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Marine Corps Now Recruiting First Force Fitness Instructors

Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test (CFT)

The Marine Corps is looking for 50 noncommissioned officers to participate in its first-ever force fitness instructor course, aimed at developing a fitter and better rounded force.

In a Corps-wide message published Wednesday, officials announced plans to launch the initial five-week force fitness instructor course at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, on Oct. 3, the first step in the service's effort to create nearly 1,000 instructors, or one for every 200 Marines.

Commandant Gen. Robert Neller announced his plan to create a force fitness instructor program in a January fragmentary order to Marines, saying the initiative would ensure all troops are physically fit and mentally tough.

"On a daily basis, our objective is to have the maximum number of Marines present and effective for duty that are trained and equipped with operationally functional equipment, and ready for immediate deployment worldwide," Neller wrote. "All Marines and Sailors will understand they are part of a team that needs them to be at their very best every day."

In an April planning document reviewed by Military.com, officials with Marine Corps Training and Education Command further outlined plans to develop a new military occupational specialty, 0919, reserved for Marines at top fitness levels who had previously served as martial arts or water survival instructors.

For now, according to the new message, previous experience as an instructor is recommended, but not a requirement.

Active-duty sergeants from any MOS are eligible to apply for the course, as long as they have a physical fitness test score of 250 or higher and a first class combat fitness test score, and have spent at least the last six months on full duty status.

In addition, officials are looking for applicants who demonstrate leadership, motivating subordinates to perform at the highest levels "through initiative, enthusiasm, MOS proficiency, and personal example."

Successful candidates also must demonstrate strong intellect, with the ability to solve complex problems and anticipate mission requirements.

Twelve instructor candidates will be selected from each of the three Marine expeditionary forces, and 14 from the training command.

The instructor course will include information on nutrition, injury prevention and sports medicine, officials said in the message.

"[A force fitness instructor] will serve as the commander's subject matter expert on physical fitness and sports-related injury prevention," the message states. "This Marine will advise the commander on the design and implementation of a structured, progressive [mission essential task list]-based physical fitness training program that is uniquely tailored to the units training and exercise employment plan. An FFI will also be capable of integrating available resources to support the commander's physical fitness training program."

The Marine Corps plans to hold six force fitness instructor courses per year, with 50 candidates per class.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@HopeSeck.

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