Okinawa Marines complete CFT before Thanksgiving

U.S. Marine Corps Jordan M. Knupp, the battalion training noncommissioned officer in charge with Headquarters and Support Battalion, instructs a Marine through the combat fitness test on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 25, 2020. The CFT is an annual requirement and is designed to assess a Marine's physical capacity in a broad spectrum of combat related tasks. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Brennan J. Beauton)
U.S. Marine Corps Jordan M. Knupp, the battalion training noncommissioned officer in charge with Headquarters and Support Battalion, instructs a Marine through the combat fitness test on Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 25, 2020. The CFT is an annual requirement and is designed to assess a Marine's physical capacity in a broad spectrum of combat related tasks. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Brennan J. Beauton)

Okinawa Marines complete CFT before Thanksgiving

Marine Corps Installations Pacific

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- At 5:00 A.M. on the eve of Thanksgiving, more than 100 U.S. Marines with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific - Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, completed their annual Combat Fitness Test.

The CFT is an annual requirement and is designed to assess a Marine's physical capacity in a broad spectrum of combat related tasks. This year’s CFT was conducted a little differently due to COVID-19 guidelines.

U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Christian Hutson, the battalion operations chief with Headquarters and Support Battalion, and a native of Bedford-Iverson, Brooklyn, New York, wanted to remind the Marines of H&S Battalion that for the Staff NCOs and Officers, they only have until November 30th to finish their CFT and the Junior Marines have until December 15th to finish.

Marines all across H&S Battalion are preparing themselves and others to complete the CFT before the deadline.

For example U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Marino Urena, a rifle range block noncommissioned officer with the Fundamental Marksmanship Training Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion, and a native of Bronx, New York, has been preparing his Marines for the CFT.

“We implement some ammo cans and sprints during our workouts,” said Urena. “We always stay prepared for both events [CFT and PFT] so we are never falling behind.”

The CFT consists of three different phases. This morning the Marines of H&S Battalion started off with the movement-to-contact drill, an 880 meter sprint. The movement to contact is conducted in a combat utility uniform minus the blouse. This task is designed to simulate a Marine running as fast as he or she can in a combat zone to relay information, transport ammunition or supplies.

“We usually run everybody all at once,” said Hutson. “This time we're doing it in waves of fifteen Marines in each relay until we finish up the Marines that are here. Masks are not required for the execution of this event.”

The H&S Battalion Marines then moved into two minutes of ammunition-can lifts. This task is designed to simulate lifting ammunition cans up into a vehicle.

“When we do the ammo can lifts, the person counting the ammo cans lifts will wear their mask,” said Hutson. “There will be at least six feet distance away from the observer counting the repetitions and the Marine who is executing.”

They then finished with the maneuver under fire. This consists of buddy drags, fireman’s carry, crawls and obstacles which are timed.

“The person executing the movement will not wear his mask,” explains Hutson. “However, the person that is going to be his buddy will wear his mask. Nothing has really changed. We're just ensuring that we're practicing the proper social distancing and to ensure that no one is coming in and showing COVID-like symptoms.”

It is a Marine’s responsibility to remain ready for any circumstance. The CFT prepares for Marines for those circumstances.

“The maneuver under fire is where you have the body drags and buddy carries,” said Urena. “Say your buddy gets injured, it’s a way to mentally and physically prepare us for what hopefully shouldn't come, but if it does, we'll be ready.”

The events this morning successfully maintained practical COVID-19 safety precautions and the H&S Battalion Marines completed their CFT before a 96-hour Thanksgiving liberty period.

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