MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Physical readiness is a job requirement for Marines. Semi-annually they’re tested on those skills, to see where they stand compared to the Corp’s fitness standards.
With the deadline quickly approaching, Marines have until Dec. 31, 2011, to qualify for their Combat Fitness Test . Marines with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, have been running CFTs aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., once a week since July.
Staff Sgt. Gabriel Boehm, data chief, Headquarters Company, HQ Bn., recently ran his CFT and said, “If you haven’t been training up to this point, it might be too late.”
“This is something that you need to be conditioning and preparing for all year round,” said Boehm. “At this point in the game if you haven’t done anything to get yourself ready, there’s not that much you can do but prepare your mind.”
The CFT involves three events during which Marines run the course in combat boots and utility uniform.
The first event is a timed 880-yard movement to contact. The second event is an ammo can lift, where Marines lift a 30-pound ammo can from below their chins to over their head as many times as possible in two minutes.
The final stage is the maneuver under fire. This involves a 25-yard sprint, a 25-yard crawl and a 25-yard zigzag run, which goes directly into a fireman's drag and carry for 75 yards, a 75-yard sprint with two 30-pound ammo cans, a grenade throw to a target, and a 75-yard sprint with the ammo cans.
“The biggest thing that helped me was practicing the course over and over again to get the movements down,” said Boehm. “I’m telling you the biggest thing is to know the course. For me just by doing that brought my score up 50 points.”
Lance Cpl. Colton A. Martin, a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear specialist with HQ Bn., has been following one of the Marine Corps’ leadership principles that says to know yourself and seek self-improvement, which is why he trains outside working hours as well.
“I haven’t taken my CFT yet, but that’s what I am conditioning for,” said Martin. “I know we only have three months left, that’s why I’ve been doing a lot of preparation on my own. I practice buddy carries, ammo can runs and ammo can lifts. One of the workouts I do is three sets of 50 ammo can lifts, or you max whichever comes first.”
Marines having trouble with their workout routine can visit any gym on base for free personal training and unit exercise programs, or visit the Marine Corps Training and Education Command’s website at http://www.tecom.usmc.mil/ for links on CFT guidelines and training advice.
“There’s going to be those Marines who wait till the last week to start preparing, and once you hit that point you better start praying,” said Martin. “They’re going to learn their lesson that when you wait that long you’re putting all your chips on the table and by then it’s too late.”