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Here's What The Army's Proposed Gender-Neutral Combat Test Really Looks Like
The Army’s nascent gender-neutral Combat Readiness Test is based on the philosophy that male and female soldiers will have to perform the same tasks in combat, so they should meet the same physical fitness standards, a service official told Task & Purpose.
Instead of gauging what they can do, the ACRT focuses on what the Army needs soldiers to do for their jobs, said Michael McGurk, director of research and analysis at the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military training.
“When it’s what the Army needs you to do, whether you’re male or female has no real bearing on that,” McGurk said in an interview. “If I need you to lift a 50-pound box up onto the back of a truck, I need you to lift a 50-pound box up onto the back of a truck. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re tall or short or young or old or male or female. I need a soldier that is capable of doing their assigned duties and jobs.”
1st Sgt. Brad Reigel prepares to throw a 10-pound medicine ball for the standing power throw event Oct. 17 while testing the Army Combat Readiness Test at Fort Leonard Wood.U.S. Army / Mike Curtis.
Army Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Feb. 15 that be believed the ACRT should be gender- and age-neutral. “The enemy does not specify who they’re going to shoot and not shoot,” he said.
While biology, kinesiology and other sciences have demonstrated the physiological differences between men and women, combat itself is gender-neutral, McGurk said. The ACRT is meant to be a better measure of how well male and female soldiers are ready for war.
“We’ve not been testing in all the areas and skills that soldiers need on the battlefield with our current PT test,” McGurk said.
He said the ACRT consists of six proposed events: The deadlift, standing power throw, T pushup, sprint/drag/carry, leg tuck and 2-mile run:
- For the deadlift, soldiers lift their maximum weight three times.
- The standing power throw requires soldiers to throw a 10-pound medicine ball behind their heads as far as possible.
- With T pushups, soldiers extend their hands out to their sides at a 90-degree angle after each pushup.
- For the sprint/drag/ carry, soldiers sprint 50 meters, drag 90-pound sled for 50 meters, sprint another 50 meters, carry two 40-pound kettle bells for 50 meters, and then sprint a final 50 meters.
- The leg tuck requires soldiers to hang from a pullup bar and bring their knees and thighs to touch their elbows.
“While we don’t foresee any changes as we go forward, we’re open if there’s a better idea or a more applicable event if someone shows us: ‘Hey, it would be better if we did it this way or changed this,’” McGurk said. “We’ve been working on this for over three years and we feel we’re pretty close to what right looks like. It’s never absolutely perfect, but we think we have a pretty good product.”
The gender-neutral scores and standards will likely be set after the ACRT has gone through a trial period with select Army units, he said. It is not yet known when that might take place, or if Army leadership may decide to adopt another physical fitness test.
“We need to match the minimum standards of the test to the minimum standards required for combat operations, and then we want the scale to be aspirational from there,” McGurk said. “Anyone who’s been around our military a day or two knows that we’re not really happy with minimum scores on most things.”
Soldiers who score a minimum of 180 points on the current physical fitness test are not likely to be promoted ahead of their peers, McGurk said. Likewise it “would not be career-enhancing” for soldiers to meet the minimum scores on the ACRT’s six proposed events, he said.
The ACRT is part of a wider Army’s “Holistic Health and Fitness” efforts to revamp physical fitness for all soldiers, he said. The service plans to increase the number of coaches and trainers to prevent soldiers from being injured and ensure they heal quicker when they do hurt themselves while exercising.
After 17 years of war, the Army’s overall fitness level is “at least satisfactory,” he said.
“Satisfactory is not a level that we would think is good enough moving forward,” McGurk said. “We want the fitness level to be excellent for everybody – and it’s not there right now, but we certainly can get it there.”
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.
WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.
Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."
"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.
While it can be difficult to peg down just how star-spangled a state is, one indicator is the rate at which citizens enlist in the military, especially during the United States' longest period of sustained conflict. At least, that's the thinking behind WalletHub's new study, 2019's Most Patriotic States in America.