The U.S. Army will drop its hand grenade competency requirement for graduation from basic training because getting recruits to pass it is taking “too much time” and they’re just not strong enough, Major General Malcolm Frost told reporters on Friday.
Changes to the Army’s Basic Combat Training (BTC) will eliminate the current hand grenade proficiency standards as a requirement for graduation, Military.com reports:
“The new BCT does, however, do away with hand grenade qualification and land navigation course qualification as graduation requirements.”
Discussing the change with reporters, Maj. Gen. Frost explained that training recruits to pass the current requirement was taking too much time:
"What we have found is it is taking far, far too much time. It's taking three to four times as much time ... just to qualify folks on the hand grenade course than we had designated so what is happening is it is taking away from other aspects of training.”
Plus, trainees just aren’t strong enough to throw the grenade far enough away – and simply can’t be taught to properly throw a grenade “if they haven’t thrown growing up” – Maj. Gen. Frost explained:
"We are finding that there are a large number of trainees that come in that quite frankly just physically don't have the capacity to throw a hand grenade 20 to 25 to 30 meters. In 10 weeks, we are on a 48-hour period; you are just not going to be able to teach someone how to throw if they haven't thrown growing up."
Still, the amount of grenade training won’t be reduced – developing enough proficiency to meet the current standards just won’t be required - Maj. Gen. Frost said:
"Just because we took it off as a graduation requirement does not mean they won't be conducting hand grenade or land navigation training."
“They are going to learn all the technical aspects of the hand grenade, and they are going to learn tactical employment and they will throw a live hand grenade.”
As Army Times reports, in order to save time trying to teach trainees to meet requirements, hand grenade training will be blended into other exercises:
“Rather than spend time getting soldiers through the hand grenade and land navigation qualification courses in order to graduate basic, those skills will be incorporated into three new field training exercises, dubbed Hammer, Anvil and Forge.”