Fit To Serve: Shaping Up
Master Chief Petty Officer Terry D. Scott speaks right to the point when it comes to physical fitness: “No enemy, whether it’s an opposing force or a natural tragedy, is going to give us time to get fit.”
There it is. The NYTimes reports that in 2003 alone more than 3,000 soldiers washed out of the service for being overweight or unfit, according to the latest numbers from the Defense Department. Lt. Col. Joanna J. Reagan, the chief of the nutrition care division at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, N.C. speaks to the parallel nature of the American military with the American public. “The military is a reflection of the American public, and we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic.” This epidemic manifests in the lives of women in the Army in an average gain of nearly 17 pounds in their first year of service.
Commitments in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere are forcing a change of policy: leaders have concluded they can no longer afford the drain on personnel, and fitness initiatives are being put in place for service men and women stationed around the globe.
Today every member of the military, no matter how many years he or she has been in the service, is required to pass a fitness test that includes a run, pull-ups and push-ups, once a year in the Navy and Air Force, twice yearly in the Marines and Army. Service members also must undergo a "tape test" - a measurement of the waist for men, and the waist and hips for women - that is used to calculate body fat. The results are compiled into a composite score that tells whether they still qualify for the service. The minimum score varies according to age and sex.
Tommi underwent her six-month fitness test just yesterday. She reports having “smoked” the run – two miles in 16:44, but she failed the sit-up requirement. Reasons being as they were “legitimate,” however, she’ll have one more shot at making it happen next week. A failure on any part of the evaluation means a repeat on all parts, so Tommi will have to pass the run again along with a second chance at the sit-ups. If I know Tommi, she’ll make it happen. Early morning rising for fitness training and a run around the track is just not her cup of tea!
technorati tags: war, fitness, Tommi