By Thomas RuyleNovember 26, 2019
FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- More than 100 Army inspectors general, both soldiers and civilians attending the World Wide Inspector General Conference, gathered early on April 10 at Specker Field House here to get an up close look at the new Army Combat Fitness Test, or ACFT.
A team of five Army fitness instructors assigned to Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Eustis, Virginia, provided a demonstration of each event, then invited IG personnel to try it for themselves.
Maj. Joseph Flores, a physical therapist who is the officer in charge of the ACFT Mobile Training Team based at Fort Eustis, said educating the inspector general community is key to successfully implementing the ACFT.
"With the ACFT being the new 'inventory item' for the Army, we feel it is important that inspectors general understand the new test, its execution, and grading standards so that if any issues arise and the ACFT is the focal point ... the IGs will be not necessarily subject matter experts, but thoroughly learned in all things ACFT," Flores said.
The six-event test is designed to better connect fitness with combat readiness, and is set for Army-wide implementation in late 2020. Until then, the ACFT is being implemented by designated test units across the Army on a not-for-record basis as a way to assess the effectiveness of the new test and introduce soldiers to the new standards.
Lt. Gen. Leslie C. Smith, the 66th Inspector General, participated in several ACFT events and appreciated the opportunity for IGs to see it in action.
"I was impressed with the competitive nature of the inspectors general soldiers and civilians," he said. "They really pushed themselves hard during the conduct of the demonstration and asked great thought provoking questions to the team."
Flores emphasized the new test is designed to improve individual readiness, reduce injuries, enhance stamina and transform the culture of Army fitness.
The ACFT events include, in order, the three-repetition maximum deadlift, standing power throw, hand-release pushup, sprint-drag-carry, leg tuck, and two-mile run.
Flores added the intent behind the ACFT mobile training events is to "alleviate any fears that individuals may have had prior to receiving our instruction and then having the ability to experience what the new test is all about."
Col. Ray Herrera, the command inspector general with U.S. Army South, participated in several of the ACFT events.
"After taking the test, I believe the ACFT is a substantial improvement toward determining readiness, and it better prepares soldiers than our current annual test," Herrera said.
Herrera emphasized the need for inspectors general to understand the new test as it's implemented.
"The instructors did a tremendous job detailing the nuances of testing and evaluating, giving great insight for us as inspectors general," he said.
More information on the ACFT can be found at https://www.army.mil/acft/.