The World War II-era Obstacle Course was part of the Army's effort to physically train and prepare recruits for the rigors of combat. The Army's physical training regimen consisted of different activities including military drill, calisthenics marching, rifle exercises, swimming, personal contests and group athletics. The Obstacle Course was the primary method for developing a recruit's abilities in running, jumping and climbing.
An Instructor would demonstrate the correct method for overcoming one obstacle. The unit would practice the obstacle 3 or 4 times, and then run 100 yards. This process was repeated each day on a different obstacle until all the obstacles on the course were covered. Once the unit had received training on all the obstacles, the Soldiers would run the full course. As they developed proficiency, the soldiers would run the course against time, and eventually carry equipment through the course including rifles and light packs.
In a memoir held by the U.S. Army Military History Institute Charles E. Bennett as a Sergeant with the Reconnaissance Platoon, 82nd Infantry Division (82nd Airborne Division) during World War II:
"Once in a while on the obstacle course I was heartened to see our commanding general, Omar Bradley, and his assistant and successor, Gen. Matthew Ridgeway, take the course in their