Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy really doesn’t want you to know his ACFT score

Health & Fitness
How To Prepare For The Army Combat Fitness Test

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy really doesn't want you to know how swole he is, as the former Army ranger refused to answer repeated questions from Task & Purpose about what he scored on the Army Combat Fitness Test.

"I'm not going to tell you," McCarthy said at the Military Reporters and Editors' annual conference in Arlington, Va. on Friday (Oct. 25). McCarthy said he passed the ACFT over a year ago in order to understand the experience.

"I'm a 46-year-old man that rides a desk every day and I got through it," said McCarthy, who described himself as a regular swimmer at the Pentagon pool. "It can be done, you gotta train for it and take care of your body. It's not just working out, it's eating right and sleeping. So I do well on one of those three: working out."

But how good is he at working out? Without his score, how are we to know? Task & Purpose proposed that McCarthy could give a high-end/low-end range for what his score is, but this he declined as well. When another conference attendee also asked about the score, the secretary ignored her.

"I'm a political appointee," the secretary said. "I did a mile and a half in the pool this morning though. I went through the paces [of the ACFT] because I wanted to understand it."

McCarthy isn't the first Army Secretary to try the new ACFT. Current Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said he took it three times when he still held the post. But if Esper revealed his score, news reports seemed to have kept mum about it.

The secrecy is a shame for soldiers, because, after all, what is the point of having a standardized fitness test if you can't use it to definitively prove you're in way better shape than your appointed executives?

Score or no, McCarthy believes the Army can successfully transition to the new ACFT, which is due to become the branch's official test on Oct. 1, 2020. The Army says the ACFT will reduce preventable injuries and better prepare soldiers for battlefield tasks.

ACFT's predecessor, the nearly 40-year-old old Army Physical Fitness Test, involved three exercises: push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run. The new ACFT pushes soldiers through six exercises: strength deadlifts, standing power throws, hand-release push-ups, a 250-meter sprint-drag-carry, leg tucks, and a two-mile run.

The new test has already stirred up controversy, partly because preliminary fitness scores leaked in September showed that 84% of women failed the test, while 70% of men passed it. Earlier this month, Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, commanding general for the Center for Initial Military Training, said the answer to passing the ACFT is simply learning how to train for it.

"It's no different than if you look at, let's say a SAT," Hibbard told reporters. "You go in the first time, some people do very well in all categories, some people don't do well in math and realize they've got to go study and practice."

Like Hibbard, McCarthy was also optimistic, though he said it will take a while for soldiers to get the hang of the new test.

"It's something that is going to take time to transition," he said. "We're going to have to train our people, we're going to have to communicate with them. And help them through that."

Still, he added, "I think we'll do fine in the end."

(Air Force photo / Tech Sgt. Oneika Banks)

Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.

Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.

"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.

Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."

Read More
(National Archives / Marine Corps Photo / WO Obie Newcomb, Jr., November 1943)

The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.

The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.

Read More
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Daniel Snider)

Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.

During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.

Read More

MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.

Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.

State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.

North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.

Read More
Screenshot of a propaganda video featuring former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.

Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.

The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."

Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.

Read More