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Headquarters Battalion passes new fitness test

7 Apr 2009 | Lance Cpl. Skyler Tooker 1st Marine Division


Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division had approximately 500 Marines complete the Combat Fitness Test by the Mar. 31 deadline.

“All the Marines that were not absent from the battalion were able to take the CFT before the deadline,” said Cpl. Michael D. Degeis, 22, training non-commissioned officer for Headquarters and Service Company, who is from Danvers, Mass.

Degeis was the head instructor on site and monitored the CFT with the help of other qualified Marine instructors.

The instructors have to go through a half-day course where they run the CFT and then monitor a CFT to qualify to become an instructor.

For now, the CFT was pass or fail and was held on several occasions in March for the Marines of HQ Bn., to complete their training. The Marine Corps will have standards for the CFT, which will be unknown until later this year, Degeis said.

“This was my first time running the CFT,” said Lance Cpl. Gary Mishoe, 27, from Virginia Beach, Va.,a motor transportation operator with Truck Company A, HQ Bn. “I think it was pretty intense and motivating.”

The CFT consists of three events: an 800-meter run, 30-pound ammunition can lift and a maneuver under fire course.

“On the run, toward the end, your boots start getting heavy,” said Mishoe.

Each part of the CFT must be completed under the time prescribed by Marine Corps guidelines, which varies for age and gender.

“The ammo can lift was not as challenging as the other two events in the CFT,” said Mishoe. “I think they should raise the minimum number of lifts on the ammo can portion of the CFT.”

According to Degeis, the CFT is designed to exhaust Marines, test their mental and physical abilities and push them to their maximum potential.

“It is much more challenging than it looks,” said Sgt. Jonathon L. Slattery, 21, a squad leader with Truck Co. A, from Sacramento, Calif. “It is easy to judge from the outside looking in, but it is a different story when it’s your turn.”

Degeis said that the CFT will be integrated Oct. 1, with a point system which Marines will have to pass just like the Physical Fitness Test.

“Once the CFT is graded on a point system, I think it will make the Marines put out more effort,” said Mishoe.

Most of the battalion was able to pass the CFT by the deadline. The few who had trouble completing the CFT on the first try managed to succeed and overcome the intense training.

“Marines didn’t join to run the PFT; they joined to be a part of combat,” said Degeis.

1st Marine Division