We have had an alarming trend on our task force recently, though it started back at Devens all those months ago as we were preparing for this deployment. As I have mentioned previously, I have not recently fared well on the APFT. Even though I have continuously failed for the last 8½ years or so, I have always prided myself on always giving my best. I never do less than I feel that I can do, and I never give up prior to the completion of the test. Maybe this is simply personal pride on my part, or I simply believe that no matter the outcome, an APFT is a current gauge of physical strength at that present time and should be used to prepare for future fitness exams. I am in a minority in this feeling however.
For some reason, people have decided that it is okay to simply quit the APFT is they fail an event or just feel slighted by the exam somehow. We recently had our record APFT, and for the most part people tried their best to finish, and some people passed their first APFT in quite some time. But there was also a small group that decided for whatever reason to simply stop running, or even just turn around and not do the exam at all. If these were lower enlisted types, you could almost excuse it, but a couple of these people were Soldiers who were laterally appointed to corporal, the lowest non-commissioned officer rank. They are supposed to be our junior leaders and examples for other junior Soldiers to follow, and they simply gave up.
I suppose the reason they quit doesn’t really matter. What matters is that to the people that kill themselves on the PT test, knowing they are going to fail, this is a slap in the face. Why should we continue to try hard and complete all the events? I, for example, have not passed the push-up event since the last APFT that I passed in November 2001. I have probably taken at least 30 PT tests, if not more, since then, and I have always failed the push-ups, the first event of the APFT. If I was like these other Soldiers, I could do 10 sit-ups and quit the run since I knew I was going to fail anyway. But I have never done this, nor do I plan on doing so. Maybe I am wired a bit differently, but for some reason this really bothers me, and I am not alone in that. No matter what, I will continue to always finish my APFT, and someday soon I will pass it since I know what event I struggle at. These quitters are not able to say that.