Army ROTC named No. 1 in the country in physical fitness for 2nd year in a row


Courtesy of Lieutenant Colonel Richard Smith

Amanda Veen- GAFPB- this is from last weekend’s German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (GAFPB) testing.  Amanda Veen is doing the Flexed Arm Hang.

Mackensie Moore

The ISU Army ROTC program once again has been named No. 1 in the U.S. in physical fitness. The program has, for the second year in a row, achieved the highest average in the nation on the Army Physical Fitness Test.

“Anything that is consistent year after year is hard,” said Lt. Col. Richard Smith, professor and chairman of military science. “I think that the program we have in place sets our cadets up for success.”

When Army ROTC members finish their third year, they participate in a camp over the summer. This camp is known as the Leadership Development Assessment Course. 

The course works as a stepping stone for their future positions in the Army, determining branches and ranking systems for cadets wanting a career with the army. It consists of leadership development tests and a fitness test.

The physical fitness portion of the assessment course the cadets on how many sit-ups they can do in two minutes, how many push-ups in two minutes and how quickly they can run 2 miles.

The standards for age groups are set with a possible score of 100.

While there is a maximum score of 300, cadets can go above this by exceeding the set standards.

During the summer, 27 ISU juniors took the test. Competing against 274 schools and a total of 5,909 cadets, Iowa State’s average score was 292.4, 19.4 points higher than the cadet command average for the nation of 273.

Smith said the only reason the program is so successful is because of the cadets’ dedication.

“It’s about the entire program being successful,” Smith said. “They all want to be a part of the program, to win and to be No. 1.”

Iowa State’s cadets prepare for the assessment course throughout the year with their own physical fitness test. Also every morning, cadets participate in an army physical readiness course, also open to non-ROTC students, consisting of morning runs and a variety of different workouts.

Many cadets also take part in extra training outside of the program’s physical training.

“Our kids are good but they work hard for it,” Smith said.

Xavier Bou, senior in marketing and a cadet captain, scored the highest score for his class, 378 points, on the fitness test and attributes this to the program and the motivation of his fellow cadets.

“I’m very proud of our class; our class pushes each other all the time so that we never get stuck,” Bou said. “We worked really hard to get where we are today and we will continue to train our younger cadets to hold that standard.”