Last Updated: June 27th, 2024By

FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY — On the cool morning of June 27, 2024, Cadets with 6th Regiment, Advanced Camp tested their strength and endurance during the Army Combat Fitness Test at Cadet Summer Training on Fort Knox. The ACFT is the army’s indicator used to evaluate Soldiers on their physical fitness. The test consists of six events all worth 100 points. The six events consist of a max deadlift, standing power throw, hand-release push-ups, sprint drag carry, a plank then finished with a 2-mile run.

“This has been one of the more anticipated events so far since it is so early on, therefore there is a lot of pressure around passing,” said Cadet Marie Sweeney, Boston College, Mass.

Cadets take the ACFT at the start of their 35 days at CST to not only test their physical fitness but to also learn more about their peers and motivate them as they complete the test. It gives Cadets the opportunity to continue to show leadership, even in something as individualistic as the ACFT.

Even with this event being one of the first events Cadets undergo as a Regiment, there are still opportunities to apply leadership and gain more confidence leading others.

“It is extremely applicable to lead by example,” Sweeney said. “You need to be respected by your peers, and the ACFT is a way we can prove we can keep up with them in a physical sense, like when you are in the field. Our fitness correlates to all aspects of what we do, in the sense that you can worry about tactics or others before yourself.”

Leadership is a major value as an army officer and during CST. It is important that questions are answered so there is an understanding of how an ideal leader should be according to the standards and needs of the army.

Events like the ACFT, “allow us as leaders to go back to our programs with knowledge of ‘this is what Cadet Command is looking for,’ so that way we can impose and look out for the standards of what is expected of us,” said Cadet Gabe Harney, University of Utah, Ut.

When it may not be applicable, finding ways to practice leadership proves to Cadets that they have the ability to lead others effectively.

“As a platoon sergeant, I feel a lot of them [Cadets] are looking up to me just because I have been their PSG since we got here,” said Cadet Shykira Bowers, East Carolina University, Nc. “I want them to know that I am pushing them as well as myself.”

Having only arrived two days prior, Cadets are still trying to gain an understanding of how CST works and how they are going to find ways to build their leadership skills.

The ACFT, while not the most glamorous event, is a chance for Cadets new to CST to begin to learn what it means to be a leader through their own physical fitness and their motivation to their peers.

About the Author: Morgan Edwards