Meet the 'Gruseter': New Air Force test will push explosive technicians to their physical limits
Air Force explosive ordnance technicians soon may become painfully familiar with the “Gruseter,” the nickname for a grueling component of the career-specific fitness test being introduced for them.
Earlier this month, 21 EOD airmen from seven bases across the Air Force put the service’s new EOD Tier 2 physical fitness prototype test through a trial run.
The results from the 36-hour assessment will be used to establish a baseline for fitness and strength, Air Force officials said.
The field test at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., was part of an effort to evaluate how well airmen in certain career fields can perform the physical tasks required of their jobs.
The tailored fitness testing is geared toward airmen whose jobs are more physically demanding, such as EOD, tactical air control party operators and air liaison officers.
Unlike the current Tier 1 fitness test, “this will be the new standard for anyone who wants to be an EOD operator regardless of age and gender,” Capt. Cory McCart, EOD flight commander for the 96th Civil Engineer Group at Eglin, said in a statement.
The Gruseter was one of 10 exercises assessed during baseline testing from Sept. 10-12. The drill involved a combination of a pushups, planks, a rollover with a 50-pound sandbag and an over-the-shoulder carry with the sandbag for a 15-meter run for 20 rounds. A 15-meter run without the 50-pound sandbag was also performed between rounds.
“The Gruseter was brutal,” Tech. Sgt. Cole Carroll-Grandegenett of the 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, said in a statement.
The EOD airmen in the pilot test were the ones who coined the nickname for the grueling routine.
The new test is more than an excuse to make airmen sweat.
Carroll-Grandegenett said the Air Force’s Exercise Science Unit found a correlation between an ability to perform the Gruester well, and endurance and energy conservation in the field as EOD operators, according to the Air Force.
The assessment includes tasks that EOD airmen perform on missions.
After the first round of testing, the airmen ruck-marched for an hour to the base’s EOD training complex for the next 30-hour phase of the test, according to the Air Force. There they were put through a series of operational tasks, such as airfield and range clearance and chemical operations.
After that, the airmen completed the physical fitness test for a second time.
Eglin was chosen for the pilot test because of its high heat and humidity, training infrastructure and other factors.
Once the new test and standards are implemented, airmen will be given a year to adapt before the standards are officially enforced, officials said.
The other exercises in the Eglin test included: a 1.5-mile run; a 1,000-meter row; a 20-pound medicine ball toss, overhead and sideways; a grip strength test; a trap-bar deadlift with maximum weight for five repetitions; pullups; cross-knee crunches to a metronome at 56 beats per minute until failure; a farmer’s carry with two 50-pound sandbags (one in each hand) for 100 meters; and a 3-inch square-bar static hold.