At this point in your military career it’s not a question of if you know someone who’s been kicked out of the military for PT reasons, but how many. I understand the point of having a fit force. As the face of a nation’s defense, we should be strong and fast. But, at some point, shouldn’t we have smart, slightly less physically fit people as well? I’m not looking to employ someone that can’t walk from the parking lot to the desk, but I don’t know if we need everyone to be able to run a mile and a half in 10 minutes.
I’m not saying that there should be no emphasis on PT; it has a place and purpose. But, we should focus on other areas as well. Each PT failure should be treated as an individual case. If someone has failed multiple tests, we should look at the other areas in their career and life. Is the service member the head of several departments in the workplace, a generous volunteer, or a single parent?
Instead of a general PT test, they should have one for similar career fields. Careers like security forces and fire fighters should have a different test than those that have careers in finance or medical. One shouldn’t be harder or easier than the other, but configured to test the members in each field. PT has become such an issue and has such prevalence that depending on where you work, you get to leave work 3 days a week to work out for an hour. That is a slap in the face to shift workers who spend 12-hours a day behind a desk, not able to see sunlight on a daily basis.
Although service members do have a certain amount of times to fail before they get kicked out, I believe there should be other punishment instead of getting kicked out. It’s interesting to look at how the civilian workforce handles unfit employees. They would never fire someone for not being able to run a mile and a half in a certain amount of time, but they would fire someone for being repeatedly late or missing too much work. However, service members can practically suck at their jobs and remain in the service if they are physically fit.
The amount of stress you feel the day of your PT test is similar to that of people getting ready to blast off into space to concur a new planet. You feel as if your entire life and career hangs in the balance. If you slip once while doing a pushup, you’re done. No chance at a redo. But, you’d never feel that way when you go to work every day. There’s an awful stigma that follows you if you fail a PT test. Even if you retest in a few weeks and score a 100, you’ll always be known as the person who failed a PT test. You’ll have to answer for that failure for at least 3 years, which is the length of time performance reports are reviewed for awards and promotions.
Like most things, there are always grey areas that need to be figured out. However, the black and white of PT tests has got to go. There will always be a standard, but service members should be evaluated on more than how many pushups and sit-ups they can do. PT is essentially the only way to objectify people. You can’t really judge how someone performs his or her job. Sure, they get the job done, but how could you possibly score it? If everyone were scored the same way for their job, there would be many more people in the unemployment line.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.