SFA ROTC prepares for new physical fitness standard ahead of Army’s official release

SFA ROTC prepares for new physical fitness standard ahead of Army’s official release

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Cadets and officers who are part of Stephen F. Austin State University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) will soon train by new standards more difficult than the current standards held by the U.S. Army -- at least for now.

Currently, the Army uses the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), which all soldiers and members of the U.S. Army Cadet Command are required to take and pass. However, the Army will soon adopt a more strenuous test -- the Army Combat Fitness Test -- that is gender and age-neutral, unlike the version that currently breaks down scores between men and women and six various age groups.

“I believe readiness will be the overwhelming deciding factor of any sort of action the Army ends up taking,” said Master Sergeant Ra Cantu with SFA ROTC. “The ACFT, it’s going to be, it’s a bigger test."

Instead of three events like in the APFT -- push-ups, sit-ups, and a timed two-mile run -- the ACFT will feature six events which will be longer in duration and require the solider be more physically fit to finish in an appropriate time.

“A fit solider could be done with the APFT in about 25 minutes or less,' Cantu explained. “Whereas in the [ACFT], the new one, the average soldier is going to be done around 50 or so minutes. They’re still kind of working it out, their collecting data and everything else.”

“The thing I’m anticipating is the standardization across the board of how we’ll implement the actual ACFT,” said Sgt. First Class Levi Vernon. “We look forward to using the Homer Bryce football stadium to execute a lot of the exercises.”

There’s still a push-up style event and a two-mile run, but new events will include weight-lifting style events, such as three-repetition maximum deadlift and a standing power throw involving a 10-pound medicine ball.

“As far as preparing a solider for combat, that’s usually going to be on the unit the soldier is serving in,” said Cantu. “This test is going to be an attempt to kind of standardize a culture of fitness in the U.S. Army. It’s really not that drastic of a change.”

“They expect us to be able to teach the knowledge, and when we teach the knowledge to cadets, they’ll be able to then -- when they’re commissioned in the United States Army -- they’ll actually be able to bring that to their units,” said Vernon.

The new ACFT test will be implemented by Army Cadet Command units like the SFA ROTC by Oct. 2019, Cantu said, and should be fully implemented in the Army by Oct. 2020.

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