Last Updated: October 16th, 2020By

Fort Knox, Ky., — ROTC develops strong leaders both mentally and physically, but some of the physical tests and requirements can certainly be daunting for those thinking of joining the program.

Advanced Camp 3rd Regiment Cadets performed the Occupational Physical Assessment Test in the early hours of the morning where their physical abilities are measured in four events, and were ready to face the challenge.

An Advanced Camp 3rd Regiment Cadet begins a deadlift, one of four activities that consist of the OPAT. The OPAT was held in the early morning on July 1, 2017, Fort Knox, Ky. (Photo by Emily LaForme)

Cadet Emmitt Forbush, student at Michigan Technological University, native of Byron, Michigan, participated in the OPAT.

“It’s a new Army physical fitness test, it measures, essentially, combat effectiveness and determines which branches of the Army you can join,” said Forbush. “It consisted of four activities: The first one is a deadlift with a hexagonal bar, the second is a standing long jump (two foot take off and two foot landing), the third one is a seated ball throw (with your back against the wall), and the fourth one is a beep shuttle test like what everyone takes in middle school.”

The physical requirements and Army standards could certainly be daunting for someone who is unsure they can meet them.

“I would say give it a try. It’s difficult, but it’s not impossible for everybody, and it’s supposed to be like that. It’s a challenge, and it’s designed to be challenging, but anybody who is willing to put in the effort is capable of doing it,” said Forbush. “There is no one out there who is definitely going to fail, it’s just a question of how committed you are willing to be. If it’s something that you are really interested in doing, then everybody that wants to do it should try. No one should be discouraged away from ROTC because of physical requirements.”

Forbush had to do extra training and preparation in order to meet the standards prior to joining ROTC.

“My physical fitness was not up to par before I joined ROTC. For example, the minimum push-up requirement for males of my age is 42 push-ups, before I joined the program I could do about eight,” said Forbush.  “So, when I learned what the standards were, I spent about two months just preparing myself and working out everyday. It was kind of difficult but it helps when you have a deadline and they say by this time you have to meet this number, it helps you to dedicate yourself and work on it everyday. Within a month I was able to meet those standards, so it really isn’t that difficult if you can commit to it.”

ROTC promotes leadership excellence, and part of that excellence is physical.

An Advanced Camp 3rd Regiment Cadet races to beat the buzzer during the shuttle running test, one of four activities that consist of the OPAT. The OPAT was held in the early morning on July 1, 2017, Fort Knox, Ky. (Photo by Emily LaForme)

“Physical fitness is very important, because it’s kind of the base of everything that we do. Really no matter what your job is, you have to be able to maintain the physical standards, because at any time you could have to do something that is very physically difficult. That is why there are standards across the Army that everyone has to meet, and it’s important to be

able to meet or exceed those standards all the time,” said Forbush.

Cadet Parker Manning, student at Virginia Tech, native of Cary, North Carolina, encourages those thinking about ROTC to join, regardless of their level of physical fitness.

“If you have ever walked long distances or had to carry any kind of object, you can improve yourself to meet the standard that the Army has for you,” said Manning. “If you are competitive in any way, if you play sports or are part of a team or a club and you participated in competitions: this is a way that can further enhance your college experience and your life. You are surrounded by people who want to be here and want to improve themselves, so if you have any inclination of wanting to do this, it will help you improve yourself because of the teamwork that is involved.”

Manning is no stranger to hard work when it comes to Cadet training.

“I go to a senior military college, which there are only six in the United States, it means that we wear uniforms all day everyday, until five o’clock. It’s a little bit more intense than a typical university. I contracted my freshman year and so since then I’ve been training for this summer training. It’s been intense physically, and just learning about the Army lifestyle has been useful and helpful during my college career,” said Manning.

Manning trains and leads an active lifestyle during the school year to continue maintaining the standard.

“We participate in physical training with the Army three days a week, and outside of the Army I go to the gym, I go for runs. I try to live an active lifestyle,” said Manning. “When I was in high school I participated in cross country and was also on the swim team, so I had a base of physical fitness coming into the Army, but since I’ve joined it’s improved so that I have gained more muscle and endurance. Anyone at any level will be able improve based on the Army standard.”

ROTC is more than just physical training and leadership activities.

An Advanced Camp 3rd Regiment Cadet prepares to deadlift, one of four activities that consist of the OPAT. The OPAT was held in the early morning on July 1, 2017, Fort Knox, Ky. (Photo by Emily LaForme)

“I would describe it as resilience. It’s not always about what you think you can do, it’s about what you can end up pushing yourself to do. It’s really the teamwork involved, it’s not just an individual, it’s a member of a group,” said Manning

Cadet Summer Training will bring 8,200 Cadets through Basic and Advanced Camp this summer on Fort Knox. These camps are designed to help challenge, grow and improve various skills and leadership qualities within the Cadets. If you think you have what it takes to be a Cadet or if you are interested in a job after college click the following link: