Monday, March 30, 2015

Bitching About Fitness-Optional Soldiers

Recently I was on the phone for about a half hour with a reporter from Deseret News.  The topic was soldiers and fitness.  She is writing about how soldiers and sailors pork up after they leave active duty.  Here's the article.

Well that is their right and privilege as Americans.

We were talking because I sent her an email about how going on active duty for training causes me to work out LESS, not more.  She said I was the only soldier she spoke to with that experience.

If there is one vast difference between the military in the Viet Nam Era and now, it is the fat, out-of-shape soldiers.  There was the occasional fat supply sergeant or cook in the 1970s Army, but when our Brigade did 4-mile runs in Germany, the vast majority of the soldiers, including us smokers, stayed in formation.

The information the reporter had said that half of the men in women in Guard and Reserve units could not pass the fitness test for their branch of the military.  And every active duty unit has soldiers hanging on by a thread trying to pass the fitness test or just giving up because they are too short (of time left on their enlistment) to worry about their lack of fitness.

Currently the Army is forcing out soldiers who are out of shape.  At least they are forcing out younger soldiers who are out of shape.  The Guard still has master sergeants and warrant officers who are 50 pounds past meeting the height and weight standards, but are untouchable because they know their jobs so well and know how to get around the fitness standards.

And, of course, the vast majority of soldiers who are out of shape have as their first excuse, "I am good at my job."  Great.  Work for Boeing or Ford then.  Soldiers should be able to Move, Shoot and Communicate.  A soldier who is out-of-breath after running a mile in shorts and sneakers will never shoot straight after running three miles with full battle gear.

And because we are in the Guard, the high-ranking fat guys make of the PT Test.  I have gone to official functions with fat guys performing a skit making fun of the PT Test.  During the same month I saw the fat guys yuck it up about the PT Test, I talked to a sergeant I knew.  He was getting out because he could not pass the PT Test the next month.  He was a good armorer and supply sergeant, had 15 years in and will not be able to retire.  He did not want to stay in the Army enough to lose the weight and he was not blaming anyone.

But the porcine performers making fun of the PT Test will retire with huge pensions and a Meritorious Service Medal.

And that is sad.

Here is the Duffel blog view.

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