Friday, November 8, 2013

Army Fitness Training at DINFOS--Making Sure the Best Soldiers are Less Fit

We are told by the school upon arriving that DINFOS is one of the toughest academic schools in the military.  Unlike most military schools it has homework and it demands creativity.
It is clear from my conversations with former students, that PT every day for returning students is not required, it is a decision by the student company leadership.

We come to school with PT records, and a soldier should be able to take a diagnostic AFPT any time.  There is no reason to take soldiers who regularly score in PT Award range and put them on a 5-day-per-week program designed to get soldiers in good enough shape to simply pass the APFT. 

Getting up at 0400 is an arbitrary and miserable hardship that should be reserved for those who are marginal or failing the APFT.  The best soldiers are athletes.  They train like athletes.  Putting an athlete on a 5-day remedial program is like putting a New York Times editor through remedial English classes.

Athletes also train seven days a week, even if one of the days is a rest day.  Yet the detachment PT program runs five consecutive then leaves the weekends alone.  This leaves the soldiers with a real training program balancing study, sleep and workouts on the two days off. 

If the detachment actually wanted successful students and soldiers who could pass the AFPT, we would work out three days during the week and put longer workouts on the weekend. 

This is how we managed pre-deployment PT at Fort Sill.  Of course, detachment personnel do not want to work seven days a week, but by cramming the PT program into five straight days, they increase the likelihood that soldiers will fail both academically at DINFOS and at PT.  I have spoken to several soldiers whose PT performance degraded over time with the detachment.

The best example of how bad the program is for fit soldiers is student leader, a staff sergeant in the Connecticut National Guard.  He is running a marathon 12 days after graduation from DINFOS.  He has been doing his long training runs on Wednesdays after class.  On October 30, he was the fast runner in the company in the fitness at 12:34.  That evening he ran 20 miles.  I saw him running back on post after dark.  The next morning he did the two-mile Zombie run.

Why put him through a program for people who spent their lives playing video games?  He scores 300 on the APFT.  He will run the marathon well under four hours.  He had to adjust his marathon training and his school work around a PT program that gave him nothing back and took away ten hours sleep a week.

Who Fights Our Wars? CSM Donald C. Cubbison, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division

In the fall of 1977, 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division got a new Command Sergeant's Major.  Donald C. Cubbison, veteran of the Vietna...