As you can see below, the standards for height, weight and body fat percentages vary among the services. There is no set military wide standard for height and weight for admitted military members as well as active duty members.
The military only accepts candidates who fall into a specific height range. This is primarily because the military doesn't have the time or money to order custom-made uniforms and equipment for those who fall outside of the standard ranges. Also shipboard, tanks, and airplane jobs can be particularly difficult if someone exceeds the height standards.
The cause for rejection for Armed Forces male applicants is height less than 60 inches or more than 80 inches. The cause for rejection for Armed Forces female applicants is height less than 58 inches or more than 80 inches. The Marines are more restrictive. For the Marines, height standards for male applicants range from 58 to 78 inches. Height standards for female applicants range from 58 to 72 inches.
The most notable military member who started his military career within the height standards but grew more than six inches in his first 4 years at the Naval Academy was basketball great David Robinson. Robinson started the Naval Academy at 6'7" but in four years he was 7'1" - well over the 80 inches height standard. He finished his time at the Naval Academy, played professional basketball, but served active duty regardless and then continued to serve in the Naval Reserves to fulfill his commitment mainly doing recruitment and Navy promotional campaigns.
The services have both height and weights standards. If you fail the height / weight charts, but pass the body fat standards you are still eligible for service. The height and weight standards do not take into account someone with above average muscle mass on their frame. That makes it difficult for people to meet the height / weight standards even with little fat at all. So people can actually fail the maximum allowed weight for the military for his / her height as long as they are more lean muscle than body fat.
The additional test is a circumference test where body fat is measured by a series of tape measurements around the neck and belly button area. To make the process quicker, if someone simply passes the height and weight standards, they pass the test and do not require additional taping to check to see if they are within body fat standards. It takes extra time and effort to measure body fat, so the services use weight charts to do an initial screening. There are no waivers for exceeding required body fat limits.
Air Force Weight Chart - Male/Female
Army Weight Chart - Males
Army Weight Chart - Females
Navy Weight Chart - Male/Female
Marine Corps Weight Chart - Male
Marine Corps Weight Chart - Female
If the applicant exceeds the weight shown on the above charts, they are measured for body fat. Using a circumference / chart method, which is roughly 3-5% within range of accuracy typically, body fat can be estimated for those members who fail the height weight standards. Body-fat standards for each of the services are
Army: (Accession standards)
- Male 17-30 - 24%
- Male 21-27 - 26%
- Male 28-39 - 28%
- Male 40+ - 30%
- Female 17-30 - 30%
- Female 21-27 - 32%
- Female 28-39 - 34%
- Female 40 + - 36%
Air Force: (Accession Standards)
- Male 17-29 - 20%
- Male 30 + - 24%
- Female 17-29 - 28%
- Female 30 + - 32%
Navy: (Accession Standards)
- Male - 23%
- Female - 34%
Marine Corps: (Accession and Regular Standards)
- Male - 18%
- Females - 26%
The Marines have adopted a new program as of January 2017.
- Marines who score 285 or higher on BOTH the PFT and CFT are exempt from height/weight standards.
- Marines who score 250 or higher on BOTH the PFT and CFT are given an additional 1 percent body fat.
- Another note - The USMC also increased the standards on the PFT and made achieving a 250-285 more difficult. Now the maximum score of 300 starts with 23 pullups (previously 20) 115 crunches (previously 100) and a 3 mile run of 18 minutes. The 3 mile timed run stayed the same.