FORT BUCHANAN, PR- Approximately 60 Soldiers from the 1st Mission Support Command (1st MSC), U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, the largest federal U.S. Army command in the region, trained in the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), Jan 30, at the Army Reserve installation's athletic track, with the assistance of Master Fitness trainers from the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School.
"We are here for the week, and the intent is to train Army Reserve-Puerto Rico Soldiers, so they can then train all the units in the island," said Capt. R.J. Carbone, ACFT team leader.
According to Carbone, some of the Soldiers expressed concerns at the beginning of the training.
"We are debunking a lot of myths. Soldiers have seen different things online and they had a lot of questions about the ACFT. However, once they take it, they realize it is not as difficult as it seems at first," added Carbone.
Sgt. Katherine Dozier, a Motor Transport Operator assigned to the 1st Battalion, 389th Regiment, U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, was one of the first Soldiers in the command to get trained and certified in the ACFT.
"It was very challenging. Soldiers need to certainly train for this test. I loved it," said Dozier, a Cidra, Puerto Rico native.
Dozier had some words of advice to all other Soldiers in the command, as they get ready for the fitness test.
"Make sure you immediately implement different types of exercises in your daily routines, as well as a lot of running. You will need it," added Dozier.
For Sgt. Maj. Julio Cesar Linares, the 1st MSC Operations Sergeant Major, the implementation of the test represents a culture change for the Army.
"This is a huge change for us. But at the same time, it represents a great opportunity for those young non commissioned officers, to shape and develop the future of our Army. This is their game," said Linares.
The implementation of the new test has not been free of logistical challenges.
"There is a lot of equipment involved with this new test, which requires a lot of space. However, once the equipment is set, the test runs smoothly," said Sgt. 1st Class Alvin Medina, 1st MSC Collective Training non commissioned officer in charge.
The new gender- and age-neutral Physical Training test will replace the run, sit-ups, push-ups test that Soldiers have known for the past four decades.
"All Soldiers must embrace change. This test truly evaluates critical physical skills that every Soldiers need in combat. It will be implemented as a diagnostic tool in fiscal year 2020. It will be implemented as a record test in fiscal year 2021," added Medina.
The test includes six events to include the deadlift, the standing power throw, the hand-release push-ups, the sprint-drag-carry, the leg tuck and the two-mile run.
The U.S. Army Reserve headquarters selected the 77th Combat Sustaining Support Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, as one of the 62 pilots units that are currently implementing the ACFT.