Members of the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team take a physcial training test. PACTACLET is one of the Coast Guard units already required to take a test. The service is looking to require one forcewide. (Anastasia Devlin / Coast Guard)
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The Coast Guard is considering a fitness test that could include pullups, a jump and a 300-yard shuttle run, the service’s top enlisted leader says.
Nothing is official, but Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Michael Leavitt confirmed these exercises would be tested this month at the Chief Petty Officer Academy in Petaluma, Calif., as part of a larger fitness program.
The program would likely include not only a test, but also exercises and methods to keep Coasties fit year-round.
The Coast Guard is considering a number of other exercises, including those to strengthen the core, but Leavitt declined to be more specific because everything is in the early phases.
A fitness test with as many as seven exercises would be “in the ballpark” of what the service is looking at, Leavitt said, adding that Coasties will have to be in shape to complete the exercises.
“If you don’t do fitness, you are not passing them. It’s as simple as that,” Leavitt said.
Depending on the outcome of the academy pilot, and other factors, exercises are subject to change.
Even so, the service has already created online videos that explain how to train up to do the exercises being considered. While complete, Leavitt said, the videos have not yet been released.
The Coast Guard is treading carefully on its plan to implement a new fitness program in the service, and has been slow to release details.
The Fitness Advisory Committee, which will make final recommendations on the fitness test to the commandant, was supposed to have reported its recommendations by mid-April, but that date has been pushed back to some time this month.
The Coast Guard is the only military service that does not have a mandatory fitness test, although some jobs within the service, such as rescue swimmer, do. The Coast Guard does have a required weigh-in every six months. Coasties who do not meet the weight standards face possible separation from the service.
Leavitt said the purpose of assessing a Coast Guard fitness program is to determine a minimum level of fitness for the entire service.
“Anyone can be in a support piece one day and tomorrow you could be operational,” Leavitt said. “All of us have a responsibility to maintain physical fitness requirements.”
He added that he’d like to see a forcewide fitness program before his term is over next year.
“I’m hoping that by the end of my tenure, that we get something adopted, regardless of whether we phase it in or not, that we have some type of physical fitness program that is out there for our crews,” Leavitt said. He said the program didn’t have to be mandatory — initially.
And he wants a fitness program that reflects a Coast Guardsman’s daily duties.
“We have to make sure we take care of our workforce,” Leavitt said. “The last thing the commandant and I want to do is put something out there that doesn’t make any sense for our people.”