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    New York Army National Guard hosts ACFT grader certification at Camp Smith

    New York National Guard unit hosts Army Combat Fitness Test training

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Michael Davis | U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Daniel London, a Soldier assigned to 4th Finance Detachment, New...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Davis 

    New York National Guard

    CAMP SMITH, N.Y. – One hundred and eighteen National Guard Soldiers from eight states tried out the Army’s new Army Combat Fitness Test during a four-day training session at the New York National Guard’s Camp Smith Training Site near Peekskill Nov. 26-29.

    The training was hosted by the New York Army National Guard’s 3rd Battalion 142nd Aviation, which was selected to be one of several units conducting pilot fitness tests during the 2019 federal fiscal year.

    The goal of the training was twofold, according to Staff Sgt. Jessica Smiley, a National Guard Bureau liaison from the Center for Initial Military Training.

    First, the units will conduct the ACFT three times this fiscal year to track Soldier progress and compare overall scoring with the proposed grading.
    Second, the units will train and certify graders who can go back to their formations and train other Soldiers to administer the ACFT.

    The Camp Smith session was designed to produce certified graders for Army National Guard units. Soldiers from New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Ohio, and Kansas took part in the training.

    Smiley’s job for the next year is to work directly with active duty Mobile Training Teams (MTT) as they field test the ACFT at pilot National Guard units across the country.

    Camp Smith was Smiley’s third site-visit.

    So far, she said, all the initial resistance to changes in the test turns into acceptance after the four days of briefings and hands-on training.

    “Soldiers are more receptive after going through the training,” Smiley said. “When they understand the ‘why,’ they quickly transition from scared and timid to ready.”

    The National Guard Soldiers react the same way as Active Duty Soldiers do when they learn more about the new fitness tests, said Staff Sgt. Matthew Rondo, an active duty infantry Soldier who is part of the mobile training team. He’s already worked with three active duty installations.

    “I love being a part of making a positive change in the views of Soldiers,” Rondo said. “Once we help them see the purpose of the test and their ability complete it – they start having fun.”

    The Army’s fitness test is an annual requirement for all Soldiers. The new tests goes from three events in the current Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) to six events in the ACFT.

    The six events are:
    • Strength Deadlift
    • Standing Power Throw
    • Hand-raised Push-ups
    • 250-meter Sprint, Drag and Carry
    • Leg Tuck
    • Two-mile Run

    The increased number of events was strategically designed to test areas of physicality that are important in combat scenarios and that were not addressed in the older test.

    Rondo said that the events will not change, but the pilot tests this year will help the Army determine what scores and categories need to be adjusted.

    1st Sgt. Glenn Waldinger, the senior non-commissioned officer for E Co., 3-142 AVB, was one of the participants in the test and was surprised with the level of intensity each event required to complete.

    After completing the events, Waldinger said he was most excited to realize the diagnostic nature this test will have on the physical readiness of his Soldiers.

    “It’ll find your weak areas, exploit them, and force you to fix them,” Waldinger said.

    Staff Sgt. Victor Smith, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with A Co., Joint Task Force Empire Shield, typically earns the highest scores in his unit during fitness tests and agreed that the new test heightens a Soldiers understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.

    “I do routine workouts all the time at the gym,” Smith said. “This test is showing me my weak areas and where I need to start training differently to be effective.”

    The holistic nature of the ACFT is one of the biggest changes from the previous test and training techniques and equipment was a concern for most Soldiers, according to Rondo.

    His advice to everyone is to start training now. There are alternate trainings in the back of FM 7-22 and you don’t need a gym membership to get ready.

    Command Sgt. Maj. David Piwowarski, the New York Army National Guard’s senior enlisted advisor, was at the training to observe how his Soldiers were performing and attempted several of the events himself.

    “After seeing this, I’m even more convinced that this is achievable for our Soldiers and will help make us a better force,” Piwowarski said.



    Date Taken: 12.01.2018
    Date Posted: 12.07.2018 11:51
    Story ID: 302584

    Web Views: 534
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