U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy Sailors with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and USS Bataan (LHD 5) participate in a 5K run for a Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society autism awareness fundraiser aboard the Bataan. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Austin Hazard)
Physical fitness tests were briefly suspended earlier this week and outdoor cardio testing will be curtailed for the remainder of the summer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, after an airman died Aug. 17. She had completed her PT test on Aug. 16.
Airmen assigned to the 1st Air and Space Communications Operations Squadron perform pushups during a physical training session on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 14, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Timothy Moore)
The topic of this week's opus is physical fitness, and that is laughably ironic considering this reporter could never meet any of the military services' height and weight standards. (Your humble narrator once considered opening a restaurant called "Pvt. Pyle's Forbidden Fruit," which would only sell jelly donuts.)
As you beloved readers likely already know, at least 31 percent of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are too overweight to serve in the military. For those young men and women who are physically fit enough to enlist or get commissioned, the rigors of initial training are only the first hurdle.
Once in the military, service members must regularly pass physical fitness tests, and as the Defense Department prepares to fight big wars again, some of the services have made their physical standards more demanding.
Just because you become a non-commissioned officer doesn’t mean life becomes any easier. As you rise through the ranks, the responsibilities become heavier, and the physical training is just as brutal as ever.