Marine Corps Officers’ Physical Fitness
Executive Order No. 989
President Theodore Roosevelt
9 December 1908
1. Officers of the United States Marine Corps, of whatever rank, will be examined physically and undergo the tests herein prescribed at least once in every two years; the time of such examinations to be designated by the Commandant of the Corps so as to interfere as little as possible with their regular duties, and the tests to be carried out in the United States between May first and July first, as the Commandant of the Corps may direct, and on foreign stations between December first and February first.
2. All field officers will be required to take a riding test of ninety miles, this distance to be covered in three days. Physical examinations before and after riding, and the riding tests, to be the same as those prescribed for the United States Army by General Orders, No. 79 (paragraph 3), War Department, May 14, 1908.
3. Line officers of the Marine Corps in the grade of captain or lieutenant will be required to walk fifty miles, this distance to be divided into three days, actual marching time, including rests, twenty hours. In battle, time is essential and ground may have to be covered on the run; if these officers are not equal to the average physical strength of their companies the men will be held back, resulting in unnecessary loss of life and probably defeat: Company officers will, therefore, be required, during one of the marching periods, to double-time two hundred yards, with a half minute’s rest; then three hundred yards, with one minute’s rest; and then complete the test in a two hundred yard dash, making in all seven hundred yards on the double-time, with one and one-half minutes’ rest. The physical examinations before and after the tests to be the same as provided for in paragraph 2 of this order.
4. The Commandant of the Marine Corps will be required to make such of the above tests as the Secretary of the Navy shall direct.
5. Field officers of the permanent staff of the Marine Corps who have arrived at an age and rank which renders it highly improbable that they will ever be assigned to any duty requiring participation in active military operations in the field, may, upon their own application, be excused from the physical test, but not from the physical examination, prescribed above. Such a request, however, if granted, will be regarded by the executive authority as conclusive reason for not selecting the applicant for any future promotion in volunteer rank, or for assignment, selection or promotion to a position involving participation in operations of the line of the Marine Corps, or in competition with officers of the line of the Marine Corps for any position.