Posted on May 16, 2015
CPT Multifunctional Logistician
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Apft
Regardless of your stance on this issue, please elaborate. I am personally very conflicted on this topic. On the one hand, I am a female PL with only male Soldiers. Nevertheless, I fully expect to set the example for physical fitness by being the best PT stud in my platoon. If I was satisfied with merely meeting the female APFT standards, I would be completely unable to do so. Furthermore, the mission is not gender normed, so why should physical fitness tests be gender normed? That said, basic physiological facts reveal that an equally fit male and female will have different capabilities. Does it make sense to lose talented female Soldiers in combat service and combat service support branches because they can not meet male physical fitness standards? In my QM BOLC class, one of the most squared away leaders I have ever seen was a female West Pointer who ran 16 minutes on her 2 mile run. Does her inability to run an exceptional 2 mile time by male standards detract from her unparalled intellectual acumen and exceptional leadership ability? I definitely do not think so. I appreciate the viewpoints and proposed solutions of the RP community. Thanks very much!
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SGM G 6 Sgm
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First, as a male Soldier and Senior NCO, please get away from the false paradigm that you have to be the best PT stud in your platoon to set the example. For years now, the officer corps as well as many NCOs have mistaken setting the example for being the best. Although if you are the best that is great, but there is more to setting the example than score. Think about being on time of physical training, giving 100% even when weather conditions are not the best, staying motivated even through the most grueling physical fitness events, helping the Soldiers who are not as physically fit as you are, going back and getting that falling comrade on the APFT run or motivated your Soldiers to give one more push up or sit up, and lastly, just being a part of the team. It does you no good to stud up while you have a Soldier who fails or does not perform well. Now onto the queston. I think that keeping the APFT standards separated by gender based on the physiological differences between the two sexes. It has been proven that the average man has the "potential" to possess more upper body mucles which gives them the ability to lift more weight. Average males also have larger lung capacity than women, which gives them the potential to run farther and faster. Likewise women are naturally built to have more core muscle and possibly have an advantage with sit up. So for the APFT, I think the standards should be gender separate and based on physical fitness from average to elite and score likewise. It is not a contest between the two genders. Now when it comes to things like Ranger School, Special Forces, Airborne Training, tank crew member, mortar team member, I think the Gender Norming would be a total mistake. For instance, if the standard is to carry a fallen comrade of 180 pounds 50 meters, that is the standard that should be met by both sexes. Or the ability to carry a Mortar base plate, artillery round, etc. When I came in the Army, the requirement was to lift a 60 pound radio, regardless of Gender. So APFT score should be separate from functional ability. Gender Norming in the APFT should not be an issue, however, in funtional ability, there should be one standard, which is the standard to get the task completed. To other points you brought up. The military, specifically the Army has made mistake after mistake of not balancing physical ability with technical and tactical ability. I have seen many leaders praise the PT stud only to find out he or she was worthless outside the PT field. Do your best and continue to excel at physical fitness, but don't let any leader fool you that as a female, you are expected to outstud any Soldier, male or female. I have watched many young female as well as male officers get caught up in that mentality and end up injuring themselves and cutting their careers short. Give your best and motivate your Soldiers to do their best. hopefully this was not too much of a bable.
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MAJ Contracting Officer
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Should be an MOS Standard not a gender standard.
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SGT C Mendez
SGT C Mendez
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SGM, very well put. Also, there is nothing wrong with saying that men are different from women. But I commend you in your post about mentioning the "PT Studs" who focus more on their own abilities instead of helping their fellow soldiers. Last time I checked, it takes a team to accomplish the mission...just my 2 cents.
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MAJ Special Operations Response Team (Sort)
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I think there should be one standard for all but as a medical officer recognize the physical differences that we are not supposed to talk about or say they matter ... but. I like what you said about holding specialty schools , Ranger SF , airborne to ONE standard and not weakening the military for the sake of political correctness. Inclusivity does not mean lowering the standard it means everyone having the same opportunity to pass or fail.
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MAJ Raymond Haynes
MAJ Raymond Haynes
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As far as APFT standards are concerned there is indeed a difference between a male and a female both in top physical condition for there particular gender. When it come to a MOS specialty gender is not a factor. A mortar plate weighs the same no matter if a female or a male carries it into combat. The plate does not reduce its weight by 20 lbs. because a female happens to pick it up, and it has to be gender equalized. The APFT standards should be different so that their general physical condition relative to their peers can be measured. MOS standards should have only one standard, the one that it takes to get the job done.
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LTC Paul Labrador
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You are asking a double edged question. On one hand, if we are going to open up combat MOSs to females, they need to be able to perform at the same levels as the males. Female APFT standards are not going to cut it in the infantry. On the other hand, there are real physiological differences between males and females. Males simply carry more muscle mass and have more cardiovascular reserve that allows males to have more strength and endurance and perform at a much higher physical level than females. That is a product of testosterone which males simply have more of. So in the end we have to balance what is fair to ask of females against what it takes to successfully complete the mission...and sometimes the answer to that question is not politically correct. IMHO, if we are going to open combat MOSs to females, females in those positions need to be held to male standards.
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SSG Mack Rixe
SSG Mack Rixe
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I absolutely agree, sir. It's called the Army Physical FITNESS Test. It tests the individual's fitness level. For a male and a female to have the same fitness level, the standards must be different. If the standards were the same, say for the pushups, then either they would not require much fitness from the males or would require the females to be at a much higher level of fitness than their male counterparts. We must maintain a level of fitness due to being soldiers first, and I believe the standards reflect that.

As a female, I also agree that if we are talking about combat MOS's, then, yes, the standards should be MOS specific, not gender specific, due to the increased physical demands of the job. This will prevent many females from joining combat MOS's, but if they can't meet the standards, lowering those standards would endanger the others. The females that do meet the higher standards would be pulling their own weight and would be fit for duty.
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SGM Mikel Dawson
SGM Mikel Dawson
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Nothing more to add here. Sir, you set it just right.
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MAJ Raymond Haynes
MAJ Raymond Haynes
>1 y
Lets not forget that through out the animal world the female of the species is the most savage of the breed. Studies have shown that the female of the species are more likely to kill given a situation than their male counterparts. Not saying that holds true in combat, but lets look at all the data.
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SPC Transportation Management Coordinator
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MAJ Raymond Haynes - That is not entirely correct. it varies from species to species. For example, a mother bear is an extreme threat. However, for many social animals, like lions, wolves, and more closely related apes, the male has evolved to be stronger and faster to protect the group and fight for dominance.
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This is a good topic. It brings up many good points. What I am about to say may be somewhat inflammatory to some. But it is what it is. We are not all the same in a sense of our physical duties. A Cannon Crew have to be able to move 155 mm rounds. The APFT does a horrible job accessing ones ability to go that. In other units such as the 10th MTN were mountaineering is taught the APFT fails to correlate any strength requirements. Some jobs are more physical. That doesn't mean we should lower the regular standard for everyone but some CMFs should have another means to gauge this.

If you say we have "One Standard" you are fooling yourself. We don't. We have 10 different standards depending on age and sex. So don't try to say there is one standard. Now with what CPT (Join to see) is saying I totaling. How could you be a leader when she is held to a completely different standard. They are all doing the same job. Women can do it. They did it for Ranger. We shouldn't think of them as the weaker sex. We are doing a disservice to them.

In addition, I would get rid of the push ups and get pull ups. They are the great equalizer and you can't cheat on them as easily as you can on push ups.
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SFC Retention Nco
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CPT (Join to see) I think that's a good idea. I actually spoke to a Marine about the tests they do and I think that if we really go with the mentality that we are a Soldier first, then regardless of MOS, we need to do a combat fitness test.
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CPT Student
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SFC (Join to see) The last I read that is something the Chief of Staff is looking to do. They want a basic test for everyone and for promotion and then an MOS specific test for some MOS that require additional duties beyond that of a regular soldier. I will just say that I brought it up before they were ever talking about. I have the proof as you read. I think they are watching me.
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1SG David Lopez
1SG David Lopez
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Excellent comment. Equal rights and equal opportunity equates to Equal / Same Standard. My view is, you want to play with the Big Dogs, then let's not have different standards so you can feel good about yourself. Every soldier has the same opportunity to work at PT, it does not just come naturally (generally speaking). Now we have people talking about different standards for different MOSs, my goodness, where does it stop. We already some-what have two different Armies; the combat MOSs and the Non-combat MOSs. Let's change the standards so those soldiers that don't consider themselves real soldiers can feel better about their PT score (because they do not want to put forth the intestinal fortitude required to raise their PT score on the current standards). Where is the: One Team, One Fight; One Army, One Standard; Army of One; Army Strong; Be all you can be. Let's not create a lot of different standards for feel gooders. This is the Army, Soldier Up!
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MAJ Raymond Haynes
MAJ Raymond Haynes
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1SG you sound like the kind of guy where this would not be a factor, but, don't you think it is somewhat unreasonable for a 50 yr old solder to be held to a 18 yr old APFT standard. Standards are changed under conditions where the data needs to be normalized between various groups that are subject to similar conditions. Just for example, how would you rate a female who is a 300 APFT'er on the female scale but only barely average when translated to the male scale. Would you rate that female as lacking in physical fitness requirements? I am not addressing her ability to complete MOS related tasks, only her level of physical fitness. Would you rate every male in your command at the top in physical fitness because they can max the female standards for the APFT? I totally understand your One team, One fight point of view and totally agree with you. The feel gooders have no place in our profession, but in an organization as large as the Army it is essential to be able to measure different groups on a linear scale over the population as a whole. Without the ability to do this we will loose all ability to monitor the status of the force in total
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