Army making fitness requirements more grueling

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FARMINGDALE -

U.S. Army recruits will soon be put through a more grueling and complex fitness examination before graduation from basic training.

In addition to the usual pull-ups, push-ups and running, there will now be more taxing parts of the exam with weights and medicine balls. And now all recruits will have to meet the same requirements, regardless of age or gender.

Some Long Islanders who are retired from the armed forces think the new fitness test is a good idea for the both the Army and its troops.

"I think there has to be that combat readiness -- always," says retired Air Force Col. Michael Canders.

Canders had been stationed in Iraq and worked alongside the Army for a majority of that time.

"I'm very big on establishing the same standards, gender-neutral standards and age-neutral standards, because at any given time they might have to perform to those standards," he says.

But some think men and women should not be held to the same physical standards.

"Women should be women, men should be men," says Debra Outlaw, of Farmingdale. She adds that the new requirement would discourage women from joining the Army.

Joseph Cottone, also of Farmingdale, says a tougher test isn't needed with "the best fighting force in the world."

The new physical exam is still being finalized. It's expected to be implemented in October 2020.

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