Fort Irwin soldiers try out new physical fitness test

Private 1st Class Justin Sanzone participates in the standing power throw. (Staff Sgt. Julie Jaeger, Vulture Team)

FORT IRWIN, Calif. — Soldiers at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin have started training with the Army’s new fitness test. The Army has come up with a new way of testing soldier’s physical abilities. Instead of the Army Physical Fitness Test, they’ve come out with the Army Combat Fitness Test. The APFT entails two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups and a two-mile run. Many soldiers say the new ACFT has definitely challenged them, including Private 1st Class Justin Sanzone with the Operations Group.

He recently took the test for the first time and he says the two most difficult events for him were the Sprint-Drag-Carry and the two-mile run. He believes it may be tough for lighter-weight people like himself, pulling 90-pounds and carrying 80-pounds worth of kettle bells (40 pounds on each side), and sprinting on top of that, “kills;” however he enjoys the versatility of the test.

Private 1st Class Justin Sanzone participates in the sprint-drag-carry events of the new Army Combat Fitness Test. (Staff Sgt. Julie Jaeger, Vulture Team)

As directed by the Army across the board, every soldier must have two diagnostic tests before April of this year. For this reason, Master Sgt. Douglas Jones, the Operations Group Scorpion 3B, and Sgt. 1st Class Janes Greene, Operations Scorpion E11, organized an opportunity on the blue track for an entire week in January for all of their units to take the entire test, consisting of six events. Master Sgt. Jones says most have not trained for the ACFT.

“When they are faced with having to do all the events back to back, they definitely need to know now what they need to work on,” he said.

Jones said this opportunity does not come without its challenges, though. According to him, not all units have received all the necessary equipment to test their soldiers but they expect to receive the rest this month.

“This has been the problem all across the Army,” Jones said.

Staff Sgt. Carlos Segura explained that the test was easy on his body.  He did not pass all the events, including the two-mile run, but projects positively about it. Though he had trouble in one event, he says that Soldiers will do well as long as they, “Keep an open mind about physical training due to our profession,” Segura said.

“Soldiers will do just fine, other than that, I don’t see this as being a challenge for the Army at all.”

Segura said this ACFT is more fun than the APFT.

“That’s the one thing I like about the physical training, is that it has a fun aspect about it and this totally is, especially because it ties back to what he thinks about the cross-fit games.

“This is an amazing event as well as one to spectate, that’s why it’s enjoyable,” Segura said. “It will kick you in the tushi. It’s mind over matter stuff.”

The new ACFT consists of six events, including a three-repetition maximum deadlift, standing power throw, hand release push-up and arm extension, sprint-drag-carry, leg tuck and two-mile run. The Army is officially projected to roll out the ACFT, becoming the fitness test of record in the new fiscal year of October 2020 of this year.