Monday, February 20, 2012

T.R and the precusor to the P.R.T. from the OTR series Mr. President

A story about T.R and the precusor to the P.R.T. from the OTR series Mr. President. This episode covers the event described below (excerpt taken from "The Grog Ration," a publication of the Society for the History of Navy Medicinie):

"Shortly before leaving the White House following his second term, Roosevelt, a former Assistant Secretary of the Navy, considered adopting an annual physical test to determine the fitness of Navy officers. The Army already had such a test in which officers of the rank of major and above, except for major generals, were required annually to walk 50 miles or ride 100 miles in 3 consecutive days. After much discussion, the Bureau of Navigation drafted instructions for such a test and submitted them to the President. Roosevelt then sought the counsel of his White House physician and friend, Surgeon General of the Navy Presley M. Rixey. Dr. Rixey, an avid riding companion of the president, decided to do the Army one better. He told Roosevelt he would ride the 100 miles in 1 day rather than 3. Never one to miss an opportunity to test his physical mettle,Roosevelt said he would go along. One can almost hear the Chief Executive exclaiming, “A bully idea!,” "

What happened on the trip? Listen to the episode to find out!

Happy Presidents Day!

Listen HERE

Late in his presidency, Roosevelt imposed a fitness test for both army and navy officers to guard against physical decay. The president demanded that army officers annually travel a total of ninety miles during the course of three successive days under conditions of a forced march, which meant alternately riding and leading a mount at a jog. Naval officers faced a yearly walk of fifty miles over three days and one reported that officers lost toenails, developed severe blisters, and suffered other afflictions during the first tests (Sims 1908d, 1916).(17) Beyond discomfort, officers resented the arbitrary nature of the standards, which made no allowances for age or for differences in climate, especially for those individuals serving in the tropicstropics, also called tropical zone or torrid zone, all the land and water of the earth situated between the Tropic of Cancer at lat. 23 1-2°N and the Tropic of Capricorn at lat. 23 1-2°S.

Many viewed the requirement simply as a brief annual hurdle, and thus it did little to inspire a regular regimen of physical conditioning. Nor did it weed out the physically unfit; the Army and Navy Journal of June 26, 1909, reported that the test had not yet caused a single officer to retire from the navy (Sims 1908c; Army and Navy Journal June 26, 1909, 1223). Nonetheless, the navy reduced the of the tests in 1911 and eventually dropped them altogether. The army test lasted until 1917, when the demands of World War I compelled its abandonment (Sims 1908d; Army and Navy Journal June 2, 1917, 1304).

More on TR and the military HERE

and HERE