Combat Fitness Test (CFT) simulates combat situations

Combat Fitness Test (CFT) simulates combat situations

Recruit Jake Korb, Platoon 2143, Company G, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, completes his timed ammunition can lifts during the final Combat Fitness Test aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego May 23. The CFT is a training event designed to push recruits to their limits through combat situations. Photo by Cpl Bridget M. Keane.

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO (May 30, 2013) - Recruits of Company G, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, endured their final Combat Fitness Test aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego May 23.

The goal of the CFT is to push a Marine's mental and physical strength It is also a graduation requirement for recruits.

"The CFT is an important event because it's physically challenging," said SSgt Daniel Hernandez, senior drill instructor, Platoon 2143, Co. G, 2nd RTBn. "Recruits really push themselves and they learn what their bodies are capable of."

The CFT is made up of three timed events, starting with an 880-meter sprint in combat utility trousers and boots, known as movement-to-contact. The next event is two minutes of 30-pound ammunition-can lifts. The last and probably most demanding event is called maneuver under fire.

Recruits use their strength and agility to move quickly through a course with combat situations, such as a causality evacuation and ammunition resupply. Each event is worth 100 points for a total of 300 and the score is based off the performance of the recruit.

"It introduces (recruits) to how physically exhausting it would be in these similar scenarios," explained Hernandez, a 32-year-old San Antonio Texas native. "The events are intended to recreate combat scenarios, like the ammo-can lift; in combat you might have to load ammunition on the back of a 7-ton truck or up a wall, your arms will get tired after a while."

The last event, maneuver under fire, consists of a sprint to a 25-yard crawl. Recruits then sprint through cones in a zigzag pattern to a simulated casualty. Once the recruit reaches the casualty, they use two different carries, the buddy drag and fireman's carry, to transport their buddy over 75 yards back to the starting point, where they then pick up two ammunition cans and run through the same zigzag course to a dummy hand grenade. He then picks up the grenade, throws it to a designated area, does three push-ups then sprints with the ammo-cans back to the starting point.

"I feel this is the hardest for recruits," said Hernandez. "They are exhausted and are used to carrying the two 30 pound ammo-cans then they have to pick up a (dummy) grenade, which weighs (approximately) five pounds, it's hard for them to estimate how hard to throw it."

Even though the combined physical activity of each event is no more than an estimated time of 8 minutes, the energy that recruits put into the CFT is overwhelming.

"The (maneuver under fire) is the hardest part about the CFT," said Recruit Jake Korb, Plt. 2143, Co. G, 2nd RTBn. "By that time, you're so exhausted and you just want to finish. It tests you mentally and physically and you end up pushing yourself through it."

Physical and mental endurance are important traits that every Marine must possess. Although this was their final CFT of recruit training, the recruits of Co. G will encounter it annually throughout their Marine Corps career.

"I try to stress to my recruits the importance of getting a high score on the CFT and other physical fitness tests because it could hinder them from being promoted on time of be the determining factor of a meritorious promotion," said Hernandez. "The score they get here will follow them to their first duty station, so it is important that they push themselves here."

Co. G pushed through their final CFT, displaying physical strength and endurance, which will allow them to continue through prolonged, stressful environments. This will let the new Marines be successful in any mission throughout their Marine Corps career.

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