A basic trainee just took the Army's new combat fitness test to school.
Spc. Benjamin Ritchie, with Company A, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, hit a perfect score of 600 points on the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) on Oct. 21, the first basic trainee to do so.
He's the third person in total to nail a perfect score on the new test, according to the Army.
Ritchie's battalion is one of two at Fort Jackson that is having trainees take the ACFT as a "field test."
At first, Ritchie — an officer candidate — was initially unable to max the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), which the AFCT will fully replace next year.
The Army said that for the following nine weeks, Ritchie "performed regularly scheduled physical readiness training … and ate the regular meals provided by the dining facility."
At the end of basic training, Ritchie was maxing both the APFT and the ACFT.
Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Cabrera with Company A, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, observes Spc. Benjamin Ritchie conduct an Army Combat Fitness Test event.(U.S. Army photo)
Army leaders are ecstatic about the service's new fitness test, saying it's a step in the right direction to keeping the force ready and lethal.
But the ACFT came under scrutiny after preliminary scores were leaked that showed an overall failure rate for 84% of women. Leaders weren't concerned, however, pointing to proper training as the key to success.
A senior drill sergeant in Ritchie's company echoed that sentiment, saying that the "special sauce" for success is "hard work and motivation."
"There were no special fitness coaches, diets, or focused ACFT workouts … Once you get the trainees to buy-in to what you're doing, they will achieve whatever you put in front of them," Staff Sgt. Joshua Delgado said in the Army release.
The ACFT becomes the Army's official test in October 2020.