News: Headquarters Marine Corps introduces new combat fitness test to Marines in Okinawa
Story by Pfc. Antwain Graham
By Antwain Graham
III Marine Expeditionary Force
OKINAWA, Japan - Training and Education Command representatives from Headquarters Marine Corps, visited Camps Kinser, Foster, Hansen, Schwab, and Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Sept. 15-19, 2008 to demonstrate the new combat fitness test recently added to the Marine Corps' physical fitness program.
The purpose of the demonstration was to give Marines in Okinawa a first-hand look at the CFT before it goes into effect, said Col. Brian J. McGuire, head of Reserve Training and Physical Readiness Programs for TECOM.
An initial phase-in period, in which grading will be pass or fail, is in effect until Dec. 30, 2009. Results will be placed in Marines' diary reports and fitness reports, but will not count toward performance evaluation until the CFT is officially implemented Oct. 1, 2009, according to All Marine Message 032/08.
Once officially implemented, the test will have its own 300-point system similar to the physical fitness test, McGuire said.
The CFT consists of three main events: movement to contact, ammunition lift and maneuver under fire.
The test was designed to challenge a Marine's individual fitness in a way similar to the physical demands that Marines face in combat, said Gunnery Sgt. Brantley Friend, chief instructor-trainer at the Martial Arts Center of Excellence, Quantico, Va.
"The CFT focuses more on challenging your endurance rather than just speed," McGuire said.
McGuire explained the events of the CFT during the demonstration while volunteer Marines from local units executed each event.
The Hansen demonstration started with the movement to contact event, where Marines ran a timed 880 yards, followed by the ammunition can lift, where the demonstrators lifted a 30-pound ammunition can over their heads repeatedly for two minutes.
For the maneuver under fire, the Marines completed a 25-yard sprint from portion the prone position before transitioning into a high crawl for 10 yards. The Marines then performed diagonal runs where they had to zigzag through cones until they reached a simulated casualty.
The Marines then performed casualty carries for 10 yards which transitioned into a fireman's carry for another 10 yards. Next, they ran 75 yards carrying two 30-pound ammunition cans. The maneuver under fire concluded with a simulated grenade throw followed by three push-ups.
By the end of the demonstration, the Marines appeared physically exhausted due to the intensity of the CFT.
"This [test] challenges you in a different way because it takes all your endurance and your strength to complete this," said Pfc. Justin Barnett, a motor transport operator with III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group. "The [casualty carry] is where it starts to wear you out."
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