The combat fitness test

For years, the physical fitness test has been the determining factor of how fit a Marine is.
But the PFT was criticized by some as not accurately reflecting a Marine’s combat readiness.
In 2007, the Corps’ Training and Education Command at Quantico, Va., was tasked with developing a physical test that would better gauge a Marine’s physical conditioning and preparedness for war. Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway had the combat fitness test unveiled in 2008, but official scoring for Marines didn’t begin until last year.
The CFT consists of an 880-yard sprint, an ammo-can lift and a maneuver-under-fire course. Each section is scored with a maximum of 100 points possible.
“The CFT scoring table is designed so that 5 percent of Marines will be able to achieve a perfect score, based on results of the data collection period of CFT development,” 2nd Lt. Brian Villiard, a spokesman at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, said in an e-mail response to Stars and Stripes.
Starting this year, Marines will take their PFT in the first half of the year and the CFT in the second half, officials said.
“While in Afghanistan I found myself using functional fitness (moving quickly in short spurts, lifting, moving objects) as often as I used endurance type fitness (extended movements up into the rugged terrain),” said Lt. Col. Dan Yaroslaski, the commanding officer of Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, on Okinawa. “The CFT is a challenge for each and every Marine.”
“Both events are important,” said Yaroslaski, who recently returned from the 10-month combat deployment. “You have to have endurance and the ability to pull yourself up into a building, while you also have to handle combat-related items like ammo cans, hand grenades, conduct buddy drags and fireman’s carries, all while having the presence of mind to solve problems.”