[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                          July 24, 2009
Mobilization

Physical fitness vital to success of deploying unit training at Fort McCoy

By Spc. Brian Johnson, The Real McCoy Contributor

FORT McCOY, Wis. — In today’s modern warfare, a Soldier may be required to carry more than 40 pounds of extra gear to include their rifle, helmet and body armor. With that extra weight, physical fitness becomes paramount. That’s why the members of the 1434th Engineer Company conducted the Army Physical Fitness Test or APFT to help Soldiers be able to gauge their overall fitness.

Photo: Soldiers from the 1434th Engineer Company conduct an Army Physical Fitness Training test at Fort McCoy. The unit is conducting mobilization training at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Spc. Brian Johnson)
Soldiers from the 1434th Engineer Company conduct an Army Physical Fitness Training test at Fort McCoy. The unit is conducting mobilization training at Fort McCoy. 
(Photo by Spc. Brian Johnson)

The more than 150 members of the Grayling, Mich.-based National Guard unit were mobilized June 11 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

They began training at their mobilization station in Fort McCoy, Wis., June 14.

According to the Army Field Manual 21-20, "All Soldiers in the Active Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve must take the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) regardless of their age. The APFT is a three-event physical performance test used to assess muscular endurance and cardiorespiratory (CR) fitness. Performance on the APFT is strongly linked to the Soldier’s fitness level and his ability to do fitness-related tasks."

Why place so much emphasis on physical fitness? Unit Commander Capt. Brian Iarossi said, "With the armor, ammunition, weapons, and equipment the modern Soldier is expected to carry, fitness is a vital part of success overseas. Soldiers must remain physically fit in order to react quickly and maintain situational awareness while weighed down under extreme weather conditions. The enemy acts fast, and we must be fit enough to keep up with him."

Sgt. 1st Class Ted Blanford of Toledo said that the environment that the unit is going makes fitness vital.

"In Kuwait and Iraq, in the summer time, the temperatures can reach over 120-130 degrees. If a Soldier is not fit, they run the risk of becoming a heat casualty and causing serious (injury or illness) to themselves. If you factor in the extreme amount of extra gear and that type of heat, physical fitness and especially cardio vascular fitness becomes vital."

The 1434th will continue training at Fort McCoy until late summer before they deploy to their duty station in Iraq.

(Johnson is the 1434th Engineer Company Public Affairs representative.)

 

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