Navy scraps physical assessment test again, citing COVID-19

Navy personnel at Naval Station Everett, Wash., conduct a physical fitness assessment. The autumn assessment was canceled by the Navy to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Photo by MCS Eli K. Buguey/U.S. Navy

July 8 (UPI) — The U.S. Navy’s autumn physical fitness assessment cycle will be suspended to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Navy announced.

A NAVADMIN, or naval administrative message, announced the change on Tuesday, saying that sailors will not take the assessment, normally conducted twice each year, and their military records will indicate that they were “excused” from the test. It is the second consecutive fitness cycle suspended by the Navy because of the pandemic.

The test consists of sit-ups and push-ups and either a 1.5-mile run or a 500-meter swim. It is a standard physical training test used by other branches, and many U.S. law enforcement agencies. “Mock PFAs” will be conducted, with proper social distancing and face masks, for personnel seeking to regain advancement eligibility or retention.

The message advises adherence to a “Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System” in place of the assessment, a five-week conditioning and diet plan “to improve operational readiness and reduce injury.”

The elimination of the assessments is the latest in postponements and cancellations by the U.S. military in its effort to reduce the effects of the virus on personnel and plans. Appearances at summer air shows have been reduced, and San Diego’s Miramar Air Show of military aircraft was canceled. Military honors at funerals were eliminated in May but will resume in July, and the Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship, the future USS Tripoli, will sail from Pascagoula, Miss., without a formal commissioning ceremony scheduled for July 15 in Pensacola, Fla.


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