On Friday, the Army revealed that it is nixing the grenade throwing requirement, where recruits had to show that they could hurl the explosive a minimum of 25 meters, because “a large number of trainees” can’t meet the distance, even lacking the physical ability “to throw a hand grenade 20 to 25 to 30 meters.”
Notice of the change was released on Military.com, in a piece that discussed the overall redesign of the Basic Combat Training (BCT) all new recruits are required to complete.
According to Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, the commanding general of the US Army Center of Initial Military Training, “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 designates, so what is happening it is it taking away from other aspects of training.”
“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,” Frost stated.
“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 grown up throwing.”
Grenade-related training isn’t being eliminated from BCT, so recruits will receive the same amount of training as they did previously.
“Just because we took it off as a graduation requirement does not mean they won’t be conducting hand grenade… training,” Frost stated. “They are going to learn all of the technical aspects of the hand grenade, and they are going to learn tactical employment and they will throw a live hand grenade.”
The blast radius of a grenade, on average, is 15 meters, with a 25-meter throw being considered a necessary distance.
Some have questioned whether the removal of the grenade requirement was an accommodation for female recruits, though the Army has denied those allegations, stating that it is an “incorrect premise” as Army BCT has had the hand grenade requirement for both genders “for several years,” adding in a statement, “This new approach allows the Army to recover valuable time and resources to focus on training on other critical skills.”