He said he "never felt out of fighting shape," recently finishing the San Diego Marathon with an impressive time of four hours and 22 minutes.
He made it his mission to change the Marine Corp tape test to help others in his position keep their jobs.
The FM originated as a way to enforce standards across units and ensure soldiers are at "an optimum level of individual readiness" (AR 600-9, 3).
The Army program requires soldiers to meet a prescribed body fat level, indicated in the table below, dependent on gender, height, and age. If those numbers do not fall in the respective guidelines, a method called 'taping' is used to further determine body fat.
Staff Sergeant Smith's case was an extreme one, however there are some positives that come along with doing the tape test.
When you are faced with the task of finding the body fat of 100 soldiers, it is the cheapest and easiest way. Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, the creator of the Army’s Soldier Athlete program, who also has a master’s degree in exercise physiology, said "maybe one out of 100 might have a good argument.These soldiers may exemplify all the characteristics of a good soldier and be an excellent addition to any company or platoon.They may to be able to run faster or jump higher than other soldiers, but if they are not meeting these standards, they run the risk of being dismissed from the Army all together. A reason for this is that the taping method has been proved widely inaccurate. Jordan Moon, the director of the Sports Science Center Research Institute in Denver, "it doesn’t account for muscle, it just accounts for size.” This puts muscular soldiers at a large disadvantage.Finally, for females, a hip measurement is taken over the widest part of the soldiers hips.Three measurements of each step are taken and averaged together.And that's just a guess, but we shouldn't change the entire system for one out of 100." Making changes to a more in-depth taping method could overwhelm the military's control of the program. Soldiers in all branches of the United States Military are faced with BCP-related problems that affect their daily life, job, and service to their country.They are forced into this mindset that losing weight will make them a better soldier, when that isn't always the case.They should have everything they need in order to achieve success.The problem, however, lies with the people that aren't actually overweight, but still do not meet weight standards.I was fortunate enough to interview an anonymous Army ROTC cadet who was repeatedly subjected to the tape test during her three years in the program. Every time I am in that room, with my shirt pulled up and the tape wrapped around my waist, my sergeant sitting in the corner, saying 'I swear it will be the last time.' But it never is."She went on to say that, "The worst part is that they know this isn't the best method.They know I contribute so much more to this program than a number will ever be able to say.