QUANTICO, Va. — Officials with the Marine Corps Warfighting lab have announced plans to conduct a technical assessment to replace the current Combat Fitness Test with a Garrison Fitness Test more reflective of a contemporary environment Marines are likely to face in the future. The existing CFT is required semi-annually to measure individual endurance to the rigors of combat.
“We’re basing everything on the Marine Corps getting back to a peacetime mindset,” said Brigadier General Kevin J. Killea, Commanding General of Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. “After thirteen years of a sustained presence in overseas war zones fighting militant insurgencies, eliminating terrorists, and training foreign security forces, we really need to get back to painting rocks.”
Capt. James Pineiro, ground Combat Element branch head for the Warfighting Lab’s Science and Tech Division, said reintroducing time-tested technologies like floor buffers and Simple Green through the Garrison Fitness Test will encourage Marines to embrace the ethos of the garrison spirit of the Marine Corps.
“As combat missions wind down we really need to revert to our origins as a force ready to conduct police call at a moments notice,” said Pineiro. “We need to develop a test which emphasizes functional fitness related to our true operational demands.”
The origins of Garrison Fitness can be traced back in Marine Corps history to the junk on the bunk (JOB) inspection. At the time, a Marine's merit was based on how well he painted tent stakes, blackened the eyelets of a war belt, and starching of undergarments that were never actually worn. Dress and service uniforms were meticulously clipped of Irish pennants (loose threads), dry cleaned, pressed, and displayed in wall lockers. Inspections were completed just in time to box up all the uniform items and place them into storage so the unit could deploy.
Among the events earmarked for possible inclusion in the modern Garrison Fitness Test are the cigarette butt shuttle run, where Marines will clear out a 20 meter area between the smoke pit and a garbage can within a set time limit. The heave and toss event will require Marines to fill a barracks dumpster with empty beer cans, spit bottles, and broken furniture for time. The stalking event would test a Marine's ability to avoid the OOD and remain undetected in their barracks room.
At press time the Warfighting Lab is also considering a weapons maintenance endurance event where Marines clean their rifles until the bluing is completely scrubbed off or they put the barrel in their mouth, whichever comes first.