Fort Stewart soldiers participate in Physical Demand Study - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Fort Stewart soldiers participate in Physical Demand Study

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FORT STEWART (WTOC) -

Soliders at Fort Stewart are participating in a special physical demands study that started Tuesday.

The goal of the study is to determine a fitness capacity standard required for certain combat roles.

This is particularly relevant as combat roles become available to women.

They aren't trying to raise standards or lower them. The purpose is truly to find out what a soldier's physical capabiltiy must be to perform these types of combat  positions. 

"The training so far has been going great," said Capt. Jamal Khan. "For the first time, for a lot of these infantry men, working with female soldiers and they've been working great. And the team cohesion has been outstanding. They're working hard. And loving the training so far."

It is a five week study involving about 160 male and female soldiers who volunteered to participate and learn a variety of different infantry tasks, like firing a mortar and mounting a .50 cal. machine gun reciever on a tank.

There are about 20 tasks in all, and these soldiers will practice and master these tasks and evenutally be scientifically tested on them.

The data generated will go into creating a gender-neutral guideline for the physical demands required for the various combat roles. So far the study has had a lot of success.

Second Lt. Wendy Almengor is normally a military intellegence officer, but for the next five weeks, she is one of the woman participating in the study. She is putting her endurance to the test in jobs usually done by men only.

"I didn't expect the tanks inside to be so small. I just didn't expect how much work is put into what these guys do in their jobs," she said. "Its very tiring, a lot of the things are heavy. It's a lot of physical demand on the body and just the job overall its very tiring.

As women become candidates for these roles, the guideline will help the Army better place soldiers to jobs suitable to them.

"I think you've got to have some objective ways of saying yes or no to whether some of these MOS's can be opened up to a female soldier and to the physical part of it," said Maj. Gen. John Murray. "Until you actually establish some objectively what the demands are, what the standards are physically, you really don't have an argument to stand on to say yes or no, this should or should not be opened up."

The test will be conducted at the beginning of March, but there is still no exact date on when these types of positions will be open to women, but the rough time frame is at least four to five years from now.

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