The Marine Corps PFT: Not Equal, Not Fair
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
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The Marine Corps physical fitness test PFT is essential in evaluating the total Marine. Being a Marine is an inherently physical vocation, and the example Marines set, morally, mentally, and physically, influences their ability to lead. From senior leadership to the most junior, Marine physical fitness is associated with being a Marine. Through the PFT and its direct link to junior enlisted promotions, the Marine Corps has institutionalized this concept. However, a disconnect exists. Female Marines have a PFT scoring advantage over their male counterparts. This is best illustrated by examining PFT scores from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. In an environment in which females and males undergo almost identical training for a substantial period of time, females do markedly better on the PFT. The current PFT scoring system is outdated, creates inequities between male and female junior enlisted Marines in promotions and billets, and should be updated to alleviate these problems. By updating the PFT scoring tables through a documented, regular, consistent procedure, the Marine Corps can ensure that it evaluates Marines fairly and consistently. By using carefully controlled data the Marine Corps can decrease the variables it cannot control. PFT scoring needs to change the Marine Corps owes it to its Marines.
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