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Cadets Test Their Strength

Cadets Test their Strength

by Tanner Cole


(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Shejal Pulivarti/released)

U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Denise Waite, drill sergeant on the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) Committee, administers the pushup portion of the APFT for Cadets attending Leader Development and Assessment Course, during Cadet Summer Training (CST) on Fort Knox, Ky., June 12. Photo by Staff Sgt. Shejal Pulivarti.

During the early days of the Leader Development and Assessment Course [LDAC], cadets took the most important personal training test of their lives.

The Army Physical Fitness Test consists of push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run. The event is crucial to the cadets’ LDAC standing and plays a big role in determining whether they will be offered active duty.

Luckily, the first two regiments arrived ready to compete and support each other throughout the testing.


Cadets Morgan Ross and George Schoenfeld came to LDAC together from Norwich University. The pair shared words of encouragement with their fellow Cadets.

“We usually just encourage everyone,” Schoenfeld said. “We just keep telling them that they can make it. Usually I yell out the next 10 numbers. So if they did 60 I say ‘you got 70’ and then if they get to 70 I say ‘you got 80′. It’s usually motivating for them to attain that goal. On the running, with every breath you’ve go to encourage yourself and encourage others.”

The stress of APFT can be the most nerve-wracking portion of the cadets’ training. Their performance must be on-point for the sake of their careers. Prior to the test, the cadets went through five days of in-processing and little extraneous activity. They had plenty of time to worry about their physical ability.

“I think this is the worst part of LDAC,” Ross said. “It’s five days out and we’re just downing MRE’s, which are really heavy and kind of bloat you. It’s not the best kind of food you would typically eat to prepare you for a physical fitness test.”

Most of the cadets were confident in their push-ups and sit-ups, but the two miles at the end of the test were dreaded.

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Shejal Pulivarti/released)

The APFT cadre, supporting Task Force Wolf, is comprised of 98th Training Division, 108th Training Command Soldiers and various other specialty support units outside of the command, provides Reserve Trainers to facilitate CST, which educates and trains college students to be potential officers and leaders in the U.S. Army. Photo by Staff Sgt. Shejal Pulivarti.

Cadet Kevin Valenzuela, of the University of Richmond, maxed out both push-ups and sit-ups, then turned out to the track for the run.

“The run is what I’m a little less perfected at,” Valenzuela said. “I’m almost at the max score of 300 if I run hard or until I puke. But I feel good. A little nervous of course.”

Nerves were nothing unusual for the testing. Spc. Corey Fisher was on site at the event to ensure that Army standards were being met. He went through the exact same testing previously in his career.

“The first time I did this I was pretty nervous,” Fisher said. “They’re probably really nervous. We tell them to relax and chill out, but it was never this dressed up and big when I did it.”

The test was taken by a full company, or half a regiment at a time. Dozens of cadets performed the appropriate tasks simultaneously. One drill sergeant supervised a single cadet during each event. The result was a large-scale test in which the cadets’ every move was watched.

Fortunately, they relied on each other to make it through and prevail as teams.

“Team building is absolutely the most important thing. Ross and I are from the same school, so a lot of us here get together and talk about everything. The people in our platoons and our squads we’ve really gotten to know. We’ve really gotten close.”

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