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Soldiers Are Already Trying Out The Army's Planned 6-Event PRT Replacement
Good news, green-suiters: The Army is finally admitting that its physical fitness test “in no way helps Soldiers focus on preparing to do their jobs.”
That’s according to an Oct. 20 Army dispatch from Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, where a bunch of sappers, military cops, and other soldiers are trying out the service’s more-challenging, but frankly more-fun-looking, proposed PFT replacement: the Combat Readiness Test.
The combat fitness evaluation is “part of a wider holistic health and fitness effort to optimize Soldiers,” the Army says as only it can, with a touch of new-ageyness and weird efficiency-speak.
The apparent consensus on post? The new test beats what soldiers are doing now. "I think it's a really good program," Spc. Priscilla Gibson, a Human Resource specialist with the 169th Engineer Battalion, said after her shop took the CRT. "If you train for it, it will definitely get you more physically fit than the current PT test. It challenges you more; instead of three events there are six."
Six events! And they’re not exactly stuff you can sail through while still half-asleep at oh-dark-thirty, in the grand tradition of seasonal unit PT testing. Designed to reduce injuries and be more reflective of physical labors that soldiers can actually expect to perform on the job, the CRT looks like something your first sergeant picked up from watching the youngs do Crossfit. It consists of:
T pushups: You do a pushup, but when you’re down, you prop yourself on your gut and spread your arms out to the sides. Repeat for two minutes, or until you’re swimming.
250-meter sprint/drag/carry: You’re laying down prone, you pop up and sprint 25 meters out and back. You walk backwards while dragging a bunch of weights out and back.Then you sprint another 25 meters and back. Then you pick up two 30-pound kettles and walk them out and back. Then you sprint another 25 meters and back, again. Then you do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around. That, and having as low an elapsed time as possible, is what it’s all about.*
Leg tuck: Grab a pullup bar with both hands like it’s the hilt of a broadsword, and start from a dead hang. Bend your elbows, hips and waist till the knees touch those elbows, then pop back to a dead hang, then do it as many times as you can while not looking like you’re enduring torture. Just kidding: You don’t get extra points for stoicism. But you don’t get any points for grunting and grimacing, either.
Standing power throw: Grab a 10-pound medicine ball, lower it to the ground, then heave that sucker backwards over your head as far as it will go. Don’t worry, you get a practice throw. This mostly just sounds therapeutic.
3-repetition deadlift: Exactly what it sounds like. Dropping the bar on the last rep and screaming primally while your veins bulge is optional.
2-mile run: Are you kidding? I exhausted myself just writing this far.
The Army says an estimated 2,000 soldiers on five bases, including Leonard Wood, are expected to try out the test before any decisions are made on its future. No one’s even sure how the events will be scored yet, except to say that there’ll be tiered standards — no straight pass/fail events here.
But just because there’s no service-wide launch date on this thing, don’t act surprised when the CRT replaces your PFT. "If the Army creates a program to train for these events then absolutely (it will better prepare Soldiers for combat)," 1st Sgt. Alan Forester II of Company D, 31st Engineer Battalion said in the Army’s Oct. 20 release. "The training would be better-rounded and address other aspects of fitness, such as power.”
Your first sergeant likes it! Which means you’d probably better learn to love it, too.
*Update, 9 AM EDT, 10/25/2017: A representative of the Army's Center for Initial Military Training reached out to let us know that the Army's Oct. 20 release omitted a 50-meter sprint from its description of the 250-meter "sprint/carry/drag."
Without that sprint, she said, "the description only adds up to 200 meters. So our public math has not been good and for that we apologize and are working to request corrections." This article has been updated to include the full five stages of the 250-meter event.
The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.
The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.
An F-15 is rocking a WWII paint job to honor a B-17 pilot who gave his life to save a wounded crewman
An F-15C Eagle is sporting a badass World War II-era paint job in honor of a fallen bomber pilot who gave everything to ensure his men survived a deadly battle.
A U.S. E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft crashed on Monday on Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has confirmed.
Beloved basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. Two days earlier, Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore was killed during a vehicle rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations in Syria.
Which one more deserves your grief and mourning? According to Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, you only have enough energy for one.
After 70 years, service members are finally filing medical malpractice claims against the US military
Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.
Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.
It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.
Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.
A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.
Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.
With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.