FORT JACKSON, SC -- The Army is revamping basic training for the first time in 30 years to incorporate lessons learned in the field and cater to a younger generation of soldiers that is more sedentary than past recruits.
“The major problem is that they are coming to us in [worse] physical shape than their predecessors,” Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, Training and Doctrine Command’s deputy commanding general for Initial Military Training (IMT), said at the Army’s recent IMT forum held at Fort Jackson, SC. “This has nothing to do with who we are recruiting today. It’s just a reflection of what’s going on in American society right now.”
To prevent physical training related injuries from happening during basic training, the Army plans to gradually increase soldiers’ fitness levels so they’ll be ready for more rigorous training later.
“We are seeing more stress fractures, a greater body fat percentage and a decline in the ability of many new soldiers to perform one minute of push-ups, one minute of sit-ups and make a one-mile run,” Hertling said.
The attrition rate for new recruits in recent years has been between 10 percent and 15 percent, Hertling said, and much of it was caused by stress fractures and other serious injuries.
Additional calisthenics to build core body strength, as well as agility and strength, will be a part of the new standardized basic training regimen, Frank Palkoska, head of the Army’s Fitness School at Fort Jackson, told the Associated Press.
The new 10-week basic training system is expected to be in place by July. Additional focus also will be placed on marksmanship.