The United States Army is instituting a new Physical Fitness Test that seeks to better duplicate the conditions that troops face in combat. Here’s a description of the new events:
The new “physical readiness’’ test adds such things as a 60-yard shuttle run and a standing long jump to one minute of push-ups and a 1.5-mile timed run. This might be given every six months, said Frank Palkoska, head of the Army’s Fitness School at Fort Jackson.
A “combat readiness’’ test includes running 400 meters with a rifle, moving through an obstacle course in full combat gear, and crawling and vaulting over obstacles while aiming a rifle. Soldiers also have to run on a balance beam while carrying a 30-pound ammo box and do an agility sprint around a course field of cones.
To test pulling a fallen comrade from the battlefield, soldiers must drag a sled weighted with 180 pounds of sandbags. That portion of the test might be given only before deployments, but that has not been decided.
The current test, which was instituted when I was in the Army in the early 1980s, consisted of just three events: push-ups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run. Fr a male age 40, to get a maximum score on the test you had to do 73 push-ups in two minutes, 76 sit-ups in two minutes, and run two miles in 13:36. The minimum needed to pass is 34 push-ups, 38 sit-ups, and a time of 18:18 in the two mile run.
The new events do seem more “mission oriented” but it also sounds like it will be complicated to administer.