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Can You Pass the Test?

MCPON proposes changes to the PRT

Fire! Fire! Fire! Class Charlie Fire!

When this comes over the 1MC, every Sailor knows to stop whatever it is they're doing and get to their assigned general quarters station. It doesn't matter if you are a boatswain's mate or an intelligence specialist. We all have the same firefighting training.

Culinary specialists and electrician's mates have very different jobs; so do yeomen and aircrew survival equipmentmen. There are more than 60 rates in the Navy, all of which have different requirements and expectations to perform their daily duties.

There is one thing that all of these rates have in common -- everyone, regardless of your job in the Navy, is a firefighter.

The Navy knows this and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens wants to use the firefighting training every Sailor receives at Recruit Training Command to make a general job related fitness test.

Three photo collage of various physical training exercises including (from left to right) running; sit ups; push ups.

What if the physical readiness test was made to mimic the candidate physical ability test Navy firefighters must take? There would be no more 1.5 mile run. No more push-ups. No more sit-ups. Piece of cake, right? Well what would the Navy replace these exercises with?

Firefighters have to do a stair climb, hose drag, equipment carry, and rescue drag as part of the physical ability test. The proposed new fitness test would include the fireman's carry, fire-hose drag, ladder climb, plank, and broad jump.

The Navy wants to change the PRT to make it more job specific, but how can you do so if everyone has different duties?

In a recent interview MCPON explained his vision for the new proposed fitness test.

"A lot of people say every Sailor in the Navy is a firefighter, because you can find yourself on board a ship regardless of your source rating," said Stevens. "When you are on that ship, if a fire broke out, for example, everybody would have to be able to fight it. Maybe your test revolves around something like that."

"You have got to find something that is kind of connected to every Sailor in the Navy."
-MCPON Mike Stevens

Before you go getting too excited, Sailors would still be required to do a regular PRT including the run or alternate cardio, sit-ups, and push-ups. Only instead of doing it twice a year, the second PRT would be a shipboard skills-type of test.

MCPON said this test would be a once-a-year supplement to the existing PRT.

The Marine Corps already has a combat fitness test and the Army plans to start requiring an occupational physical assessment test to determine job placement. MCPON wants the Navy to jump on board with the job-related fitness test.

Three photo collage of various physical performances including (from left to right)ab work; person carry; planks.

Nothing has been etched in stone yet as ideas are just being brainstormed at this time.

There may be a time when you have to carry a shipmate from a burning compartment or smoke-filled space. The proposed fireman's carry will help prepare you for that.

"Maybe you have to drag something heavy for a certain distance," Stevens suggested. "Maybe you have to carry a shipmate out of a compartment that is on fire."

The fire hose drag is another proposed task for the new fitness test. The test would require Sailors to drag an object that simulates moving and controlling a heavy fire hose. Sailors would carry the heavy object a set distance for time.

While these proposed changes are being discussed, Sailors should maintain physical fitness levels in line with current policy and be prepared for future changes.

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