T Nation

Army Basic Revamp

Anyone know anything about them moving this style of training to the other branches and when it will be implemented?
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_new_basic_training

FORT JACKSON, S.C. â?? At 5 a.m. on the Army’s largest training base, soldiers grunt through the kinds of stretches, body twists and bent-leg raises that might be seen in an “ab blaster” class at a suburban gym.

Adapting to battlefield experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army is revamping its basic training regimen for the first time in three decades by nixing five-mile runs and bayonet drills in favor of zigzag sprints and honing core muscles.

Trainers hope the switch will better prepare soldiers physically for the pace of combat, with its sudden dashes and rolling gun battles. They also want to toughen recruits who are often more familiar with Facebook than fistfights.

The exercises are part of the first major overhaul in Army basic fitness training since men and women began training together in 1980, said Frank Palkoska, head of the Army’s Fitness School at Fort Jackson, which has worked several years on overhauling the service’s fitness regime.

The new plan is being expanded this month at the Army’s four other basic training installations â?? Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Fort Sill, Okla., Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Knox, Ky.

“We don’t run five miles in combat, but you run across the street every day,” Palkoska said, adding, “I’m not training long-distance runners. I’m training warriors” who must shuttle back and forth across a back alley.

Drill sergeants with combat experience in the current wars are credited with urging the Army to change training, in particular to build up core muscle strength to walk patrols with heavy packs and body armor or to haul a buddy out of a burning vehicle.

One of those experienced drill sergeants is 1st Sgt. Michael Todd, a veteran of seven deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

On a recent training day Todd was spinning recruits around to give them the feel of rolling out of a tumbled Humvee. Then he tossed on the ground pugil sticks made of plastic pipe and foam, forcing trainees to crawl for their weapons before they pounded away on each other.

“They have to understand hand-to-hand combat, to use something other than their weapon, a piece of wood, a knife, anything they can pick up,” Todd said.

The new training also uses “more calisthenics to build core body power, strength and agility,” Palkoska said in an office bedecked with 60-year-old black and white photos of World War II-era mass exercise drills. Over the 10 weeks of basic, a strict schedule of exercises is done on a varied sequence of days so muscles rest, recover and strengthen.

Another aim is to toughen recruits from a more obese and sedentary generation, trainers said.

Many recruits didn’t have physical education in elementary, middle or high school and therefore tend to lack bone and muscle strength. When they ditch diets replete with soda and fast food for healthier meals and physical training, they drop excess weight and build stronger muscles and denser bones, Palkoska said.

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, the three-star general in charge of revamping all aspects of initial training, said his overall goal is to drop outmoded drills and focus on what soldiers need today and in the future.

Bayonet drills had continued for decades, even though soldiers no longer carry the blades on their automatic rifles. Hertling ordered the drills dropped.

“We have to make the training relevant to the conditions on the modern battlefield,” Hertling said during a visit to Fort Jackson in January.

The general said the current generation has computer skills and a knowledge base vital to a modern fighting force. He foresees soldiers using specially equipped cell phones to retrieve information on the battlefield to help repair a truck or carry out an emergency lifesaving medical technique.

But they need to learn how to fight.

“Most of these soldiers have never been in a fistfight or any kind of a physical confrontation. They are stunned when they get smacked in the face,” said Capt. Scott Sewell, overseeing almost 190 trainees in their third week of training. “We are trying to get them to act, to think like warriors.”

For hours, Sewell and his drill sergeants urge on helmeted trainees as they whale away at each other with pugil sticks, landing head and body blows until one falls flat on the ground. As a victor slams away at his flattened foe, a drill sergeant whistles the fight to a halt.

“This is the funnest day I’ve had since I’ve been here!” said 21-year-old Pvt. Brendon Rhyne, of Rutherford County, N.C., after being beaten to the ground. “It makes you physically tough. Builds you up on the insides mentally, too.”

The Marine Corps is also applying war lessons to its physical training, adopting a new combat fitness test that replicates the rigor of combat. The test, which is required once a year, has Marines running sprints, lifting 30-pound ammunition cans over their heads for a couple of minutes and completing a 300-yard obstacle course that includes carrying a mock wounded Marine and throwing a mock grenade.

Capt. Kenny Fleming, a 10-year-Army veteran looking after a group of Fort Jackson trainees, said men and women learn exercises that prepare them to do something on the battlefield such as throw a grenade, or lunge and pick a buddy off the ground. Experience in Iraq has shown that women need the same skills because they come under fire, too, even if they are formally barred from combat roles.

Fleming said those who had some sort of sports in high school can easily pick up on the training, while those who didn’t have to be brought along. One hefty soldier in a recent company he trained dropped 45 pounds and learned to blast out 100 push-ups and 70 sit-ups, he said.

“We just have to take the soldier who’s used to sitting on the couch playing video games and get them out there to do it,” Fleming said.


The CFT is a joke. But (I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this), I found most the the PT in the Marines to be a joke.

They act like a three mile 18min run, 20 pullups and 100 crunches to the epitome of physical conditioning. It’s all a joke. It’s just hard enough so that you break a sweat and we can all grunt and pretend to be hard-core.

It’ tough those when you’re trying to build a massive military out of our current population. Still, in indoc-training they had full control over what I ate, when I slept, and how much PT I got. I came out of there in far worse shape than I went in… even had a little carb gut at the end of indoc.

The training is designed to turn a couch potato into a moderately fit individual on par with a high-school JV athlete at best. If only we could just take the cream of the crop and turn them all into elite athletes that know how to soldier.

[quote]Spartiates wrote:
The CFT is a joke. But (I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this), I found most the the PT in the Marines to be a joke.

They act like a three mile 18min run, 20 pullups and 100 crunches to the epitome of physical conditioning. It’s all a joke. It’s just hard enough so that you break a sweat and we can all grunt and pretend to be hard-core.

It’ tough those when you’re trying to build a massive military out of our current population. Still, in indoc-training they had full control over what I ate, when I slept, and how much PT I got. I came out of there in far worse shape than I went in… even had a little carb gut at the end of indoc.

The training is designed to turn a couch potato into a moderately fit individual on par with a high-school JV athlete at best. If only we could just take the cream of the crop and turn them all into elite athletes that know how to soldier.[/quote]

Fuck a flame, I agree 100%

MCT PT was 100 times harder than in basic. Especially Rifle PT. Excalibur?

There were recruits in our plt in boot camp that came in able to do one half-ass pull up, 50 crunches and run 3 miles in 28 min. On their final PFT , maybe 3 pull ups, 65 crunches and a 26:30 run. Still pathetic. These were not moto hardass recruits either, almost always the ones who sucked as PT had no heart, with very few exceptions.

The selection process for enlisted recruits at least need to be up to par physically with OCS, if not better.

Other then when doing PT, the only time I ran in the Army is when we played football on sundays. The removal of long distance running seems like a good idea, it is/was just a waste of time and even more damage to my knees that are now trashed.

Being an active Soldier myself, this is something I have been preaching for years. The fact that a person can run for miles and miles won’t help them much on the battlefield. I often put it in this perspective: If it came down to you and I in a fight, sure, you can run long distances, but you wouldn’t make it past the first 25 meters, as I’m a lot faster than you are.

You may be able to do 100 pushups, however, if, God forbid, I get wounded, you still wouldn’t be able to carry or drag me to safety. I can keep going with this, however, my point is the same. You need strength and speed to go with the endurance. That’s something that the military doesn’t seem to grasp. While the basic training overhaul was long overdue, they need to do the same with the height/weight/BMI concept.

When I see guys that are stronger than most, faster than most, bigger than most (with a high degree of muscle) getting kicked out because they don’t have a thin abdomen/waist, it leaves me a bit sickened. But, for now, I’ll step off my soapbox.

[quote]Spartiates wrote:
The CFT is a joke. But (I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this), I found most the the PT in the Marines to be a joke.

They act like a three mile 18min run, 20 pullups and 100 crunches to the epitome of physical conditioning. It’s all a joke. It’s just hard enough so that you break a sweat and we can all grunt and pretend to be hard-core.

It’ tough those when you’re trying to build a massive military out of our current population. Still, in indoc-training they had full control over what I ate, when I slept, and how much PT I got. I came out of there in far worse shape than I went in… even had a little carb gut at the end of indoc.

The training is designed to turn a couch potato into a moderately fit individual on par with a high-school JV athlete at best. If only we could just take the cream of the crop and turn them all into elite athletes that know how to soldier.[/quote]

absolutely. The biggest myth that runs in the Marine Corps is that we are somehow ‘elite’… we’re doing what everybody else is doing!!

The point of PT and the moto bullshit is just to give someone confidence and a hot head so he’ll be more inclined to risk his life in battle. its all socialization, in the bigger picture they want to make sure you will pull that trigger.

then again, they’re not trying to pump out Rambos, and in today’s world an accurate RELIABLE (brainwashed) shooter is far more important than someone who’s a football star.

I agree that being able to run 200 meters or so really fast a few times is a lot better and more useful than running 5 miles steady.
I do think that the endurance should be built up with long marches with a heavy ruck.

I always thought bayonet training was more about teaching aggression then actual combat applications. If the shit ever hit the fan however it’s good to know how to parry a bayonet or rifle thrust at CQB distances.

Most guys I know used their knives for opening boxes.

[quote]hedo wrote:
Most guys I know used their knives for opening boxes.[/quote]

I still use my K-Bar to open letters. :slight_smile:

Good thing to see that they are revamping PT, when I was in many of us all agreed that the basic ‘situps, pushups, 2 mile run’ was outdated. When I was stationed at Ft. Lewis they were trying to get away from traditional PT and do more sprints weight training at the gym (although this was a real pain in the ass because the gym was always packed at 5:30 AM), and obstacle course stuff. Our 1SG would have us all doing pullups instead of pushups.

Overall though, from my experience at least, most soldiers would do additional weight training anyways. Living in the barracks, there isn’t much else to do.

The new bayonet can open an MRE in less than 2 seconds.