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March 24, 2006

Persons of Size in the Army.

From an Army Captain who recently handed over command:


How's this for messed up? Army fatties, rejoice!

This is, IMO, completely retarded. I can only guess that they're having too many course failures and/or turnbacks for failing to meet ht/wt and/or APFT standards, possibly connected to the difficulty of doing PT (especially running) during extended deployments. And I'm sure a lot of soldiers and NCOs come back from deployment overdue for some school or other, and get shipped to the next available class, without much of a chance to get back in shape. Of course, my solution to this would be to delay sending them until they meet the standards.

On a separate but related note, I don't think the Army should get quite so bent out of shape about ht/wt/body fat. I think if you can pass the PT test, it shouldn't matter. However, I would make those soldiers who don't meet ht/wt/body fat pass at a higher level-say, increase the minimum to pass by 5 pts per event for every 1% or fraction thereof over the standard.

Because those big corn fed boys are useful for humping heavy stuff, like mortars, MGs, 155 rounds, HMMWV tires...

CPT "Z" (Changed to protect the guilty)

Heh. An issue near and dear to the Armorer's heart, having fought AR 600-9 and it's pernicious effects for virtually his entire career. While I don't completely disagree with the good Captain - I do disagree on making hefty people meet a higher standard. Either they're acceptably fit, or they aren't. Regardless of being an endomorph, ectomorph, or mesomorph. AR 600-9 is more about looks than fitness. And looks trump over fitness, too (in my Army, not that I supported that).

Why do we simply not raise the fitness bar so that if you aren't fit it won't matter? Simple. Too many thin, pretty people would fail the new standard. Far more than fat guys would pass. And then, horror of horror, there would *still* be fat guys enraging the Sergeant's Major and Pencil-Necked, Sunken-Chested Marathon-Running-Geek enablers in the Officer Corps.

Truth - the sin is Not Looking Good In The Bus Driver Suit. I don't care if you can score 290 on your PT test (out of 300, with a minimum to pass of 210). I'm gonna toss yer fat ass and keep that good looking pansy who scores 240, because your profile view just pisses me off. Think that isn't an issue with some people? Read on -

From a serving Sergeant Major:

Here is my two cents once again.....thank god I am retiring. I can just see it getting to the point where guys like Southerland [sic] (my cartman from south park soldier) representing at an NCOES school.......good god how low will we go. SGM X
Now SGM X's "Cartman" troop may be a non-PT marshmallow who can't lead his way out of a paper bag and doesn't know his job. But that doesn't appear to be the SGM's concern (and I'm putting words in his mouth, to be sure).

From a serving CSM:


Now all Soldiers don't have to feel guilty about telling MacDonald's or Burger King to Super Size their order, because they still get to graduate whether they fail the APFT, HT/WT, or both. As a previous Commandant of [an] NCO Academy, I have my own personal opinion about this new change in graduation requirements & I've already given it to the FORSCOM CSM.

I knew this was coming down the chimney, but this is it in black & white & is now the LAW of the Land. Make sure your Leaders/Soldiers are aware of the new changes, but this is not a free card to BLOW UP!

CSM X.

I'm sympathetic to the PT issue with CSM X. And I don't mind a little emphasis on weight, either. And I think I know why we've implemented the policy - as CPT Z observed, keeping it up while deployed can be hard. And with people shifting around so much, delaying their schooling might find them in a unit which gets lock-down for a new deployment and they never get to school - hence, send 'em whether they can pass or not.

But, are we doing these guys a favor? Nope. We're still going to kill their careers, at least kill 'em if the war slows down to a more peacetime optempo. How? Because no matter how well they do in the course, how well they perform, how well they test - their academic efficiency report in their personnel file is going to read "Marginally Achieved Course Standards". Which, when things slow down, will be cause to pass them over for promotion. Got that? A guy who scored 70% in academics, isn't too chubby, and got a 210 on the PT test is going to have a better report than the guy who's a little chunky, got a 240 on the PT test and 95% in academics. We gotta have standards - I'm with it. But the first guy is going to get promoted with a lot less effort than the second guy, who is the better all around troop.

Which means, soldiers - you've got to do what you've got to do to get and stay on the right side of the standards. But it also means, perhaps more importantly, that the LEADERS have to lead. And make sure that they maximize their troop's chances to excel, to include, if possible, delaying them from attending schools and giving them the opportunity to get right with the regs if the situation allows.

Because the stupid part of this whole thing is - we tell ourselves our standards are all about combat readiness and being fit to fight. But - when we have to fight, we ditch the standards to keep the bodies. Then, after we've sent them to combat and the war ends, we cripple them for a peacetime career by applying peacetime standards to wartime performances... peacetime standards that we just, in effect, said weren't really that important anyway.

Which means what? They aren't important in peacetime either, truth to tell. They just give us easy ways to cull the herd without having to do the hard job of writing proper evaluations - we just inflate 'em and let this objective standard be a weed whacker, because remember - a good looking fit gets by soldier is better than a high-performing fatso who can pass a PT test.

Just sayin'.

I invite your comments...

Ya wanna read the actual message - it's in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

FYI,
As you can see major changes regarding Physical Fitness and Height and Weight Requirements for Military Institutional Training.


FROM: DA WASHINGTON DC//DAMO-TR//DAMO-TRL//DAMO-TRI//

TO: AL ALARACT


SUBJECT: PHYSICAL FITNESS AND HEIGHT AND WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS FOR MILITARY INSTITUTIONAL TRAINING


1. REFERENCES:


A. ARMY REGULATION 350-1, DATED, 13 JANUARY 2006, ARMY TRAINING AND LEADER DEVELOPMENT.

B. ARMY REGULATION 600-9, DATED, 10 JUNE 1987, THE ARMY WEIGHT CONTROL PROGRAM AND INTERIM CHANGE (101), DATED, 4 MARCH 1994.

C. ARMY REGULATION 600-8-2, DATED, 23 DECEMBER 2004, SUSPENSION OF FAVORABLE PERSONNEL ACTIONS (FLAGS).

D. MESSAGE, DTG 220334Z JUL 05, SUBJECT: ALARACT 145/2005, APFT STANDARDS FOR SOLDIERS ENROLLING IN WARRANT OFFICER CANDIDATE SCHOOL (WOCS) OR OFFICERS CANDIDATE SCHOOL (OCS).

2. SOLDIERS ATTENDING INSTITUTIONAL TRAINING COURSES SHOULD MEET THE HEIGHT AND WEIGHT STANDARDS IAW AR 600-9 AND THE PHYSICAL FITNESS STANDARDS OF AR 350-1.

3. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, THE ARMY'S POLICY CONCERNING THE ARMY PHYSICAL FITNESS TEST (APFT) AND HEIGHT AND WEIGHT STANDARDS (AR 600-9) APPLICABLE TO INSTITUTIONAL TRAINING IS AMENDED TO REFLECT THE FOLLOWING CHANGES (REFERENCE 1 A, PARAGRAPH 3-9):

A. AS AN END OF COURSE GRADUATION REQUIREMENT, SOLDIERS ATTENDING INSTITUTIONAL TRAINING COURSES, IN EITHER A PCS OR TDY STATUS, WILL BE ADMINISTERED THE APFT AND SCREENED FOR COMPLIANCE WITH AR 600-9 STANDARDS.

(1) SOLDIERS WHO MEET ACADEMIC COURSE REQUIREMENTS, BUT FAIL APFT STANDARDS WILL BE CONSIDERED A COURSE GRADUATE AND RECEIVE A DA FORM 1059 WITH ITEM 13. C. BLOCK MARKED, "MARGINALLY ACHIEVED COURSE STANDARDS, " AND ITEM 16 CONTAINING THE STATEMENT, "13. C.: SOLDIER MET ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS, BUT FAILED TO MEET APFT STANDARDS IAW AR 350-1."

(2) SOLDIERS WHO MEET ACADEMIC COURSE REQUIREMENTS, BUT FAIL BODY FAT COMPOSITION STANDARDS WILL BE CONSIDERED A COURSE GRADUATE AND RECEIVE A DA FORM 1059 WITH ITEM 13. C. BLOCK MARKED, "MARGINALLY ACHIEVED COURSE STANDARDS, " AND ITEM 16 CONTAINING THE STATEMENT, "13. C.: SOLDIER MET ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS, BUT FAILED TO MEET BODY COMPOSITION STANDARDS IAW AR 600-9."

(3) SOLDIERS WHO MEET ACADEMIC COURSE REQUIREMENTS, BUT FAIL TO MEET ARMY STADNARDS FOR BOTH THE APFT AND WEIGHT CONTROL WILL BE CONSIDERED A COURSE GRADUATE AND RECEIVE A DA FORM 1059 WITH ITEM 13C BLOCK MARKED "MARGINALLY ACHIEVED COURSE STANDARDS", AND ITEM 16 CONTAINING THE STATEMENT "13C: SOLDIER MET ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS, BUT FAILED TO MEET APFT STANDARDS IAW AR 350-1 AND FAILED TO MEET THE BODY FAT COMPOSITION STANDARDS IAW AR 600-9."

B. BECAUSE OF THIS CHANGE, INSTITUTIONAL TRAINING COURSES WILL ADMINISTER THE ARMY PHYSICAL FITNESS TEST AND HEIGHT/WEIGHT SCREENING FOR FINAL COURSE REQUIREMENT, ALLOWING FOR ONE RETEST AND/OR SCREENING NO EARLIER THAN SEVEN DAYS AFTER THE APFT FAILURE AND/OR FAILING TO MEET HEIGHT AND WEIGHT STANDARDS.

C. THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH WITHIN AR 350-1, PARAGRAPH 3-9, TITLED, "PHYSICAL FITNESS AND HEIGHT AND WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS FOR MILITARY INSTITUTIONAL TRAINING," SUB PARAGRAPHS, G, H AND I ARE NO LONGER APPLICABLE.

D. SOLDIERS FLAGGED FOR WEIGHT CONTROL WILL NO LONGER BE BLOCKED FROM SCHEDULING, SELECTION, OR ATTENDANCE TO MILITARY SCHOOLING. IN CONCERT WITH THIS ANNOUNCMENT, THE ARMY G-1 WILL AMEND AR 600-8-2 TO REFLECT THIS CHANGE.

4. SOLDIERS ENROLLING IN WOCS OR OCS MUST TAKE AND PASS THE STANDARD THREE-EVENT APFT. THE ALTERNATE APFT IS AUTHORIZED WITH AN APPROVED WAIVER FROM HQDA, DCS, G3/5/7 (REFERENCE 1 D). IF A SOLDIER ENROLLED IN WOCS OR OCS FAILS THE INITIAL APFT, THE SOLDIER WILL BE ALLOWED ONE RETEST WITH A SUBSEQUENT CLASS. SOLDIERS FAILING THE SECOND APFT WILL BE CONSIDERED INELIGIBLE AND MUST REAPPLY FOR OCS OR WOCS SELECTION.

5. PARAGRAPH 3-9 C OF AR 350-1, REMAINS IN EFFECT. THE CG, TRADOC, WILL RECOMMEND PHYSICAL FITNESS STANDARDS FOR ENTRY INTO RECRUITER, DRILL SERGEANT, AIRBORNE AND RANGER COURSES, SPECIAL FORCES ASSESSMENT AND SELECTION, AND OTHER SCHOOLS REQUIRING SEPARATE PHYSICAL FITNESS STANDARDS TO HQDA, DCS, G-3/5/7, FOR REVIEW AND APPROVAL. SOLDIERS WHO FAIL TO MEET THESE STANDARDS WILL BE DENIED ENROLLMENT AND RETURNED TO THEIR UNIT OF ASSIGNMENT.

6. ALTHOUGH SOLDIERS ATTENDING INSTITUTIONAL TRAINING SHOULD MEET THE HEIGHT AND WEIGHT STANDARDS IAW AR 600-9 AND THE PHYSICAL FITNESS STANDARDS OF AR 350-1, FAILING TO MEET THOSE STANDARDS WILL NOT RESULT IN BEING REMOVED FROM THE COURSE. INSTEAD, SOLDIERS WILL CONTINUE TO RECEIVE TRAINING AND THEIR DA FORM 1059 WILL REFLECT THEIR DEFICIENCIES AS SPECIFIED IN PARAGRAPH 3 ABOVE.

7. THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH WITHIN AR 350-1, PARAGRAPH 3-10, TITLED, "ENROLLMENT DENIALS FOR FAILURE TO MEET HEIGHT AND WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS AND NONACADEMIC DISMISSAL FOR FAILURE TO MEET ARMY PHYSICAL FITNESS STANDARD" IS NO LONGER APPLICABLE. ALL SOLDIERS PREVIOUSLY DENIED ENROLLMENT FOR APFT FAILURE OR WEIGHT CONTROL WILL BE IMMEDIATELY OTHERWISE CONSIDERED ELIGIBLE FOR COURSE SCHEUDLING, SELECTION AND ATTENDANCE.

8. POC FOR THIS MESSAGE IS XXXXXXX

9. EXPIRATION DATE CANNOT BE DETERMINED AT THIS TIME.