Behind the Cover: muscular Marines vs. the tape test


The tape test is the only DOD-approved method of measuring body fat for members of the military.

But some say it is inexact (which the Marine Corps acknowledges) and that it is unfair to large Marines who have an excellent appearance but run the risk of ending up in the body composition program for exceeding height and weight standards for their age groups.

This week’s cover discusses this issue through the case of Sgt. Joshua Legier, 28, who at 6-feet 3-inches tall and 246 pounds exceeds his weight limit for his height.

He got even bigger when he was on deployment in Afghanistan last year and barely made the tape test when he got back.

Also in this week’s issue:   the equipment YOU and your buddies helped identify for use by individual infantrymen and what the Marine Corps is buying next at your suggestion.

And, read a special report on 10 troops who should have gotten the Medal of Honor for what they did in the war zone — including three Marines.


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  1. Bill - Former SSGT of Marines on

    Anytime you have a new CMC or SgtMajMC there is ALWAYS the possibilities (or probabilities) of new “policies”. Along the lines of sleeves down, this is something that must be considered as well. For my height, HQMC said I need to weigh a MAX of 186lbs. When I graduated bootcamp in ’85 at 210lbs, this became an issue that I learned to deal with. Every six months, I had to appear before the Battalion Commander for my “alternate” weight standard.

    The infamous “tape” at sick bay, a 1st class PFT, expert on the range & inspection in Service Alphas, became a ritual. In fact, to the point where one LtCol said “Why can’t they understand some Marines are built like a brick S—HOUSE”?!? One must have faith that the “powers that be” do take into consideration that not everyone fits the “skinny” mold that they came out of. This was proven to me, by my selection to SSGT.

    Take into consideration the quote by RAdm. “Jay” R. Stark when on 10 Nov 1995 he said “Marines I see as two breeds, Rotweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They’re aggresive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They’ve got really short hair and they ALWAYS go for the throat”

    Do you job. Follow the procedures of those provided for you. Continue to strive for excellence and you will be rewarded. Who knows, maybe one day Sgt. Legeir will be the SgtMaj of the Marine Corps, and weight training/standards will change again!

    Until then, Semper Fi!

  2. I dont understand how this even an issue. Discipline is defined as “the instant, willing obedience to all orders.” Is not the Appearnace Standards of the Marine Corps an order? Has it not been vetted from up on high and passed down through the chain to lowliest Private? I am just wondering exactly when the Marine Corps went to a “the instant, willing obedience to orders that I think pertains to me and I will complain about all the other ones” mentality. I have Marines that do not currently fit within these standards, but with the exception of one, they do not complain. (The one being a Marine that has a diagnosed medical condition that was brought about by a medical procedure, but you can bet that Marine is PT like crazy to get back within standards.) The others understand what is expected of them and are held to that standard. The Marine Corps is not some loving mother that will cradle and baby you whenever you think that something is unfair. The Marine Corps is hard and cruel with demanding standards because we are expected to do a hard and cruel job and the thing that binds it all together is Discipline!

  3. In reference to “SSgt” reply, this is probably coming from some guy with a metabolism that dwarf’s that of a 10 year old child. Orders are made and we enforce them…However we do have a right to speak up to our chain of command in order to attempt to change those orders that we don’t feel are fair. It’s a proven fact that white males body structure is different from that of an African American person. Proven! Read about it. Am I saying that white dudes should be able to get fat? No. Not at all. But putting a “standard” that doesn’t take into account genetics is an ignorant decision probably influenced by an ignorant person or group of people. I know a guy that ran a sub 18 PFT and was able to drag a humvee but was placed on this outstanding BCP program of ours for being 1 percent out of this standard your on here running your mouth about. I’ll put 500 dollars that says that you can’t do it. A professional fitness instructor called our standards out of date. Unfortunately, a guy like him wasn’t able to influence our CMC to adjust the standard. Until then I will strive to make the standard set before me and I will push my Marines to make that standard as well. And behind the scenes, I will attempt to talk to those in a position to influence a better standard such as: If a Marine runs a 275 then he/she is allowed to be 22% vice the old standard of 1st class gets 22%. Because you can bet your butt that if he runs a 275, he is PTing harder than most of those skinny Marines that make the standard naturally. Or hell, lets kick them out of the Corps because they are Samoan and not built right for today’s Corps!?

  4. Pingback: Battle Rattle - A Marine Corps Times Blog – 'Terminal Lance' Tuesdays: Reconnecting with your recruiter

  5. Pingback: Battle Rattle - A Marine Corps Times Blog – ‘Terminal Lance’ Tuesdays: Reconnecting with your recruiter

  6. The marine corps standards are outdated and many other marines before and during my time, are getting criticized all the time for not making weight. I am a good 205 lbs 15% BF on every BF method except the one we use. Im 19% on our scale and i PT and workout 5 days a week and dont drink alcohol or eat fast food or cakes or anything like that. But there are people that i see in the corps that wont PT to save their lives and are just pure skin and bones and those guys get praised.. Its a bunch of bull that someone gets hit for being “Bigger” than your average 10 year old. If I can make the PFT and CFT look like a nothing and you look exceptional in your uniform and dont have lard hanging over your belt, than why hurt his career?

  7. It’s hard for me to keep faith in a system that screams about me being combat effective but fights to put me on weight control at every turn I weigh 225 lbs, and 71 inches and my max is 197. I run a 276 PFT, a 300 CFT. If you are going to tell me that you would rather have some fucker that weighs 140 lbs that is within “standards” that cant even do 20 pull ups, you can have him, I however want nothing to do with your gunclub.

  8. The latest study done by the times proves one thing. That the comment by the SSgt above means that if the MCO says that 1 inch is no longer 1 inch. 1 1/4 inch from here on out will be considered to actually be 1 inch. He would be that guy that goes around telling everyone they have no discipline for talking about the order being incorrect.

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