November 01, 2005
The profession of soldiering requires a high level of physical fitness. Deficiencies in the physical domain could lead to loss of limb or death on operations, or to the death of a buddy or subordinate. The notion of combat fitness, however, can be difficult to define. Clearly, a soldier requires a wide variety of physical competencies such as strength, power, and endurance, but the vital domain of body control is often overlooked, even though soldiers must be capable of moving their bodies through high-skill tasks while weighted down with equipment and weapons, usually dehydrated, frequently fatigued, and always under stress.
SOLDIER BODY CONTROL DEMANDS
Soldiers require the capacity to pull themselves up or statically hold themselves in a hanging position with the added challenge of wearing gear. To make pulling demands even more difficult, the type of grip available in the field will usually be uneven, slippery, or unstable. Specific examples include pulling on parachute slips; climbing ropes, ladders, and rocks; and mounting armored vehicles. Soldiers conducting operations in urban terrain require such strength and coordination in pulling that they must be able not only to pull themselves up, but to pull so forcefully that they actually propel themselves onto or over an object. Examples of this include the soldier pulling himself into a window, onto a balcony, or over a wall or fence.