Soldier Is First to Achieve Perfect Score on New Army Fitness Test

Maj. Timothy Cox throws medicine balls during a morning physical training session in the 22nd Chemical Battalion holistic health and fitness training facility to practice for the Army Combat Fitness Test. (U.S. Army photo/Shawn Casey)
Stars and Stripes | By John Vandiver

A Texas-based soldier is the first to ace the Army's new fitness test, recording the first perfect score on the exercise program that will soon be rolled out servicewide.

Maj. Timothy Cox, who serves with the 22nd Chemical Battalion at Fort Bliss, scored a 600 on the Army Combat Fitness Test.

"There is going to be a culture change in the Army," Cox said in an Army statement about the implications of the new test. "I think it has been a long time coming and I am excited."

Cox first took the ACFT in December and registered a near-perfect 587. At the time, he set a goal to hit the 600 mark.

He boosted his score in subsequent tests before finally posting a 600 score in mid-July, the statement said.

His effort bested a previous record set in June by Spc. Ryan Sowder of the Kentucky National Guard, who scored a 597.

The ACFT will replace the Army Physical Fitness Test. It's been in the works for several years, with select units testing exercises intended to better measure for the kind of fitness required in combat.

The new test puts greater emphasis on strength exercises and includes deadlifts, standing power throws, hand-release pushups, sprint-drag-carry drills, leg tucks and a 2-mile run. The current fitness test only requires pushups, situps and a 2-mile run.

In October, soldiers will begin taking two trial tests six months apart. The results won't count, but by fall 2020 it will become the Army's official test of record.

Cox said the new test demands building up leg and core strength as well as a powerful grip.

"Embrace the change, because like it or not, it's coming," Cox said.