FORT BLISS, Texas -- Soldiers assigned to 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, participated in the evaluation of the proposed Army Combat Readiness Test on Ready First Field here, April 16 to 17. The proposed ACRT is part of the Army's effort to optimize Holistic Health and Fitness and improve Soldier readiness.
First Brigade was chosen as the first Forces Command active duty unit to assist the Army with this pre-decisional testing that is pending senior Army leadership staffing and approval.
Although the ACRT was evaluated here, it is only a small portion of the over-arching holistic system.
"The holistic health and fitness system contains five pillars, or five elements," said Dr. Whitfield East, a research physiologist at the United States Army Center for Initial Military Training. "Those are governance, programming, facilities and equipment, personnel and leader education."
Each battalion selected Soldiers from a wide array of military occupational specialties to participate in the two-day evaluation. Day one of the evaluation introduced Soldiers to the test events of the proposed ACRT in preparation of executing the actual test on April 17.
The ACRT assesses different components of physical fitness to include aerobic endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, balance, coordination and reaction time.
"We have based this off of warrior tasks and battle drills," said Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Enriquez, a research and analysis noncommissioned officer at the United States Army Center for Initial Military Training and administrator of the test.
"Because we have an Army Physical Fitness Test, we train for the APFT. Because we have missions, we train for the mission. So, you have infantrymen practicing road marches, you have artillerymen practicing gunnery, where they're moving 100-pound rounds left and right, but we have a test that doesn't have any of those demands in there. What we are trying to do is come up with a test that mimics those demands," said Enriquez.
Unlike the current APFT, the ACRT has six proposed events which include a deadlift, standing power throw, T push-up, 250-meter sprint-drag-carry, leg tuck and a 1-and-a-half mile run. The grading scale remains to be determined, but will include a minimum baseline standard which aligns with the fitness required to perform high physical demand Soldier tasks.
"I think it is a great test to really understand the muscle strength of a Soldier, as well as their overall fitness," said Staff Sgt. Michael Clausen, the master fitness trainer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st BCT and ACRT evaluation participant. "It gives a very in-depth look at how fit a Soldier is and how prepared they are to handle the rigors of combat. It was definitely an eye opener for me."