How to Effectively Wear Your PT Belt
A battle buddy and I had the opportunity to wear civilian clothes today, and for whatever random reason she stopped to ask if she should be wearing her PT belt. I blithely asked, “Why? It’s 8AM and there is sufficient daylight. What do you need a PT belt for?” She was concerned that there might be a regulation that required the wear of PT belts when it civilian clothes. Yes, we both underwent the same briefing when we arrived here, but I could not seem to remember that little bit. As with every military installation I have ever been on since I was a child, this installation requires the wearing of PT belts when in the PT uniform and also with the ACU after dark.
We talked it over for a few minutes and we both decided that it was completely illogical to wear a PT belt in broad daylight simply because we were in civilian clothes. We seemed to let the matter drop but a few seconds later we realised, “Wait a minute, this is the army. We can’t just disregard the completely illogical because the completely illogical is probably Army doctrine.”
Let us examine this further.
The PT belt (or in layman’s terms, the reflective belt) is always worn with the army physical fitness uniform (APFU), and not just when you are conducting PT. If you are wearing your APFU and walking to the chow hall at high noon the PT belt will provide added protection in case broad daylight is not enough. Also, you might randomly begin to conduct PT and then you would be wrong because you do not have your PT belt on. Everyone knows you cannot conduct PT without a PT belt; it is an essential part of the process.
The PT belt is particularly effective when PT is conducted in a formation, especially a company run. Even though the company run is already holding up traffic and everyone can see soldiers running en masse down the middle of the street, the myriad PT belts will provide a glaring reminder as to why all drivers stuck behind the formation will be late to their own formations.
The PT belt makes perfect sense if you are a lone runner on a busy road way during daylight hours. Drivers may not be able to see you, even though an hour later when you are in ACUs and walking that very same route on your way to work, they suddenly can see you, even though you do not have a PT belt on since the PT belt is not required during daylight while wearing ACUs. It is more difficult to spot a runner who is not wearing his PT belt than it is to spot a walker wearing a uniform designed to make him less visible. The fact that the stenciled letters on the APFU are also reflective is not important. The PT belt is added protection against all dangers.
In fact, you do not have to worry about anything if you are wearing your PT belt correctly. You can run heedlessly in the middle of the street or in dimly lit areas at night. You are free to conduct PT mindlessly as long as you have your PT belt on. Its reflective powers should ward off all dangers even if you are in a high traffic area.
The belt is most effective at night when there is absolutely no light, natural or artificial. Forget about the fact that reflective material only reflects light. Wearing the PT belt at night is required on most Army installations and therefore it is deemed to be effective, even if you are in a location where there is no possibility you could be hit by anything.
Other helpful hints:
If wearing the PT belt over the shoulder, wear it to the right. Wearing it to the left has been scientifically proven to be less effective.
Wear the PT belt with civilian clothes at all times, otherwise no one will be able to see you.
Wear the PT belt inside the gym.
To avoid wearing the PT belt, conduct PT while wearing ACUs, just not at night.
Only U.S. soldiers should concern themselves with these rules, not contractors or civilians working on Army installations. Since Sam does not have a vested interest in contractors and civilians they are expendable.
If you have never understood the purpose of the PT belt, I hope this had shed some light (no pun intended). Remember that the Army is not necessarily concerned about common sense, but your safety is paramount. The top generals in the Army have spent numerous taxpayer dollars on Powerpoint presentations discussing the finer points of soldier safety. After several committees, huddles and briefings the PT belt was determined to be the solution. It was designed with your safety in mind. Wear it with pride.