During the Facebook town hall meeting on July 3, people raised questions about correct wear of the Army physical fitness uniform and about the location of approved physical training areas. Questions about wearing the improved physical fitness uniform, or IPFU, and the use of headphones to listen to music while performing off-duty physical training, or PT, highlight concerns Soldiers have about the current policies.
According to Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Daigle, Fort Huachuca garrison command sergeant major, Policy 11-36 states that “IPFUs must be worn when personnel are conducting PT between the hours of 0500-0800 (5 – 8 a.m.) Monday thru Friday, even if the Soldiers is in an off-duty status.” This policy also highlights the prohibited use of headphones, ear pieces, cell phones, iPods or any other electronic devices while wearing the IPFU, military service uniform, any PT uniform, or variation of military uniform during any fitness activity.
“Right now the policy is, if you’re on leave, if you’re exempt from doing unit PT, or if you do PT on Fort Huachuca … you have to be in your IPFU,” Daigle said.
However, Daigle added he will be reviewing these policy concerns along with Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Fairley, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, or USAICoE, command sergeant major. Daigle has submitted revisions to Fairley and expects FH Policy 13-36 to be implemented by mid August. Changes to the policy will include the use of headphones in physical fitness centers and allowing personnel to wear civilian workout attire if they are on leave or pass.
Other parts of Policy 11-36 outline that prime time physical readiness training, or PRT, hours are 5 – 8 a.m. The IPFU uniform or appropriate service PT uniform is the standard duty uniform for USAICoE and Fort Huachuca during PRT hours.
The army combat uniform, or ACU, can be worn instead of the IPFU for tactical road marches, combative PT or other combat-related PRT. Another exception to the IPFU is the wearing of unit distinctive shirts for unit-level functions. They must receive prior approval from the unit’s superior commander.
For those concerned about wearing the IPFU for reasons other than PRT or traveling off post, the policy reads, “Soldiers, permanent party and students, will not wear the Army physical fitness uniform to conduct their shopping, unless it’s a brief stop at the shoppette, or civilian commercial equivalent for gas or food between the hours of (5 – 8 a.m.). The IPFU is not appropriate to wear to restaurants, shopping malls or movies.”
The only other time the uniform can worn off post is for organized PRT at platoon level or higher. Prior approval for this reason must be coordinated through the unit superior commander.
While Policy 11-36 gives PT uniform description and usage, Fort Huachuca Regulation 600-2 explains PT areas, responsibilities and procedures. In this document, Apache Flats, known as the “common use” PT area, is encompassed by Gatewood, Backer, Johnson, Whitside and Monitor Site Roads and intersections and roadways to include across Arizona to Stein Roads.
From 5 – 7 a.m., road guard details or designated barriers are in place around the Apache Flats perimeter. They ensure the safety of Soldiers during PRT in this area by restricting traffic flow. During PRT hours, the speed limit through the PT zone is 10 miles per hour, even when no Soldiers are present.
While the designated area is set up to safely conduct PRT, units are not limited to performing PT on other parts of post. Daigle mentioned that if Soldiers decide to use another part of post outside Apache Flats, they need to keep safety in mind; especially while running with traffic. Motorists should be following similar rules.
“Be aware that between these hours, these are prime-time physical readiness training hours,” Daigle said. “Be aware that Soldiers are going to be out there, and just slow down a bit and yield the way.”