Let’s face it, the Army cracks down on standards when downsizing and lets a lot slide when it needs every able-bodied soldier it can get.
Now that it is downsizing again, it has suddenly come to the Army’s attention that soldiers have packed on a few pounds. This at least seems to be the case on Fort Stewart.
I know this firsthand because my husband was flagged for his weight in October. When he came back from Iraq, he was in excellent shape. Then I got pregnant, and he put on some sympathy weight. That’s actually not totally accurate — the weight added in muscle mass migrated to his love handles due to less time in the gym and more time helping me, not to mention long work days with little physical training.
He acknowledged the change and adjusted accordingly, putting in more time at the gym when he could and running. But while still working 12-hour days, plus commute time, with still no PT, the additional time at the gym meant very little family time before he had to go to bed to be up and ready for the next day. I’m talking about an hour or maybe two hours, here.
Recently the Army put him on the overweight program. It was looking like he was going to be chaptered out completely, and we were already browsing civilian jobs and schools.
Because meeting weight standards alone is nearly impossible for my husband’s build, he has almost always relied on tape standards to show that he’s physically fit enough for the military. The method used for meeting these standards is simply done by measuring height, waist and neck.
That method can be terribly inaccurate. My husband does not have thick neck muscles. He carries his muscle in his arms and chest. His height has varied upon measurements, both up and down. For the record, he has neither shrunk nor grown since he joined the military. His waist measurement varies day to day, as most people’s do, depending on supper the night before.
I, of course, think fitness standards are necessary for the military, but I think these standards could be improved. After a week where they had PT at work three whole times, he met standards and his flag was dropped. Just like that, all the worries and plans for our future went away and we’re back in the Army swing, waiting for the Afghanistan deployment. All because he lost an inch on his waist.