FORT KNOX, Ky. – The 1st regiment of Cadets from Cadet Leaders Course (CLC) reported at Otto Gym before sunrise to take the Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) on June 3, 2016.
Cdt. Aaron Reed, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, from Basking Ridge, New Jersey after taking the OPAT said, “I think it is a pretty decent assessment for Soldiers nowadays for combat standards. I definitely felt more prepared taking it first at my university and then coming to CLC, but I think that the challenges that they have set before us are very conducive training.”
The OPAT consists of four events: the standing long jump, seated power throw, strength deadlift and aerobic interval run. The events are designed to assess lower body strength, power (upper and lower body) and aerobic fitness.
“I think it will help to understand whether male, female, gender neutral, they are to do the job they are supposed to do. If a female can do the job a male can do and vice versa if a male can do a job a female can do then they should be able to do that job,” said Maj. Camille Smith, officer in charge of the OPAT.
The OPAT’s purpose is to accurately assess a Cadet’s aptitude for enduring certain physically-demanding tasks regardless of age and gender. The test was developed by assessing 32 tasks related to the most physically-challenging occupations.
“We found the tests we were giving were not sufficient to determine whether the recruit had the physical capacity to engage in those high physical demanding tasks…so the task was to come up with an assessment that could be administered pre-training to determine whether or not an individual was capable of enduring certain physically demanding tasks,” Dr. Whitfield East, research physiologist for U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command added.
The OPAT along with the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery provides better understanding of what career path is best for new recruits.
Cdt. Mason Davidson, a Texas State University student from Rockwall, Texas, while waiting to take the assessment said, “It prepares the best of the best for the infantry.”