Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Army training changes: No more 5 mile runs

If you were in the Army, you knew the 5 mile runs. Well say goodbye to that drill, because the Army is changing. No more 5 mile runs. No more using a bayonet either, for that matter.

Today's Army does not really need young men and women who can run 5 miles. The need soldiers who are equipped to fight in today's Army.

Just exactly what does that mean? Because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, training is now geared towards that. Instead of long runs, more short, zig zag runs like going back and forth a street. Wind sprints if you will. That and getting the core muscles in shape. Soldiers need to run back and forth in places like alleys. They need to be able to carry a heavy pack while patrolling. The need skills like tossing themselves out of a Humvee that got bombed. Bayonet drills are out. Calisthenics are in. Close range hand to hand combat is back in style too.

The Army figures that today's recruit has computer, cell phone, and other technological skills. And they like that. The future warrior will find enemies using those devices. They will recon and communicate using those skills. But because of the sedentary lifestyle of today's youth, getting in shape and hand to hand combat are now job one.

How many fist fights do kids get into today? The Army, believe it or not, says this is a dying skill. But soldiers need to be able to fight. And close up. So the pugil sticks are back in fashion with a vengeance. It lets soldiers know what it's like to be smacked up side the head. Without getting hurt, that is. That might put a dose of reality in them real quick.

And that little thing about bayonets? Traditions die hard. Soldiers for years have trained with the bayonets, those long knife blades on the end of rifles. But here's the thing. Those things are not used on an M16. They were just a holdover. The old guard dies hard, so they stuck around.

The Marines are changing too. Now drills include carrying bodies over long distances, more obstacle courses, and moving heavy objects like ammunition cans. They can get quite heavy.

If you are thinking of joining the Army or Marines, and you are a couch potato, get ready to step it up or ship out! Boot camp physical fitness has changed!

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