Every sailor is familiar with the physical readiness test: pushups, situps, 1.5-mile run. Now the service is interested in ways to measure sailor's physical aptitude for their job.

This is known as an operational fitness test and is a mainstay of the Marine Corps regimen that has been examined by other services. The Marine Corps has long conducted two fitness tests a year, one measuring general physical health and one combat readiness; some experts have proposed a similar model for the Navy. The Army in 2012 scrapped a proposed combat test, but is working on military occupational specialty-specific tests. 

A look at operational fitness across the services:Here's how the other services do it.

Marine Corps

Marines' do a once-a-year combat fitness test consistsng of three events: 

  1. Movement to contact: A timed, 800-yard course that tests endurance.
  2. Ammunition lift: As many times as possible, Marines lift a 30-pound ammo can overhead until their arms give out.
  3. Maneuver under fire: A 300-yard shuttle run with combat-related tasks, like crawls, carries, ammunition resupply, grenade throwing and agility.

All Marines take the test on the opposite cycle from their regular physical fitness test, and men and women are graded differently.


As of February, The Army is planning to rolle out gender neutral, MOS-specific tests for recruits that could start as soon as this summer. The Occupational Physical Assessment Test will evaluate recruits for duty into certain Military Occupational Specialty fields and will feature exercises like: Some of These tests will feature exercises like: with these events that could start as soon as this summer:

  1. Standing long jump
  2. Dead lift
  3. Aerobic interval run
  4. "Seated power throw," similar to the kneeling powerball toss

Air Force

The Air Force does not a have service-wide operational fitness test but is reportedly considering it for some physically demanding specialties.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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