YOUR Military Story- What was your physical training and PT test like in Boot Camp?

"DOUBLE-TIME, MARCH!"   AHHH. I remember well those hated words from the drill sergeants or cadre.   It meant you went from simply marching to running, likely at O dark thirty, after a crappy night sleep, in a formation no less.

Physical training certainly can take many forms in military boot camp.  There is physical training as a platoon or unit, which was likely the most common way exercise happened, at least in my experience.  This could happen at a set time in the morning when you wear your "PT" gear of sweatpants, running pants, shorts or what have you, or in the evening when there was something going on in the morning and  the "regular" PT couldn't be done then.  Night time also seemed to be when we were "smoked" as a group.This was often done in your regular uniform  Being smoked refers to punishment through physical exercise.  It might include extended time in the front leaning rest position- like when you're about to do a push-up but you just hold it-the dreaded leg scissors where you are on your back with your legs straight and alternating lifting them up and down a thousand times.  Or stomach crunches, or low crawling through sand or mud, or mule kicks, or any other torturous physical activities that privates hated.  Sometimes smoking sessions were truly deserved because a few or more of us were performing terribly, or simply because the drill sergeants felt like we needed some exercise.

PT might also be various include forms of running (long distance, sprints, etc.), calisthenics, cardio, stretching, or doing exercises while holding a weapon.

The tests I took my entire nine years in training and in an Army Guard unit consisted of (in this order) push-ups, sit-ups and a two mile run.  You had to do so many push-ups and sit-ups according to your age and gender.  For the run, the older you were the more time you had.

During my brief stint in an Air Guard unit, the PT test was a little easier as far as the time you had to run 1.5 miles.

PT is certainly crucially important for any military member, which is why it has been used since the beginning of armies as part of training.

However, different time periods and service branches do PT and the tests differently.  

So... What was your physical training and the PT tests like when you were in the military?

Please share below and comment!


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Comment by Jeff Wenum on December 29, 2016 at 8:55pm

Really funny Claudia,the date you posted. July of '69 I was at Parris Island in boot camp. Needless to say, it was pretty hot. I do remember 1-mile runs with an M-14 at 'port arms'(wasn't nice) and final PT run was 3-miles,I think, had to be done in less than 20 minutes; wasn't really bad after all the previous conditioning.

Comment by DONALD WILBUR DEGOOD on July 9, 2015 at 10:54pm

Being drafted in 1951 for Korean War. Basic was hurry hurry, with some wait time. 1951 was many moons ago. I have tried to forget the bad part and physical fitness was top of my forget list.


I still remember FORCED MARCH'S. Ft Knox had or has two hills or small Mountains named Misery and Agony. I have been told they both are still standing TALL, I thought they might be wore down some after 65 years of rookies climbing them. It was good training for Korea, Big, Bigger Mountains. I Retired in1990 then went to work PT as needed. At that time when a Veteran died his family could request a farewell salute of 21 shots. I got to know some of the Ft Knox NCOs and I asked about ole Agony and Misery. One other memory from Ft Knox was the infiltration course.  I wonder if it is in use in 2015? We were given old wore out

fatigues taken to a special range where live rounds were shot 3 feet over our heads we had to crawl in mud to make it. Oh the fire truck pumper made the mud. Did twice once in daylight the 2nd time was after dark.     

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