A total of 337 battalion commanders undergo a physical performance test at the army’s sports stadium in Bangkok. Officers are required to do press-ups, sit-ups and a 2-km run. (Photo and video by Patipat Janthong)
Battalion commanders looking to be promoted or transferred in the upcoming annual reshuffle will be measured by the results of Friday’s fitness contest, army commander Chalermchai Sitthisad says.
The army chief was speaking while observing 337 battalion commanders undergo a physical fitness test yesterday morning at the army’s sports stadium.
The test is a three-event physical performance test assessing endurance and strength and part of the army’s “Smart Man” push to raise the fitness of the army. The participants did push-ups, sit-ups and a 2-km run, after which they will be given a score.
For combat personnel, the pass mark is 70%, for officers at activity support and development units, 55%. Those from other units must receive a score of 50 to pass the test.
Of the 337 senior officers taking part in the test, 36 men passed the test with full marks. In the previous year’s test, only 25 out of 354 senior army officers passed their physical fitness tests with full marks.
Gen Chalermchai on Friday voiced satisfaction with the result, saying it indicated army personnel had started taking care of their health.
The army chief expected the number of men getting the perfect score to increase to 45 in the next round of the test.
He also handed out 10,000 baht in cash to those who pass the test with full marks.
“I’m using my experience as a battalion commander to manage the army. A battalion commander is a key position in the army and there are over 300 positions.
“If these commanders are physically fit and can lead by example, they and their subordinates will achieve their mission,” he said.
Third Army commander Lt Gen Wichak Siribansop was full of smiles yesterday, saying out of the 36 men who passed with flying colours, 12 were from the 3rd Army.
Gen Chalermchai said he is also required to undergo the physical fitness test on Aug 17 along with the rest of the force including army generals.
Early in the day, a group of 69 senior army officers, who are regiment commanders, took an English proficiency test, the first of its kind, at the army’s headquarters.
Gen Chalermchai said the English exam, which tested their reading, comprehension and listening skills, is geared to motivate army officers to improve their skills, though the result will not have a bearing on their transfer or promotion.
He said it is possible that minimum standards will be set in future tests.