News: MRF-D Marines break barriers in Aussie fitness test
Story by Sgt. Sarah Fiocco
ROBERTSON BARRACKS, Northern Territory, Australia – Marines with Marine Rotational Force – Darwin competed for two spots in an Australian Combat Fitness Leadership Course during a barrier test at the Northern Gym, here, July 30.
A total of seven grueling exercises make up the test that is designed to measure physical fitness. The test begins with a maximum set of pushups in two minutes, followed by 100 crunches to a cadence, a 2.4-kilometer run and an Illinois Shuttle Run, which is a series of sprints that must be completed in 18 seconds or less.
“We use these exercises to determine the initial physical abilities of someone looking to be a combat fitness leader,” said Australian Army Cpl. Todd Hayes, physical training instructor. “You need to have a high level of physical ability to attend the course.”
Although the course provides service members with the skills necessary to efficiently lead physical training within units of the Australian Defence Force, it does not mean they will earn the title of physical training instructor.
“This course is the first step in becoming a physical training instructor,” explained Hayes. “They report through the guidance of a physical training instructor, but they’re able to take physical training to a certain level inside the ADF.”
The Marines with this rotation are the first to take part in the CFLC Barrier Test.
“We are 100 percent excited to have the Marines participate in the course,” said Hayes. “It gives our guys a chance to see how other services conduct physical training. I think it will be challenging for both the Americans and the Australians.”
Because the MRF-D Marines have never participated in a CFLC Barrier Test, they found some of the exercises particularly challenging.
“The swim was the hardest part for me. Your muscles are tired from doing the rope climb, pushups and all the other exercises,” said Lance Cpl. Francisco Deleon, radio technician, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, MRF-D. “After all that, it takes its toll on you to swim 50 meters in cammies.”
Physical fatigue aside, Deleon said he is excited for the prospect of becoming a combat fitness leader.
“I hope I get to move on to the actual course,” said Deleon. “I’ll get to interact more with the Australian Army and create some bonds.”
The names of the two Marines attending the course will be announced later this week.