Soldier revolutionizes Army fitness standards

By Blair Dupre, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs on April 12, 2024

There are many phrases that can describe Sgt. 1st Class Latoya Greene, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, III Armored Corps, but "out of shape" is not among them.

Greene is the very definition of a fitness enthusiast. She is up and working out in the gym at 4 a.m. most mornings and has participated in challenging physical events, including one of the Strongest Competitions hosted at Fort Cavazos, where she has pulled a vehicle weighing 5,600 pounds.

Despite this, she has been "taped" her entire career. The tape-test is used when a soldier's body weight does not fall within the body mass index screening table.

Greene knew there needed to be a change, but she put up with it until a little more than three years ago when a 19-year-old female soldier reached out to her for help in passing the deadlift portion of the Army Combat Fitness Test.

"When we first came out with the ACFT and they incorporated the deadlift ... they were going by MOS (Military Occupational Specialty)," she said. "We have females now that are in combat MOS's, so they have to be physically stronger. (The female soldier) came to me because I was always strong and she was like, ‘I need to pass the deadlift because I'm not that strong.' So she was coming to the gym with me at four o'clock in the morning. She finally passed the ACFT, but she failed tape. At that point, you could fail the PT (physical training) test and still stay in the Army, but if you fail tape, you get kicked out."

At the time, when the tape-test was conducted on a woman, they were measured at their neck, the smallest part of their waist and the largest part of their buttocks. Greene said the soldier she had helped to pass the ACFT was naturally curvy.

"She told me that she was going to go on a juice cleanse (to pass the tape test)," Greene said. "Now, that hurt my heart because she was 19. That's how you get eating disorders. That's how you get body dysmorphia."

Greene was moved to take action.

"The point of being in the military is to make changes," she said. "You can't say that you love the Army, and you don't try to make it better. My goal was to make it better for those soldiers coming behind me."

She started a petition on and shared it on her social media platforms.

"I put my face on it, my body on it," she said. "It blew up. To talk about my struggles and what I've been through - it was tough. Surprisingly, a lot of people were going through the same thing, but we all just chose to suffer in silence. It made me passionate because we have to do something for the next generation of soldiers because that's what we're here for."

Within the first day, the petition garnered more than 15,000 signatures.

"It just spread like wildfire," she said. "I started reading the comments. There were a lot of veterans who've dealt with body dysmorphia, and they still deal with it to this day because of the way the Army taped them. ... It was just heartbreaking."

Just as Greene was preparing to make a permanent change of station move to South Korea, in 2021, the Army announced that a body composition study was going to be conducted at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, so she decided to spend her PCS leave there to help the study be successful. She used her social media skills to bring out the volunteers that the researchers needed, and she also volunteered to be a part of the study.

When Greene's Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry scan, or DEXA scan, was compared to her results from manual taping, the traditional taping method was 2 to 3% off.

"That matters," she said.

Now change has already been set in motion. If a soldier's MOS requires an ACFT score of more than 540 or above, that soldier is not required to be taped. And if a soldier is taped now, they are only measured around their abdomen no matter their gender. If a soldier fails that tape test, they can go to the Fort Cavazos Armed Forces Wellness Center and test in the BOD POD GS-X, which is considered the gold standard of body composition testing.

"They've done an awesome job of fixing it and making it fair to everyone," Greene said.

Last month, during Women's History Month, Greene was inducted into the Army Women's Foundation Hall of Fame, and received the organization's Champion award, due to her efforts in changing the narrative when it comes to the Army's body and fitness regulations.

"It was so amazing," she said of the ceremony conducted at the Army Women's History Museum in Arlington, Virginia. "I was the only sergeant first class. It was all generals and (chief warrant officer fives)."

She said the experience showed her that the Army is still progressing and was good to see the changes that have been made, are being made and will be made.

"A lot of times you're in a uniform and you're working, but you don't understand how far you've actually come," she said. "We're still having firsts of women in 2024 in the military, so it hasn't been that many years, but a lot of times we don't think about how far we've actually come and those people that are still out there fighting. For me, it was a blessing to be named with so many women but also to see that we're still working. We're still fighting. We've come a long way, but we've got a long way to go."

Now that the change she desired has come to fruition, Greene said she is ready for retirement. She looks back throughout the time since posting the petition and knows she overcame obstacles and adversity because she was doing the right thing for future generations of soldiers.

"I wasn't expecting any recognition," she said. "I did it because it was the right thing to do and that's what noncommissioned officers do. I see soldiers, I see people, I see subordinates who are inspired, and that's what it's about for me. My focus is never on those who look down on me but those who look up to me. I was always focused on (doing my job), which was being a steward of the profession and leaving this Army better than how I found it. I know I did that."