Long-Awaited ACFT Fitness Equipment Arrives at First Army Unit

Army Combat Fitness Test weights on hex bar
U.S. Army soldiers mount weights on to a hex bar during Army Combat Fitness Test Level II Grader validation training held at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland on May 17, 2019. (U.S. Army photo/Osvaldo Equite)

The U.S. Army has begun issuing the long-awaited exercise equipment needed for the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) -- starting with the Kentucky National Guard.

All active-duty, National Guard and Reserve units will be required to begin taking the new, six-event ACFT after Oct. 1, 2020, but most units still need the battalion sets of specialized fitness equipment to administer the new assessment.

The Army's Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), which is responsible for issuing the new equipment regionally to all components, selected the Kentucky Guard to be the first units equipped.

"With Kentucky being part of the southeast and one of the first regions we were fielding in, it worked out perfectly," Col. Steven Carozza, military deputy for TACOM's Integrated Logistics Support Center, said in a recent Army news release. "Kentucky was ready and expressed an interest. We had the sets available and ahead of schedule so everything just kind of aligned perfectly for us to use Kentucky National Guard as the first unit to receive the equipment."

Related: Soldier Is First to Achieve Perfect Score on New Army Fitness Test

In June 2019, the Army selected Atlantic Diving Supply Inc. in Virginia Beach and Sorinex Exercise Equipment Inc. in Lexington, South Carolina, to supply the fitness equipment under a $63.7 million deal. But competitor protests with the Government Accounting Office delayed the service from going forward until late fiscal 2019, Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, commander of the Army's Center for Initial Military Training, told Military.com.

Program officials are confident that 36,608 battalion sets of equipment for all Army components should be delivered by May 15, Susan Hubert, program manager for the ACFT, said in the release.

Each battalion is set to receive enough equipment to run 16 test lanes. Each lane will be equipped with one deadlift bar and more than 320 pounds of weights. Each lane will also need 90 pounds of additional weights for the sprint-drag-carry event, which requires soldiers to drag a 90-pound sled for 50 meters.

Many units already have pull-up bars, which are needed for the leg tuck event, Army officials have said. Each lane also requires a weight sled, pull straps, two kettle-bell weights and one medicine ball. Other equipment includes tape measures, marking cones and stopwatches.

The ACFT will replace the current three-event Army Physical Fitness Test as the service's test of record beginning in October. Before that happens, the service wants all active-duty soldiers to take two diagnostic ACFT tests, and National Guard and Reserve soldiers to take one, to give soldiers and leaders a better idea of how to prepare to take the official test, Army officials have said.

Kentucky Guard officials welcomed the new ACFT gear, which began arriving Dec. 11, according to the release.

"I'm appreciative of the Kentucky Guard being the first Army organization to receive this equipment as we go into the ACFT transition," Brig. Gen. Hal Lamberton, Kentucky's adjutant general, said in the release. "The ACFT will be a better assessing tool of our physical conditioning. By virtue of us being the first to get the equipment, we've set ourselves up to have more time to prepare for the new test."

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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