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NEWS | May 4, 2011

AFSO 21 chops PT testing time

By 2nd Lt. Susan Carlson Joint Base Charleston public affairs

As of May 1, the time it takes for a service member to complete their physical fitness test has significantly decreased.

Thanks to Air Force Smart Operations 21 and three JB CHS individuals, 1st Lt. Ryan Peak and Tech. Sgt. Maria Lloyd, 628th Force Support Squadron AFSO 21 representatives, and the Fitness Center's Amanda Rawl, a number of changes have been implemented to not only speed up the testing process but also guarantee everyone gets tested in a timely manner.

So how did this all come about?

"The three of us looked at the actual process. We observed it and looked for downtime or wasted time," said Lieutenant Peake. "From there, we investigated how we could help eliminate that time."

One of the biggest changes came in the actual scheduling of individuals. All members will now be scheduled within the first three weeks of the month, leaving the last week open for make-up tests due to weather cancellations or emergency situations.

Another change addresses the walking PT test. The walking test-takers must complete their push-ups and sit-ups after the cardio portion of the test - opposite of the running test.

"In the old system, the walkers would have to sit and watch while the runners completed their calisthenics," said Lieutenant Peake. "Later, they would hold up the rest of the runners while they completed their test."

As a result of their findings, Friday has been designated as a day to only test individuals who walk the fitness test. This creates a much more efficient environment for all testers.

"The whole goal of bringing AFSO 21 into the picture was to cut down on the man hours we were using daily as well as making more effective use of the testing member's time," said Ms. Rawl.

Because this PT testing system is relatively new, having been implemented by the Air Force in July 2010, the process obviously still has a few kinks in the system, Ms. Rawl said.

"Bringing AFSO 21 into the picture allowed another set of eyes on the program to tell us where we could make improvements," she said. "It gave us a second opinion."

The primary purpose of the AFSO 21 program is to eliminate waste in time, money and manpower. Thus, when the fitness center tests up to 60 service members in one day, there are a lot of opportunities to save both time and man hours, which in turn saves money.

"AFSO 21 is all about how we can make things smarter; make more sense," Lieutenant Peake said. "I think we did good things; even if the improvement is only five minutes less for each person, that time adds up quickly."

When all is said and done, the new changes will have knocked off approximately 30 minutes off the overall time it takes to test service members in each session.

"I'm glad we made changes and we appreciate the help we had with AFSO 21 ... we implemented some great things," said Ms. Rawl. "In the long run, I think we'll see a more positive attitude towards the test, because it is a more effective use of the member's time."