'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

29 March 2011

Everything Is Cyclical

The Army is updating it's physical fitness test based on lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan. Call it reality based Physical Training. If you go to the link you'll get a fair idea of what the new tests will entail. Balance while carrying weight, ability to pull a heavy weight (think down soldier drills), maneuvering through obstacles while keeping a rifle downrange and on target, running a quarter mile. All of it in full gear. I think it makes a lot of sense and I applaud the Army for being flexible and making changes where it's obvious they need to be made. It also reminds me of the old PT test. I went to Basic Training the summer of mumblemumble. What? You missed that? OK, it was 1977. The Army was just switching from Starched, cotton fatigues to perma press. The Army's NCO and Officer corp was almost exclusively Vietnam vets. The PT test of that time resembled the current test pretty well. The emphasis was on a wide variety of skills and muscle testing events. As I recall it went something like this. -Monkey Bars. Just like on the playground but to a ridiculous degree. -Run Dodge and Jump. It was basically an obstacle course but with a cool Army name. -Crab Walk. My favorite. On hands and feet but facing the sky instead of the ground. One had to walk a certain distance (I can't for the life of me remember the distance but it was unpleasant). -1 mile run. -Push ups. -Sit ups. All events were timed. Sometimes we did it in PT uniform (fatigue pants, boots and a t-shirt) and sometimes in full kit. Usually that depended on how badly we had pissed off the drill sergeant. It was an interesting test and, really, a lot of fun. I missed it when the new test got instituted shortly thereafter (push ups, sit ups and 2 mile run). I never thought the new standards reflected the reality of life in the field. It also tended to favor the greyhounds to the detriment of those of us who were more heavily built. I think the Army is rediscovering that reality. Of course, in another 30 years, when we've been decades from an actual conflict, the test will undoubtedly change again. Triathlon anyone? Six


Murphy's Law said...

I wanna see a PT test that involves much hopping on one leg. I could SO dominate that one.

Fred said...

I'm just wondering how far they'll follow through on it this time. Seems like there's been a "new PT test" on the horizon every-other year.

I like the idea... 2 mile runs can go %*&# themselves.

Six said...

I'd put money on you ML. Especially if the rater was a big breasted blonde holding an adult beverage!

It's a good question Fred but hope springs eternal. Hell, maybe I'll re-enlist. As long as they're taking 'husky' 51 year olds. I hated that damn 2 mile run. I made the time but abhored every single second.