By Harry SarlesJuly 24, 2019
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan.-- Colonels, lieutenant colonels, and command sergeants major experienced the Army Combat Fitness Test during diagnostic testing July 13. Nearly 150 future brigade and battalion commanders and command sergeants major participated in the School for Command Preparation's first diagnostic test. The test will become a routine experience for future iterations of the Pre-Command Course.
Brig. Gen. Steve Maranian, Deputy Commanding General of the Combined Arms Center for Education and Provost of the Army University, said, "A lot of these folks haven't done this yet in their organizations. They're getting ready to go and lead Soldiers and they have to be ready to lead their battalions and brigades through this when they get out on the line. It's great that we can facilitate the ACFT for them to get some reps and sets under their belts."
Lt. Col. Geoffrey Gorsuch, 3rd Infantry Division 20th Field Artillery, agreed, "It allows us to each do one rotation of it so we get to practice each event, see how we really are, and see where we need to get better before we institute this as an Army standard. 90 percent of us have never see this set up so it's good to see how they're doing it. I think we're all taking lessons learned from it good and bad."
As with any first time event there was plenty of good and bad to learn from. "Overall it's a good event," said Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Horten, facilitator at the school and non-commissioned officer in charge of the diagnostic event. "Of course it's the first one we've done so there's going to be some growing and learning pains as we go. There's always room for improvement. Overall it's functioned well. We're within our time standards for all events. We're taking good notes so when we do our AAR we'll see the corrections we can make to make the next one better.
Horten also said that, although the event is diagnostic, the results are important because they will feed into the master database that will be used to finalize the standards before the ACFT becomes a record event.
Maj. Steve Gagner, Commander of the Army Mountain Warfare School, said, "The ACFT will become the physical fitness test about a year from now, and so it's great to get exposure to it now, understand where we are personally, but also understand the demands our Soldiers are going to need. I think the test has already shown us it's a great example of what comprehensive fitness is as opposed to the standard push-ups, sit-ups, and 2-mile run we all grew up with." He added, the Mountain Warfare School will begin conducting diagnostic ACFTs in October.
Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa Duncan, Army University Command Sergeant Major, said she thinks the new ACFT is more fun than its predecessor. "I think the new ACFT is phenomenal. I think it checks all muscle groups and it's related to our wartime mission. For someone who regularly scores very high on the APFT coming out here and taking this for the first time, it checks you. It definitely makes you know that we have other muscles that we need to use."
She said, "These [commanders and command sergeants major taking the test] are going to be the stewards who take it forward. When they get out here and experience what it's really about they're going to be able to go back and share that with their Soldiers."