COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As the U.S. Army transitions this year to a new standardized fitness test, we were there as the new fitness equipment was dropped off on Fort Benning.
Last year, News Leader 9 joined soldiers on Fort Benning to try out the new, more strenuous 6-event Army combat fitness test or ACFT. Now that it has been approved, it will replace the three-event standard test that has been in place since 1980. That change goes into effect this October.
To make that happen, the Army is getting $70 million worth of equipment to units all over the nation.
“Looking forward to putting it into use and really developing our physical fitness and readiness," 1st SFAB public affairs officer Major Matt Fontaine said.
Accepting the delivery on Fort Benning, Major Matt Fontaine says his 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade needs to be physically fit for missions with foreign partners, telling us the tools inside the crates and the new fitness test will help prevent injuries and prepare troops for anything they face.
“The intent is to modify the culture in the Army and to really try to create warrior athletes who have that physical strength, agility to perform any number of tasks, some combat related, some not combat related," Major Fontaine also told us.
The delivery included more than 300 sets of the weights and more to Fort Benning, each box designed to accommodate 50 soldiers.
“We’re issuing these kits to 35 different units, doing the same thing 35 different times over a compressed schedule of 4 days, but the soldiers and commanders at Fort Benning have been phenomenol," Jay Sutherland, of US Tank and Automotive Command, said.
The equipment, made in Alabama, will also be used in testing for soldiers that are injured, but they’ll have an alternate ACFT, required to do three of the six events: the max deadlift, sprint-drag-carry and one of the aerobic events.
Major Fontaine added, “Having this equipment will allow our soldiers to incorporate practice events, training specific to the new ACFT in addition to the physical fitness events they already do.”
The new plan: all active-duty soldiers will take two ACFT diagnostic tests this year, while there is just one for Guard and reservists.