It’s 7:30 a.m. and if someone is standing in one spot for even half a moment too long he’ll feel the warmth of southern California’s August sun. Good thing the recruits of Company B won’t be standing still for their final Physical Fitness Test
The PFT is administered the first six months of the year, to be accompanied by the newly incorporated combat fitness test which is administered within the remaining six months of the year.
The PFT in the Marine Corps is more rigorous than our sister services with a three-mile run, crunches and pull-ups instead of push-ups. The basic requirements for male recruits is set at a minimum of running three miles in less than 28 minutes; completing at least three pull-ups and performing at least 50 crunches in two minutes. Most Marines, however, strive for a perfect score of 300 points which requires running three miles in 18 minutes or less; completing a maximum of 20 pull-ups, and performing 100 crunches in two minutes.
Striving to bring the best out of the recruits is vital and constant throughout boot camp.
“The PFT is important for the recruits because it sets a standard of requirements they need to meet and want to meet at the same time,” said Sgt. Pedro Lopez, drill instructor, Platoon 1051, Company C. “The recruits know the minimum is all that is required to pass. We teach them to hold themselves to a higher standard. The final PFT is the ultimate test for them in their physical abilities and they all want to see how much they improved from the moment they got here up to this point.”
The recruits performed an initial strength test when they first arrived on the depot. They then completed their initial and intermediate PFT’s which allowed them to reflect and set new goals to achieve. The drill instructors also observe and push them to be their best.
“We work hard on trying to get our individual platoons stronger and faster for this very occasion,” Lopez said. “As a company, we do an outstanding job keeping our recruits engaged in improving their physical abilities.”
The drill instructors keep up this standard with everyday things such as pushing them to do a maximum set of pull-ups and using their senior drill instructor time (time each day the recruits are given as structured free-time) available to do as many pull-ups, sit-ups and push-ups as possible. All of this preparing results in improvement on their final PFT, not just individually, but also as a company.
“Charlie Company, as a whole, always does well,” said Lopez. “I am extremely confident that even this time around we had every recruit improve from the intermediate PFT. I have no doubt in my mind that we did anything other well.”
It’s easy for drill instructors to be confident in their platoons when their recruits are just as confident in their physical abilities as individuals and as a team.
“This company is one of the best,” said Recruit Andrew Paseka, Platoon 1051, Co. C. “I know we’ll do very well and pass barriers we didn’t think we could. As long as we keep going and want to make ourselves better, we will if we give 150 percent.”
With mindsets like that in their recruits and the tenacity of the drill instructors of Company C, Lopez believes his recruits will be very successful.
“We take the making of Marines very seriously,” Lopez said. “We are demanding of our recruits, sometimes demanding the impossible, but it is only to teach them that anything is possible if you set your mind on it. We train them to the best of our abilities to make the best product in keeping with our traditions and Corps values. We succeed every time.”
USMC Combat Fitness Test
With 30-pound ammunition cans in each hand, recruits of Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, use what energy is left to sprint across the finish line without dropping them.This is just one requirement of the Combat Fitness Test. The CFT is an annual test required between July 1 and December 31 each year.
A Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion recruit does ammunition can lifts while another recruit counts and drill instructors Sgt. William Caballero and Staff Sgt. Kenneth Oldham motivates him during a Combat Fitness Test.
According to the Marine Corps Training and Education Command, the purpose of the CFT is to test a Marine’s ability in high-powered, short-burst events that reflect operational demands.
A recruit with Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, low crawls during the maneuver under fire portion of the Combat Fitness Test. The CFT is an annual training requirement for all Marines to ensure they’re able to endure the rigors of combat.
“The CFT is an important part of recruit training because it is a good representation of the other strengths and skills necessary for combat that the (physical fitness test) doesn’t cover,” said Capt. Douglas Trafican, follow series commander, Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion.
The PFT consists of a 3-mile run, crunches, and pull-ups or flexed-arm hang for females. The CFT was introduced to complement the PFT and keep Marines ready for the physical rigors of combat operations.
“It’s a good test of endurance,” said Recruit Edward Lawson, Platoon 1051, Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion. “It proves how we work under pressure.”
Recruits start the CFT by sprinting 880 yards for time. After the sprint they quickly move into two minutes of rapidly lifting a 30-pound ammunition can overhead from shoulder height. The test concludes with maneuver under fire.
Recruit Jonathon Glenn lifts Recruit Alexander Edwards, both of Company C, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, during the Combat Fitness Test. The CFT is an annual training requirement for all Marines to ensure they’re able to endure the rigors of combat.
Maneuver under fire is a 300-yard timed course that tests recruits on a variety of combat-related skills. It starts with a 100-yard sprint followed by high and low crawls, simulated casualty drags and carries, an ammunition resupply, a grenade throw and agility running.
“The techniques can be used on a real battlefield to get your buddies out of enemy fire,” said Lawson.
The CFT has been run for score since 2009 and plays a vital role in every Marine’s career by impacting composite scores and promotions.