Cadet Noah Goodlett, University of South Carolina, 6th Regiment, Advanced Camp, drags a 90-pound sled during the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), Fort Knox, July 1, 2021. The sprint-drag-carry event is a fast all-out test of strength, endurance, and anaerobic abilities. | Photo by Kyle Crawford, CST Public Affairs Office

The moon was still bright in the sky on July 1st, 2021, when the Cadets of 6th Regiment, Advanced Camp were already gathering outside to put their bodies to the Army’s test. Not so much the crack of dawn, but rather in the middle of the night, platoons marched in perfect formation, flags flying, ready to give their all to the ACFT.

The ACFT, or Army Combat Fitness Test, is the Army’s new test administered universally to Soldiers and Cadets alike to assess their general readiness for combat situations. The six assessments are deadlifts, power throws, hand-release pushups, a sprint-drag-carry, hanging leg tucks, and finally, a two-mile run.

“It’s really, really hard to max it. Only one out of the three-hundred-twenty who are currently being tested here … has maxed it,” said Major Peter Ahching of Georgia State University, the officer in charge of the event. “He was motivated from the beginning and he had confidence coming in.”

The one in question was Cadet Joseph Hunter from Christopher Newport University, who was a shining example of what this event, as well as the whole of Cadet Summer Training, is hoping to achieve: letting intense motivation lead the way to undying dedication, and eventually, remarkable success.

To “max” this event is to score a perfect one-hundred points on all six tests. With help from the Army ROTC program, he worked hard for years to train for this goal.

“Our Cadre, Master Sgt. Brian Relation from Christopher Newport University, we train this a lot, he’s very motivated for us, he always tries to push us as much as possible,” Hunter stated. “The Major [Ahching] here was hyping me up the whole entire time so I didn’t want to disappoint him.”

Cadre members, including Lt. Col. Malikah Morgan and Major Peter Ahching, proudly pose with Cadet Joseph Hunter of Christopher Newport University, a member of 6th Regiment, Advanced Camp who was able to score as highly as possible on every event of the Army Combat Fitness Test on July 1, 2021, at Fort Knox, KY. The “600” is to show that he scored six-hundred points, the maximum number of points possible. | Photo by Griffin Amrein, CST Public Affairs.

But what stood out among each platoon in today’s testing, was the comradery and coaching between the Cadets themselves. Though it might seem like an individual test, the Cadets all rallied behind each other as leaders, screaming to push harder and harder.

“Everybody in my platoon knew I was striving to do this, and everybody was checking on me the whole entire time … It’s like a collective effort for me scoring this. My Cadre at home, my Cadre here, and my platoon here,” said Hunter.

This event, much like life in the Army, hinges on the strength of the unit to ensure the success of the individual, and the strength of the individual to ensure the success of the unit.