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Shape up or ship out

By Airman 1st Class Ian Hoachlander | Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs | June 29, 2010

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Throughout the last year Air Force leadership put extra emphasis on the importance of physical training, healthier lifestyles and making sure Airmen are ready to deploy at a moment's notice.

Since Nov. 19, 2009, the day the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel announced the new Air Force fitness standards will officially begin July 1, 2010, Airmen were given ample time to change their lifestyles and work on improving their PT scores.

With the new standards the test will be conducted bi-annually. The run counts for 60 percent of the test, the body composition counts for 20 percent, while the push-ups and sit-ups are at 10 percent each. Under the old standards the run counted for 50 percent, the body composition for 30 percent, with the push-ups and sit-ups remaining the same.

Airmen will need a composite score of 75, while also meeting the minimum level for each component. The age groups include: less than 30, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60-plus. Results will fall into one of three categories: 90 and above, excellent; 75-90, satisfactory; and under 75, unsatisfactory.

Squadron physical training leaders will no longer conduct the testing; instead, the Air Force has hired civilian personnel to enforce the new regulations. Joint Base Charleston's Fitness Testing Technicians include Amanda Rawl, Ron Keur, Margie Lopez-Davis and Elizabeth Wagner. They are tasked with conducting PT tests throughout the week and enforce the standards to the fullest.

"We want to give Airmen honest feedback, while also removing any favoritism which could have happened in the past" said Ronald Keur, 628th Force Support Squadron fitness testing technician. "The Air Force is only as good as it's Airmen and with the new PT standards it not only improves the individual's physical performance, but helps improve the Air Force as a whole."

With the testing scheduled to begin July 1, Airmen must know the correct process to use in order to sign up for their test. Squadron's Unit Fitness Program Managers will get in contact with Airmen who are due or are close to being due for their fitness test. The UFPM will then schedule a test date for their fellow Airman through the EIM website and the individual taking the test will receive an e-mail confirming the test date and a link to a Fitness Screening Questionnaire.

The Fitness Screening Questionnaire must be filled out and then signed by both the individual taking the test and the Airman's UFPM, which can only be done within seven days of the individuals PT test.

"It is extremely important that the members who are testing bring the questionnaire filled out correctly to their test," said Mr. Keur. "If the questionnaire is not filled out properly, the individual will be turned away and written up as a 'no show.' This could then have a potentially negative impact on an Airman's career."

Once Airmen show up for their test, they hand the fitness testing technician their Fitness Screening Questionnaire, after which they will be given a nylon mesh shirt with a number between one and eight.

"The test will be taken in groups of eight," said Margie Lopez-Davis, 628 FSS fitness testing technician. "The individual will show up with their photo identification and Fitness Screening Questionnaire and then testing will begin once all members arrive."

During the summer, the fitness technicians will hold two tests a day, seven days a week. The times of the test will be 6:30 and 8:30 a.m. Once winter rolls around, the fitness technicians will hold four tests a day, seven days a week.

The basic format of the PT test will remain the same beginning with the measuring of body composition. Following the body composition measurements, individuals will be tested on their sit-ups, followed by their push-ups and will finish off with a run at Joint Base Charleston's new track.

"Everyone has to remember that during the summer it is extremely important to take care of themselves," said Amanda Rawl, 628 FSS lead fitness testing technician. "It is very important that individuals hydrate consistently days before their tests. If an individual gets sick or passes out during their test, they will be sent to the medical center and have to reschedule their test date and do it again."

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