souls Foundation. He's planning on doing it again this year.

Most recently, he spoke at the Tacoma TEDx event on April 17. The event brought together local innovative minds focused on making a positive impact in their local communities. The event's theme was transformation, and Nelson delved into his self-improvement workout program to become a one-pound better person each day.

"Getting to meet 25 other doers was exciting," Nelson said. "I would like to write, speak and train when I'm out of the Army."

After being in the Army for nearly 24 years, Nelson said the event showed him he can be ‘Brian' instead of Maj. Nelson. "There's life outside the Army," he said.

And a good portion of that life is being built around Lingfit - a word that melds linguistics and cross-fit. Lingfit is a knowledge-based maintenance program that can be immersed in virtually any subject matter. It's a unique tool designed to allow people to better remember what they're learning, Nelson said. 

For example, if a child forgets what he or she learned between grades during the summer, the 40-day Lingfit can train the brain in short intervals. Nelson's linguistics background and involvement with cross-fit exercising are a marriage of mind and body.

The Lakewood resident said joining the military and marrying his wife, Kelly Nelson, were the two most important decision of his life.

Nelson grew up in Modesto, Calif. After two years serving as a tank crewman, he moved into military intelligence in the early 1980s and learned Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. He became fluent in one year, spending long days memorizing the tough language.

"It was like taking a drink from a fire hose," he said about the intense language training.

He lived in Germany and moved back to the South Sound in 1995. He spent one year in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2007 as an operations officer for the Military Intelligence Battalion.

Now holding more of an administrative role, he meets with decision makers and helps coordinate events. His department specializes in transitioning Soldiers out of the Army.

It's hard not to feel inspired by Nelson's military accomplishments and motivational speeches. His entrepreneurial spirit is supported by a strong physical backbone.

"We have to train the brain the same way as the body," he said.

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