Before the sun even comes up, ROTC students are preparing for morning training and work-outs that make most people shake their heads.
Morning training consists of shouting, intensity, laughter, perseverance, but most of all, teamwork. Kent State ROTC members go through an Army Combat Fitness Test and learn to take on the new challenges the test provides.
The Army Combat Fitness Test provides real-life experience when it comes to difficult situations. The test now consists of six challenges instead of three, and puts ROTC members’ physical abilities to the test.
“It’s a completely different learning environment for them,” said Master Sergeant Juan Morales-Padilla. “They go in not sure what might happen, but this is what they need. They need to be challenged.”
The original test only had three events, with different standards for both men and women; now it has become twice as many tests, with the standards for both men and women the same.
The original test consisted of a two-mile run, pushups, and sit-ups.
The new test consists of six challenges, including a two-mile run, sprint, drag and carry, deadlift, pull-ups, standing power throw and pushups.
“It’s actually known that 85% of women who take this test actually fail, which is tricky,” said Kyle Raynard, battalion commander. “They really have to work their way up this one.”
The test comes around April, but the students do take a “try-out” test in order to get a feel of where they are. Cadets go around watching members try out and finish each event while giving them some advice.
This training is considered a lab and students who are not in ROTC take this lab as an elective for two credit hours. It gives students an idea of what goes on in the military world and helps them decide to either stay in or drop out. Students who take this lab as an elective can also see the challenges that the ROTC students must go through to survive in the military.
“I think it’s going to take a lot of work and we have a lot of young people here who aren’t even committed to the program yet,” Raynard said. “They’re not contracted so they’re technically not required to stay.”
Doing each challenge by itself might be easy, but the difficult part comes in doing all six together in a short period of 25 minutes per event. Even when the senior cadets tried to do some of the challenges, they easily became tired. Although they all managed to pass the test, the word “easy” definitely was not part of it.
Part of the test is making sure their minds are concentrated so they can continue and finish the rest of them in one piece. Students encourage one another; some get constructive criticism on how to do certain events from cadets, while others get claps and shouts.
The Army Combat Fitness Test provides teamwork, physical growth, and mental growth. It is slowly becoming part of the military training provided for ROTC students across the nation. Learning to pace yourself is part of the process, as well as really putting yourself out there and showing how much strength one can endure.
“They’re actually doing great so far, and it would actually take some time for them to get into a routine for this test,” said Isaac Zeigler, operations officer. “They’re not used to this training and it’s actually hard to pass all of these tests.”
Bridget Lin covers ROTC and military. Contact her at email@example.com.