FORT EUSTIS, Va. — The Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) announced today plans to offer a two-mile Walmart scooter ride as an alternate event for the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).
"We've been seeking to make the APFT more closely approximate the physical demands required of soldiers in today's combat environment," said TRADOC Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport. "The Walmart scooter ride puts to the test one's ability to walk minimal distances, transition to and from a seated position, and exercise a modicum of fine motor control, which is all that is required of a majority of soldiers nowadays."
The event will entail parking in a handicap parking space at a local Walmart, walking approximately thirty yards to the entrance, boarding a mobility scooter, navigating a two mile course that winds up and down the aisles, then returning to the parking space.
TRADOC has not yet decided which APFT component the scooter ride will replace, though Davenport speculated that the 800-yard swim was the most likely candidate.
"I consider the swim to be an inadequate test of preparedness for the modern combat zone, as I can't remember the last time we deployed to a country that wasn't parched desert," said Davenport. "Plus half of our soldiers just drown during the test."
Some company commanders expressed satisfaction with TRADOC's announcement.
"I've got fatties in my unit who are on a profile that limits them from doing the standard pushups, sit-ups, and two-mile run, as well as the alternate walking, biking, and swimming events," said Capt. Joseph Harland, a company commander with the 82nd Airborne Division. "What the hell was I supposed to do with these guys?"
"The docs who shat out these profiles were basically telling me that my soldiers were amorphous blobs of fail who could function at a level no higher than a doorstop. But with this Walmart scooter ride, I can now enforce at least some kind of fitness standard with the amoebae in my ranks."
Pass/fail parameters are also awaiting determination, as standardization is ongoing. TRADOC notes the test is more difficult than it appears on the surface and wants to ensure a fair percentage of soldiers are able to pass.
"We thought the grueling thirty yard walk from the parking lot would be the most demanding part of the test," said Davenport. "But most of the soldiers with poor times got bogged down on the aisle with the Little Debbie snacks."