CAMP BEUHRING, Kuwait --
More than 250 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Command Element completed their initial, “inventory” Combat Fitness Test here over several days during their ongoing sustainment and bilateral training with the Kuwaitis.
Marines from Battalion Landing Team 2/6, the Ground Combat Element of the MEU, as well as Combat Logistics Battalion-26, the MEU's Logistics Combat Element, each conducted a CFT during a recent port visit in Bahrain.
The test, which the Marine Corps is phasing into its yearly cycle of training for all Marines, challenges them to perform tasks more closely simulating conditions on the battlefield than the current standard Physical Fitness Test, which consists of a run, pull-ups and crunches, according to Staff Sgt. John Trimble, Marine Air Ground Task Force Plans Chief for the 26th MEU.
“Anyone can train for the PFT and not be a strong person,” he said. “With the CFT you must be full-body strong; even though it’s less time, your whole body has to be strong.” Trimble said the MEU performed the CFT to conduct an inventory and to familiarize the Marines with the new test.
Corporal Christopher A. Pruett, a supply administration clerk in the Command Element, agreed.
“You have to use more muscles than just what you use for pull-ups and crunches and running in the PFT,” he said.
The first clue to the difference between the two fitness tests is the uniform: whereas Marines take the PFT in the standard green-on-green physical training uniform, the CFT requires Marines to be in the uniform they will wear into a fight, boots and the distinctive MarPat camouflage uniform.
The test starts with a run.
“It’s a movement-to-contact run,” explained Trimble. He explained the reasoning behind the 880-yard run is that, “880 yards is too far for most small arms, but within range of crew serves (machine guns), so it is a viable distance to get to a contact point.”
Following the run, Marines go to the next event, an ammo-can lift.
Marines are given 2 minutes to lift a 30-pound ammo can over their heads and back to shoulder level, simulating loading ammo onto a truck or other lifting situations, said Trimble.
Following the ammo can lift, Marines move to the maneuver-under-fire portion of the test, which contains aspects of what may happen in combat, said Trimble.
This portion of the test includes different kinds of crawls, sprints, a buddy drag, a fireman’s carry, sprinting while carrying two ammo cans, diagonal runs and a simulated grenade throw.
“It is kind of a practical application in addition to being a test,” said Trimble.
Overall, Pruett said he likes the CFT better than the PFT.
“It forces you to use a little bit more inner strength,” he said. “Also it’s more of a competition; like you try to get a better score than the person in front of you.”
He said the test is was also kind of a wake-up call.
“It makes you realize what your strong and weak points are and makes you want to work on them,” he said.