DVIDS – News – Super Soldiers! Army Combat Fitness Test team primes Alaska Guardsmen for physical fitness excellence


JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — The year is 2020 and with each new month comes a plethora of changes for civilian and military personnel alike. Policies and regulations fresh off the press come with the morning cup of coffee and Soldiers across the country adjust and adapt to meet their mission. Despite this ever-changing landscape, Soldiers can look to one steadfast constant: the Army’s standards for superior combat readiness.

True to the year’s theme, this autumn brings yet another development. This season, Soldiers of the Alaska Army National Guard will find themselves in the first testing cycle of the Army’s newest method for evaluating a Soldier’s combat capability, the Army Combat Fitness Test. For this transition, Soldiers depend on the Alaska Army National Guard’s own Army Combat Fitness Test team, led by Capt. Jessica Miller, the ACFT coordinator. The ACFT team has a total of five members, each with a range of experience in health and fitness. Following in suit, Miller is a registered nurse and Master Fitness Trainer course alum.

“The ACFT is very different from the APFT,” said Miller, referring to the Army Physical Fitness Test which has been completely phased out as of Sept. 30. “Everything from the surface requirements to the equipment involved, the ACFT is a more physically challenging test.”

In an effort to transform the Army’s fitness culture, the ACFT incorporates movements and exercises a Soldier would apply while out in the field. Soldiers will find themselves contending with challenging new tests such as the sprint-drag-carry and standing power throw hand release. The ACFT team has been facilitating and assisting Soldiers for over a year in training for the heightened standards.

“Alaska is unique in that we have several units spread all over the state, many of which are not accessible by road,” Miller explained, “and our team has strategized how to best implement this test to maximize efficiency. Although we’ve made decisions, like identifying testing locations and future construction plans, this test is still evolving and we have to be flexible.”

Instituting changes during the COVID-19 climate has presented the team with some significant obstacles. Training facilities, fitness equipment and education were needed to ensure a successful testing season.

“COVID-19 has brought unique challenges and it has affected almost every aspect of the ACFT implementation,” said Miller. “Safety is of the utmost importance and we have been very thoughtful about how to best ensure our Soldiers are prepared.”

To meet social distancing guidelines, the team organized virtual meetings and workout sessions for Soldiers stationed in the eight locations throughout the state that received the equipment and training required to meet the testing criteria.

State Command Sgt. Maj. James Nyquist, a regular participant in ACFT training, witnessed for himself the team’s efforts to ensure the test’s execution was in accordance with the Army’s new standards for “building physical lethality and mental toughness.”

“The ACFT team has done an outstanding job in facilitating and taking on the projects related to the test,” said Nyquist.

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Outbreak infects 33 inmates at Alaska prison

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — State officials say an outbreak of coronavirus has infected 33 inmates at a prison in Fairbanks, causing the facility to go into quarantine for 14 days. The Alaska Department of Corrections says 32 of the cases at the Fairbanks Correctional Center are men and one is a woman. All of those infected were housed in the general population. Other inmates are being tested for coronavirus, with results expected by Monday. The inmates with coronavirus are being isolated in a separate unit of the prison. The facility serves northern Alaska and has male and female inmates, some of whom are serving sentences and others of whom are awaiting trial.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:


— President Donald Trump is showing new determination to minimize the threat of the virus that has killed more than 215,000 Americans and complicated his chances of re-election.

— Police say a man upset with a mask mandate threatened the mayor of Wichita, Kan.

— Britain’s Space Agency is backing a medical drone delivery service that aims to move virus samples, test kits and protective equipment between hospitals.

— A spike in cases in Europe deals a bitter blow to the economy.

— Rural parts of the American Midwest are seeing a surge in cases and hospitals are struggling to keep up.

— In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of “difficult months” ahead as the nation posted another daily record of new cases Saturday.

— Iran announces its virus death toll has reached 30,000.

— The Dutch royal couple has cut short a Greek vacation after an uproar back home.

— AP PHOTOS: India holds digital fashion week amid pandemic.

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— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

Pennsylvania is reporting 1,857 new COVID-19 cases, the second-highest daily total since the beginning of pandemic, days after officials said the commonwealth was seeing a “fall resurgence” of the coronavirus.

The numbers announced Saturday by the state health department are exceeded only by the 1,989 cases reported April 9 and bring the statewide total to almost 181,000. Nine new deaths were reported, bringing the total number of deaths associated with the virus to 8,466.

On Wednesday, the state’s health secretary pronounced Pennsylvania “at the start of the fall resurgence” of COVID-19 but said there were no plans to reimpose a stay-at-home order or shut down businesses again in response.

Dr. Rachel Levine said Pennsylvania is more prepared for such an influx than it was in the spring, citing a contact tracing program in place, more personal protective equipment supplies and enough hospital beds available.

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The number of

hospitalizations due to the coronavirus remained near a record high in Oklahoma on Saturday while the number of reported cases increased by 1,195 and deaths rose by 14.

Some 792 people were hospitalized, the state Department of Health said Saturday, one fewer than the one-day record of 793 reported Friday. There are

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