The Occupational Physical Assessment Test, or OPAT, is a physical fitness test that has been used by the Army to determine the fitness levels of recruits for years. Although the Army Combat Fitness Test, or ACFT, is beginning to become the new norm, the OPAT is still relevant for the future.

1st Lt. Will Connell demonstrates the standing long jump to Cadets of 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp, part of their Occupational Physical Assessment Test on July 14, 2021, at Fort Knox, KY. | Photo by Griffin Amrein, CST Public Affairs.

On July 14, 2021, the Cadets of 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp took on the OPAT for themselves at Fort Knox, KY.

“This is the test that they use to put people in their MOS (Military Occupational Specialty,)” said Major Peter Ahching of Georgia State University. “So far these guys are doing very well. Most of the [Cadets] are meeting the maximum standards, so that says a lot of great things about the Cadre’s ability to get these Cadets ready for the OPAT.”

But why is Advanced Camp still conducting this test if the ACFT is replacing it? Major Ahching explained that the ACFT is still being evaluated as the Army’s standard physical test, so officials are using the data from institutions such as Cadet Summer Training to determine if there are any improvements that need to made to the current version.

“Since the ACFT isn’t fully complete yet, I think there has been three versions that have come out so far, … an OPAT is a good fall back for a lot of different units that just want a quick test to see that their guys are at the standards they need,” said Cadet Wyatt Bergeson of the University of Montana.

9th Regiment will be taking the current version of the ACFT as their main assessment in the next few days, so Cadre makes sure to compare the data of both tests carefully, and make note of any differences in trends.

So far, the ACFT is seeing much success as the Army’s new way to determine a person’s readiness for combat positions.

A Cadet of 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp performs a deadlift as part of his Occupational Physical Assessment Test at Fort Knox, KY on July 14, 2021. | Photo by Griffin Amrein, CST Public Affairs.

Both are designed to test functional fitness, and demand a very well-rounded approach, but the ACFT contains more tests and has a higher cap for success. Cadre have been training the Cadets for these tests for weeks beforehand.

“I think the [ACFT] is a more comprehensive overall fitness test to assess a person’s fitness for combat. It’s harder, but at the same time it’s an accurate assessment of your fitness level compared to the OPAT,” said Major Ahching.

After taking the OPAT, 9th Regiment left with a good understanding of where they were physically, and with an excitement to conquer the ACFT in the coming days.