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Can my Platoon Sergeant require me to have a score of 250 on my APFT?

Are Platoon Sergeants allowed to raise the APFT standard? My Platoon Sergeant is making our standard 250 points instead of 180. I have taken a diagnostic PT test every other week and I was wondering if a Platoon Sergeant can do that, or if it has to be a company wide thing.

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Great question.  Your Platoon Sergeant can certainly set a goal for you and your platoon to obtain.  However, he cannot make it mandatory.  In addition, taking an APFT every other week may injure Soldiers, set Soldiers up for injury, and cause increasingly poor APFT performance from overuse.  FM 7-22 specifically addresses over-training Soldiers and AR 350-1 specifically discusses physical fitness, including the APFT test.  More specifically AR 350-1 Appendix G-9 a(2) states:

 

Commanders may establish unit APFT mission related goals which exceed Army minimum standards. However, individuals must be aware of these goals and be able to achieve them safely through the use of normal training time and adherence to the principles of conditioning outlined in FM 21–20. Personnel who meet Army minimum standards, but fail to meet unit goals, may not be punished or disciplined. However, they may be required to participate in special conditioning programs which focus on overcoming a weakness. Commanders who establish higher goals should do so because their unit missions require Soldiers to be more than minimally fit. Like-units with identical missions (companies within battalions, battalions within brigades) should have similar standards. Care must be taken by the chain of command to ensure unit goals do not arbitrarily replace Army standard.

 

As I stated earlier, your platoon can have a platoon goal of 250 points.  That is a good goal to have. However, Soldiers cannot be punished for not obtaining this goal, nor (in my professional opinion) should they be subjected to repetitive (every other week, weekly testing) as this could cause injury to the Soldier.  In some cases the leader could be held potentially liable for an injury of a Soldier that is frequently tested.  The Platoon Sergeant cannot hold a weekly for-record APFT test unless he is given permission from the Commander to do this.  The Commander can provide a for record test as often as they like, but they should do so within reason.  I would encourage you to read  AR 350-1 para 1-24e,  and Appendix G-9.  Then read AR 7-22 with regard to over-training, over-testing, and injuries.  Leaders can be held responsible for inappropriate and/or unsafe physical fitness that puts a Soldier a risk of injury as a result of poorly planned and executed physical fitness plans.  FM 7-22 outlines the elements of a good physical fitness plan.

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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