On the morning of the Army physical fitness test, tension is in the air as Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Cadets nervously anticipate their first evaluated task of the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. They have been preparing for this test at their respective universities, and now it is time to establish themselves as leaders for their formation.
“This event tests mental agility and physical strength,” said APFT committee chief Lt. Col. Todd R. Hourihan. “Doing well in APFT is one of the first things a formation looks for in a leader.”
Each Cadet is tested on the number of push-ups and sit-ups they can complete in two minutes, as well as a timed two-mile run. Unlike previous years, Cadets who do not pass the APFT will have to be retested back at their respective campuses. To qualify for the Reconnaissance and Commando badge, Cadets need to score 90 on each event to earn an overall score of 270 without a retake.
Despite the anxiety Cadets feel, APFT is a great way for regiments to bond together.
“The Cadets may get nervous, but at the same time, they draw motivation from one another,” said 1st Reg. Chaplain Nhan A. Le. “The exciting part is that we do it together.”
Although Cadets need to be fit in order to serve their country, it is emphasized that they should not push their limits during testing.
“We have really strong concerns about Cadets who take PT,” said Le. “We motivate them but don’t want them to push themselves and get hurt.”
During the sit-up and push-up portion, Cadets stand in line, facing away from the testing area. While waiting for their turn, Cadets can be seen stretching and warming-up. Cadet Susanna M. Bradley from Virginia Tech University felt confident for the two-mile run due to the support she had back home.
“My mom’s letters have helped keep me motivated, and I’ve also made great friends here,” said Bradley.
Regardless of their nerves, Cadets pushed through the APFT and did their very best. Cadet Shanita D. Monroe from Eastern Carolina University said she was more anxious than nervous when she came out for the APFT that morning, but hearing the music blasting helped get her pumped.
“We were all ready to knock this out,” said Monroe.
Throughout the entire process, Cadets were met with encouraging words from Cadre and fellow Cadets. At one point during the APFT run for Bravo Company of 2nd Regiment, a Cadre member even ran the last part with a Cadet who looked like she was having a rough time finishing.
“When [the Cadets] see the drill sergeant at the first lap turn just yelling ‘come on, you can do it’…and encouraging them, you start to see it in their eyes like ‘I believe the event is almost done,’” said Hourihan. “It’s very rewarding to be a Cadre.”
Story by Allie Pasdera.