“Were you born a fat, slimy, scumbag puke piece o’ shit, Private Pyle,
or did you have to work on it?”

During the past decade, the U.S. Army has faced what it regards as a serious internal threat: young recruits entering in terrible shape.

In a radical shift, the Army is overhauling the way it trains, cares for and feeds new soldiers. So, as fad workouts increasingly borrow Army terms like “boot camp,” actual basic training is starting to look a bit like a new-age fitness camp — but with harsh words, severe haircuts and firearms. […] Many of the freezing future soldiers, in gray sweats, caps and gloves, are struggling to do a few pull-ups.

A decade ago, the Army started to notice that new recruits were, in general, getting weaker. […] The Army’s problem, Stone and others say, is that most current enlistees grew up on the couch, playing video games, rather than horsing around outside. And public schools have cut gym classes.
Palkoska has completely revamped basic training at all posts, starting with, well, the basics: stretching and holding; mastering simple, precise movements. Soon, athletic trainers and physical therapists will join these workouts at Fort Leonard Wood to help soldiers avoid injuries and to quickly treat those that occur.

“I saw a lot of folks saying that we had gone to yoga and Pilates,” says Mark Hertling, the three-star general in charge of initial military training for the entire Army. “And I’m saying, ‘Where the hell did they get that?’ It’s all about functional fitness, and using the body the way it might have to be used in a tactical situation.”

  1. Somebody says:

    #9 Wait.

    Let me read that again.

    This time with “Like a Rock” playing in the background.

  2. Floyd says:

    #31: I worked with officers and enlisted in the Chemical Corps. I was the guy that ran Corps recruits through the Gas Chamber. Some Chem Corps troops and officers were smart people, some weren’t. Our job was to train them in case the Russians got desperate and used chemical weapons. Never had that issue, fortunately.

  3. Harry says:

    I think Governor Rendell summed it up pretty well.

  4. O'Really says:

    As a current active duty Soldier in the US Army, I’m looking forward to the improved PT program that will incorporate more things like CrossFit into training rather than the standard triangle of long(ish) sustained but slow runs, push-ups and sit-ups.

    As for our force getting fat, I see it everyday as new Soldiers come to my unit straight from BCT and AIT. The benefit is that most are pretty smart and can think for themselves and they want to improve their fitness.

  5. msbpodcast says:

    AnimalMother you know it. I’m too friggin’ old.

    JCD is about my age. (Okay, he might be a few months older… 🙂

    The hardest part is not starting every sentence with “I remember when …”, cause I DO.

  6. Glenn E. says:

    I believe that it was the Military Industrial Complex that created its own problem. Avoiding the extreme unpopularity of a draft. The MIC (made up of the DoD, Congress, and many defense contractors) set out to vastly reduce the alternative economic futures of school children. Their recruitment fodder. So the US school system was increasingly under-funded, to accomplish this. Only the wealthy could afford better private schooling and then college. Reduced public school budgets also resulted in unhealthy school lunches. Many contracted out to the junk food and processed foods industry. Who are also likely part of the MIC. Not realizing the consequences of their shortsighted planning. The average school child’s waist line ballooned. And cutting back on basic physical education, not Football or Baseball related, also increased the problem. The MIC finally began to notice when all it could get its hands on, fresh out of High Schools, was a bunch of fatties!

    That’s when you started hearing Arnold S. promoting the President’s Youth Fitness Program. B-S! It was the MIC Youth Fitness Recovery Program. Apparently just seed funding the development of FPS games wasn’t enough to prepare these kids for war. And so the MIC is faced with a dilemma. Restore sufficient funding to America’s public schools, so they can eat better, and exercise more, without being seen coming right out and dictating diet and exercise guidelines that schools MUST FOLLOW! And risk some of that funding also going toward better grades, that will lead to some other job future than military service.

    It will be very interesting to see how they craft these guidelines covertly, into school policy. And manage to avoid collateral educational spending, so nobody notices that Big Brother MIC is at work. After all, such dietary guidelines are supposed to come from the Dept. of Agriculture, and not the DoD. But I’m sure the DoD can set up an office in DOA, just for that hidden purpose.

  7. Glenn E. says:

    BTW, new idea of a military propaganda slogan. “Fat Hips, Sinks Ships”.

  8. Glenn E. says:

    Years ago, when I was miserable in military service, making a miserable paycheck, and wanting to get back to the real world of civilian life. I heard about someone who was being discharged for flunking the “Fat Boy” physical health program. And thought, “Damn, why didn’t I think of that?” But I only had about a year left, so it wouldn’t have been worth the effort to fatten up to get out a few month early. They make sure you don’t hear about these things, too soon to put them to any use. I probably also could have declared myself Gay, and watched what happened. But it wouldn’t have surprised me if the service kept a few gays on staff, just to test your claim.

    What I’d like to know is, are fat boys and gays discharged “Dishonorably”, or “Less Than” honorably, just because the service can’t deal with them in their physical or mental state. And do civilian employers still really care about that crap any more? I guess if they have defense contracts, they do. Which seems like blacklisting to me. Why should anyone who just couldn’t cut it, in military service, be further punished with fewer civilian job opportunities?

    That’s like saying, “You were bad at following orders to kill people”. So now we’re going to see that you never get a good paying job, not screwing people.” But there’s always crime, right? Nice way to F-over our society, in the name of protecting the military’s interests.

  9. nobody says:

    > But it wouldn’t have surprised me if the service kept a few gays on staff, just to test your claim.

    You didn’t have to be Gay under don’t ask don’t tell – you just had to ‘tell’.

    When first introduced one of the airlines (United?) went on a recruiting drive in the airforce. If you had a number of years left all you had to do was tell your C/O you were a fan of musical theatre, collect your United signing bonus the next day and be screwing stewardesses as a 747 captain by the end of the week.

  10. Rick Cain says:

    The Soviets had the same problem. They started off with the lofty goal of having free gymnasiums for all citizens, but after propaganda concerns kicked in they were only used for elite athletes so they can show the rest of the world how great the USSR was.
    In the meantime the rest of the Soviet population was drunk and out of shape.


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