FORT KNOX, Ky.- 4th Regiment Cadet Leaders Course (CLC) Alpha and Bravo Company Cadets were tested at Otto Gym for the Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) June 20.
Developed in the last year, the OPAT is designed to measure a soldier’s ability to meet physical fitness standards based on their military occupational specialty (MOS) and consists of four activities: the standing long jump, seated power throw, deadlift and interval aerobics test.
The OPAT will contrast the existing form of measuring physical fitness, the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), taken by all Cadets and Soldiers. The APFT standards differ slightly between males and females and age, needing at least a score of 50 points in each event. The events include: 2 minutes of sit-ups, 2 minutes of push-ups and a 2 mile run. This differs from the standards set by the OPAT which will apply to all Soldiers in a particular MOS regardless of age or sex.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Roes, Observer Trainer Mentor (OTM) of 4th Regiment CLC Bravo Company 2nd platoon, spoke on the impact of the new standards.
“There is a difference between office jobs and the skillsets that require rigorous activity and strength like carrying battle buddies in full armor or mountain climbing. There should be a standard set for your MOS in addition to the overall fitness standard,” Roes said.
The physical fitness standards for each Army MOS based on the OPAT have not yet been put into effect. The averages of soldier’s performances across the country and the physical demands of each MOS will be the determining factors.
Capt. Houng Lee, Alabama A&M University, Safety Officer for the OPAT and Assistant S3, gave his thoughts on the OPAT.
“The idea of the OPAT makes sense considering the different demands of different MOSs, but at this time we really can’t make any generalizations or conclusions on the effectiveness of the OPAT, it hasn’t been around long enough. Many of these Cadets have taken the OPAT at their school, previous to this summer’s training but it is still a true test of physical fitness,” Lee said.
The efficacy of the OPAT for mission readiness will be assessed overtime. With new standards often comes nervousness of performance. Cdt. Chris Bailey, a senior at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois said effort is key.
“Preparing to take the OPAT is all about your mindset. You just have to do the best you can and work as hard as you can to perform at your peak. Paired with the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), the OPAT should be a good measure of a soldier’s overall physical fitness,” Bailey said.
The United States Army prides itself on effective preparation, proper training and mission success. The hope is that the new standards set forth by the OPAT will better prepare soldiers to perform more efficiently in each of their specialities.