Unlike most college students on summer break who likely sleep in, Cadet Erin Gustafson from Texas A&M University finished her Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) at 5:30 a.m on June 21.
Gustafson, who is part of Alpha Company, 4th Regiment, is currently attending Advanced Camp, which is part of Cadet Summer Training at Fort Knox, Ky.
The ACFT is the newest physical test for the Army, replacing the previous Army Physical Fitness Test. The new test revolves around combat-related stresses, such as being able to jump over obstacles, reacting quickly to fire, or pushing a disabled vehicle.
Most Cadets are training with their battalions at their schools. Some are even taking the initiative to train in their own freetime.
“I’m an athlete, but I’ve been training for this for about a year,” said Gustafson.
The test includes six components. It consists of exercises like maximum deadlift, standing power throw, hand release push ups, sprint-drag-carry, leg tuck or plank and then a two-mile run at the end.
Each exercise focuses around endurance or certain muscle groups to ensure the combat readiness of all Soldiers.
According to the Cadet, getting through the test and being physically fit is a critical aspect to become a leader.
“If you can’t carry your own weight, then how can you expect anybody else to?” said Gustafson. “It’s that personal accountability. You don’t want to follow anyone who can’t lead by example.”
While Gustafson did pass the test, she admits that it was not necessarily easy for her. She credits her peers for helping her out.
“The hardest event for me was the sprint-drag-carry,” said Gustafson. “It’s physically, mentally demanding. However, my battle buddies helped me through for sure. There’s a lot of encouragement going on in my company. We are all very happy to be here. It’s even better having a team that is cohesive and wants to work together. They want you to do well.”