Army

fitness

DVIDS – News – Task Force Illini Soldiers prepare for the new Army fitness test


LVIV, Ukraine – On Oct. 1, the implementation stage of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) began as the Army replaces the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) to assess Soldier fitness. Task Force Illini Soldiers are preparing for the new standards while deployed.

Prior to October 2020, Soldiers were required to take the 3-event APFT. The APFT included two-minutes of push-ups and sit-ups, and a 2-mile run. Participants were scored on the number of repetitions they completed against standards for their age and gender. Soldiers will not be required to take the ACFT for a record score until 2022.

The ACFT, now in its implementation stage, is the Army’s new 6-event test including a three-repetition maximum deadlift, a standing power throw, hand release push-ups, a sprint-drag-carry, leg tucks, and a two-mile run. The Army determined these events will better serve to gauge a Soldier’s physical readiness to complete basic Soldier tasks and perform to the classification of their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) regardless of age and gender.

The scoring classifications for the ACFT are, in ascending score order: “moderate,” which includes occupations such as Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic and Unit Supply Specialist; “significant,” for occupations like Health Care Specialist and Human Resource Specialist; and “heavy” for occupations such as Cavalry Scout and Motor Transport Operator.

“I think it’s a good comprehensive assessment of someone’s fitness. I think it is going to be a challenge for unit leaders to implement. It will be a rough start, but I am optimistic that we’ll get past the learning curve,” said Capt. Jonathon Gosa, a Task Force Illini Brigade Fires Advisor from East Moline, Illinois.

Though Task Force Illini Soldiers are not currently required to take the ACFT during their deployment, but many members are still using their time to prepare themselves for the test.

“I’m getting in better shape for the new ACFT. As a junior non-commissioned officer, I can’t expect my Soldiers to do anything I can’t do myself,” said Cpl. Cody Gaboriault, an Artillery Repairer from Creve Couer, Illinois.

Soldiers said they are looking forward to challenging themselves to complete the new ACFT events, and they have noted what they need to work most on.

“The sprint-drag-carry seems like the most endurance heavy event. It will be a test of mental and physical strength,” said Sgt. Dayna Brown, an Automated Logistics Specialist from Decatur, Illinois.

The deadlift seems to be the event most Task Force Illini Soldiers are looking forward to. The event requires a Soldier to deadlift between 140 and 340 pounds depending on their physical requirement classification.

“I’m excited for deadlifting because it’s already a part of my workout routine,” said Spc. Gianna Polizzi, Supply Specialist and Chicago resident. “I think the ACFT will be beneficial for those who already love strength training and for those who want to get into it more.”

Task Force Illini is the command element of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, which is responsible

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fitness

Senators Want to Halt Army Combat Fitness Test Rollout

Two senators are asking other lawmakers on Capitol Hill to support a push to pause implementation of the new Army Combat Fitness Test, which they say sets unrealistic standards for some soldiers.

Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Richard Blumenthal wrote a letter to House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders Tuesday, asking them to keep a measure in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that would halt the rollout of the long-awaited ACFT. Military.com obtained a copy of the letter, which was first reported on by The Washington Post.

Gillibrand, of New York, and Blumenthal, of Connecticut, say an independent study is needed to examine whether the test is fair to both men and women. They also say the ACFT lowers standards for young male soldiers while setting unrealistic requirements for those serving in fields with few physical demands, such as medical personnel, judge advocates or cyber warriors.

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“Since the Department of the Army has initiated the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), significant concerns have been raised regarding the data used to develop the test, initial test scores, and logistical issues,” the letter states. “The ACFT will determine the career path and success of all soldiers currently serving, yet many information gaps and unknowns remain.”

Army officials did not respond to questions about the letter. Units were authorized to begin taking the ACFT on Oct. 1 after the test was delayed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The scores soldiers receive on the new test won’t count until 2022, however, and will be for data collection only.

Still, Gillibrand and Blumenthal say the ACFT rollout is “premature.” They point to gender and age gaps in the Baseline Soldier Physical Readiness Requirements Study, which the Army conducted to identify fitness requirements that best measure demands of combat.

“The average participant was 24 years old and male,” the letter states. “During Phase II, only 14.3% of test participants were female, and in Phase III, only 10.5% of participants were female. This is not even representative of the total Army force.”

And while the study determined the leg tuck is not a “significant predictive variable,” the letter adds, it was still chosen to be one of the ACFT’s six events. The leg tuck leads to the most test failures, they wrote, yet the Army “has failed to show [it] has any nexus to the skills necessary for combat.”

“It is imperative that we pause implementation until all questions and concerns are answered,” the senators said. “Soldiers’ careers depend on it and the continued lethality of our force requires it.”

Last year, slides leaked on social media showing female soldiers were failing the ACFT at much higher rates than men. About a third of male soldiers were failing the test at the time, while 84% of women were failing.

Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, commander of the Center for Initial Military Training, told Military.com shortly after the leak

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medicine

DVIDS – News – Army Medicine Europe maintains robust COVID testing and reporting process


SEMBACH KASERNE, Germany – Army Medicine Europe maintains a robust COVID testing and reporting process, ensuring the health and safety of the entire military community across the European theater. At the same time, Army health officials maintain open lines of communication with host nation public health officials responsible for tracking COVID cases.

According to Army health officials, the COVID reporting process in Europe has matured over the past several months and has proven to be an effective tool in providing military leadership an overall picture of how the epidemic is impacting the DOD population in Europe.

“There are multiple mechanisms and systems in place to ensure senior leadership at MEDCOM and USAREUR are promptly notified about positive COVID cases,” said Col. Scott Mower, force health protection officer for Regional Health Command Europe. “These processes have grown better over time and we are continuously searching for ways to further improve them.”

“The reporting of this critical information through operational channels allows senior Army leaders in Europe to make better decisions when it comes to force health protection of the overall military population.”

Army health officials emphasize that maintaining close relations with the host nation medical offices is critical.

“The Departments of Public Health and the Public Health Emergency Officers at RHCE clinics are at the tip of the spear in executing these vital reporting missions,” Mower added. “The PHEOs work closely with their German counterparts at the community level to ensure COVID cases are reported in a timely and accurate fashion. They also immediately alert installation leadership when new cases are discovered.”

“COVID is, by regulation, a reportable medical event and must be inputted into an electronic disease reporting system just like other serious communicable diseases of public health interest,” said Mower. “The bulk of the COVID reporting work is being done by MTFs and their Departments of Public Health. They are the true worker bees in executing this mission.”

Reporting COVID cases to German health authorities is handled at the local level by each of the respective Army health clinics.

“Army medical treatment facilities from each respective military community across the region submit routine COVID reports to their local German Public Health office (Gesundheitsamt),” said Dr. Robert Weien, public health emergency officer for U.S. Army Garrison Rhineland-Pfalz. “Here in Rhineland-Pfalz, we submit our reports to the local German Public Health Department on a daily basis.”

When it comes to COVID reporting processes across the theater, there is no one size fits all approach and each garrison does it differently, according to Col. (Dr.) Jon Allison, chief of preventive medicine for MEDDAC Bavaria.

“The reporting process and timelines vary from installation to installation depending on the local German Gesundheitsamt,” said Allison. “For example, the COVID-19 total positive numbers for Grafenwoehr are sent to the Neustadt (Weiden) Gesundheitsamt and the total numbers for Vilseck are sent to the Amberg-Sulzbach Gesundheitsamt. This is done on a weekly base with the assistance of the community health nurses.”

Allison says that one of the

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medicine

Army Medicine Europe maintains robust COVID testing and reporting process | Article

By Kirk FradyOctober 20, 2020

SEMBACH KASERNE, Germany – Army Medicine Europe maintains a robust COVID testing and reporting process, ensuring the health and safety of the entire military community across the European theater. At the same time, Army health officials maintain open lines of communication with host nation public health officials responsible for tracking COVID cases.According to Army health officials, the COVID reporting process in Europe has matured over the past several months and has proven to be an effective tool in providing military leadership an overall picture of how the epidemic is impacting the DOD population in Europe.“There are multiple mechanisms and systems in place to ensure senior leadership at MEDCOM and USAREUR are promptly notified about positive COVID cases,” said Col. Scott Mower, force health protection officer for Regional Health Command Europe. “These processes have grown better over time and we are continuously searching for ways to further improve them.”“The reporting of this critical information through operational channels allows senior Army leaders in Europe to make better decisions when it comes to force health protection of the overall military population.”Army health officials emphasize that maintaining close relations with the host nation medical offices is critical.“The Departments of Public Health and the Public Health Emergency Officers at RHCE clinics are at the tip of the spear in executing these vital reporting missions,” Mower added. “The PHEOs work closely with their German counterparts at the community level to ensure COVID cases are reported in a timely and accurate fashion. They also immediately alert installation leadership when new cases are discovered.”“COVID is, by regulation, a reportable medical event and must be inputted into an electronic disease reporting system just like other serious communicable diseases of public health interest,” said Mower. “The bulk of the COVID reporting work is being done by MTFs and their Departments of Public Health. They are the true worker bees in executing this mission.”Reporting COVID cases to German health authorities is handled at the local level by each of the respective Army health clinics.“Army medical treatment facilities from each respective military community across the region submit routine COVID reports to their local German Public Health office (Gesundheitsamt),” said Dr. Robert Weien, public health emergency officer for U.S. Army Garrison Rhineland-Pfalz. “Here in Rhineland-Pfalz, we submit our reports to the local German Public Health Department on a daily basis.”When it comes to COVID reporting processes across the theater, there is no one size fits all approach and each garrison does it differently, according to Col. (Dr.) Jon Allison, chief of preventive medicine for MEDDAC Bavaria.“The reporting process and timelines vary from installation to installation depending on the local German Gesundheitsamt,” said Allison. “For example, the COVID-19 total positive numbers for Grafenwoehr are sent to the Neustadt (Weiden) Gesundheitsamt and the total numbers for Vilseck are sent to the Amberg-Sulzbach Gesundheitsamt. This is done on a weekly base with the assistance of the community health nurses.”Allison says that one of the benefits of Germany’s decentralized local health

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fitness

Army to Outfit 110 Active Brigades with Fitness Experts to Boost Soldier Performance

The U.S. Army is launching an effort to increase soldier performance by outfitting active brigades with special teams of fitness coaches, nutritional specialists and physical therapists by 2026.

The Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) strategy is designed to work with unit leaders and individual soldiers to hone performance and decrease the risk of injuries, which can affect combat readiness, officials from the Center for Initial Military Training (CIMT) said Thursday.

The goal of the service-wide effort is to outfit 110 active-duty brigades with performance teams and a dedicated training facility, a long-term effort that will require 500 uniformed personnel, 700 Army civilians and 1,900 contractors.

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In fiscal 2021, the Army has budgeted $110 million for 28 brigades to receive H2F performance teams. After that, up to 18 brigades will be resourced each year through fiscal 2026, according to Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, commander of the CIMT, which is overseeing the effort.

“If you look at the number of active-duty soldiers who are medically non-deployable, that equates to being short about nine brigade combat teams … that can’t deploy,” Hibbard told reporters Thursday at a virtual roundtable during the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting. “If we can reduce these non-availability rates for our soldiers just by 1%, the cost savings alone will pay for the cost of this program.”

As of Oct. 1, the service officially replaced its outdated Army Physical Fitness Test with the more challenging Army Combat Fitness Test, which is designed to build core strength and reduce common injuries that keep many soldiers from deploying, Hibbard said.

“We have to stop breaking our soldiers and, in order to do that, we have to prevent these injuries and preserve their long-term health. … The only way to do it is by embedding these H2F professionals in the brigades,” he explained. “For many years, we have called our soldiers ‘warrior athletes” … now we are actually starting to resource them just like any other professional sports team.”

The performance teams will include physical therapists, registered dieticians, occupational therapists, cognitive enhancement trainers, athletic trainers, and strength and conditioning coaches at the brigade level, Col. Kevin Bigelman, director of Holistic Health and Fitness, told reporters.

“H2F performance teams will assess each soldier’s ability to meet the demands of their military occupational specialty, assignment or combat-specific tasks during a soldier’s career,” he said. “These teams advise commanders on performance readiness issues and integrate H2F into organizational training, mission planning and even personnel decisions.”

The brigade type will determine how large the H2F performance teams are, Bigelman said. Tier-one brigades such as infantry brigade combat teams will be outfitted with 37-member teams that include uniformed and Army civilian physical therapists, occupational therapists and registered dieticians, as well as seven contracted athletic trainers and 14 contracted strength and conditioning coaches.

Tier two brigades, such as an artillery unit, will likely need only a 25-member team

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