CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar -- Putting hands on the equipment and experiencing the exercises allowed Soldiers currently deployed to Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar to learn the specifics of the Army Combat Fitness Test May 4, 2019.
The Soldiers conducting this training were from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 114th Infantry Regiment, 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, New Jersey Army National Guard who are currently deployed to Area Support Group-Qatar to serve as the security forces element for installations in the region.
"Starting in Fiscal Year 2021, which will be next October, the New Jersey National Guard is embracing this and we're going to start this whole program," said Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Horan, the senior enlisted leader for 1-114th Inf. Rgt. "We're doing a familiarization to get our Soldiers ready to know what they need to do to train up for this event."
This initial crawl through the six-event test allowed Soldiers to touch the equipment, many for the first time, and to see a proper demonstration of each exercise.
"Just like anything in the military you've got to crawl, walk and then you run," said Staff Sgt. Piotr Jenczelewski, operations noncommissioned officer, HHC, 1st Bn., 114th Inf. Rgt. "We want to familiarize the Soldiers to it and then we'll actually administer a test."
Jenczelewski, who led the instruction, and Horan said they want to make sure the Guardsman use the time while they are deployed to develop good fitness habits that will help them pass the ACFT when they return to New Jersey.
"I'm hoping that Soldiers will figure out what they need to do and how to change their workout in order to do each one of these events," Horan said. "When people get back from a deployment like this and we get back into the family grind and the daily work and back to civilian jobs, people just need to start thinking about the future of PT and this is the future of what guardsmen need to do in order to stay in the guard. I definitely think this is going to be a game changer when we get back for a lot of the Soldiers."
The ACFT, which more closely relates to duties and skills needed on modern battlefields, will require Soldiers to change from a push-up, sit-up, run fitness routine to one that focuses on the total body.
"You have to get out there and prep," he said. "You have to get out there and try the equipment. A lot of people have never dead-lifted. One of the essential tasks is to be physically ready at any point, especially for us in uniform, so coming out here and getting it done and getting behind the equipment is what counts."
The six-event AFCT consists of: a three repetition maximum deadlift, standing power throw, hand-release push-up, sprint-drag-carry, leg tuck and two-mile run. After Janczelewski's instruction, Soldiers were divided into groups to practice each of the five new events to see how they stacked up against the current black, silver and gold standards that are being field-tested.
"All the six events come back-to-back with minimal rest. For an individual Soldier it takes about 50 minutes to complete the test with only about 17 minutes of rest time," Jenczelewski said.
More information about the ACFT and its current field-testing status are available at www.army.mil/acft.