Update: This article has been updated to reflect a comment from the Facebook page that shared the original slides.
Slides shared on social media showing the pass and failure rates for soldiers taking the new Army Combat Fitness Test among a select number of battalions are not official documents from the Center for Initial Military Training, officials involved in collecting data for the new test said.
The original poster of the slides, U.S Army W.T.F! Moments, stood by the slides, stating that they were used to brief the secretary of the Army and chief of staff.
The slides purport to document the testing conducted by 11 battalions, equaling more than 3,200 soldiers, of which 2,849 were men and 357 were women.
The overall pass rate was allegedly 64 percent. Men passed the test at a rate of roughly 70 percent and women failed the test at a rate of 84 percent, according to the slides.
Many of the failures were attributed to the leg tuck event, the slides show. That echoes some advice from Army leaders that soldiers need to focus on core and upper body strength for the new test.
However, CIMT officials stated that the data did not originate from them.
“The chart in question is not an official document and wasn’t assessed or aggregated by CIMT to produce official results,” said Lt. Col. Peggy Kageleiry, public affairs director for CIMT.
The Center for Initial Military Training has been collecting data and feedback regarding the ACFT and plans to do so throughout the test’s implementation this year, until it becomes the test of record on Oct. 1, 2020, according to Kageleiry.
“It is premature to discuss pass/fail rates as troops are not familiar with or trained for the ACFT," Kageleiry said in a statement to Army Times. “For many Soldiers, their initial ‘test’ was the first time they had ever executed a fitness test with strength, power or anaerobic exercises pegged against high demand Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills."
“It is vital to emphasize that the first record ACFT is at least 13-14 months away,” she added. “The Army will use this year to teach, train and mentor troops on how to prepare for the ACFT and therefore prepare for their combat mission. When training is complete and units have adapted to the new test, we expect performance rates to be similar to the current test.”
Over the past year, 63 battalions across the Army Reserve, National Guard and active duty component were fielded the equipment to train for and take trial ACFTs. That means that this slide, if accurate, would equate to less than 20 percent of the tested battalions.
Starting in October 2019, the entire Army will take two practice ACFTs roughly six months apart before it becomes the Army physical test of record in October 2020.
“This larger, and force wide diagnostic phase will empower all Soldiers to further prepare and familiarize themselves with the ACFT,” Kageleiry said.
“Regardless of gender or military occupational specialty, all Soldiers must be capable to deploy and fight based on the Army researched requirements of high physical demand tasks Soldiers perform in combat,” she added.
The ACFT is part of a push by Army leaders to “change the culture of fitness” across the service. The new test is designed to help soldiers better prepare their bodies for the rigors of combat.
The soldiers from the 11 battalions documented on the slides shared by U.S Army W.T.F! Moments “were a mixture of Operational, Operational Support, and Force Sustainment,” according to the Facebook page. “That meant that the individuals tested had varied backgrounds to include infantry, cavalry, engineers, military intelligence, military police, sustainers and various others.”
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.