Medals & Misfires

MEDAL: Marine Corps fitness test offers smart alternative to running

The Marine Corps is making changes to its Physical Fitness Test, allowing Marines to replace the three-mile running portion of the PFT with a 5,000-meter stint on a rowing machine.

Marines seeking to do that will require a medical chit to prove and explain why they can’t run. But it will allow fit and hard-working Marines to still earn a top score on their fitness test without risking unnecessary injury.

It comes at a time when the entire military is wrestling with issues of standards and fitness. The Pentagon wants to crack down on one in 10 service members who are “non-deployable” for one reason or another. And the Pentagon is working to put together a new force-wide policy on fitness and body fat standards.

It’s heartening to see the Marines push ahead with common-sense change that maintain high standards while also considering the unique needs of individual service members who might be contributing to the Corps readiness in non-traditional ways. Other services – and Pentagon bureaucrats – should take note.

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