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NEWS | Aug. 4, 2008

Group commander in ‘perfect’ shape sets example for Airmen

By Airman 1st Class Melissa White 437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Every year, most Airmen set a goal of hoping to pass their annual fitness test, and some even set a goal to score a 100 percent.

But how many people can get a perfect score on the toughest scale when they can do it at their own level? And how many also really hold themselves to the standard of "excellence in all we do?"

Forty-seven-year-old Col. Joseph Mancy, 437th Operations Group commander, is one of those people. On his most recent fitness test in July, he scored 100 percent on the males 25-and-under category even though he is in the males 45-49 category.

"I've scored 100 on my last three fitness tests, but I decided that just getting a 100 wasn't enough of a challenge," said the colonel who has been taking fitness tests for more than 20 years. "So I set out to get a perfect on the toughest level -- the 25-and-under age category."

He accomplished that with a run time of 9:16, 55 crunches, 63 push-ups and an abdominal circumference of 32.5 inches. With a few seconds and push-ups to spare, he would have needed to run at least a 9:36 with 55 crunches, 62 push-ups and an abdominal circumference of 32.5 inches for the 25 and under category. In his respective category of 45-49, he would have needed a run time of 10:24 with 45 crunches, 40 push-ups and an abdominal circumference of 32.5 inches to score a 100 percent.

Though he did better than "perfect" on this test, Colonel Mancy is no stranger to physical fitness. He was part of the track and cross country teams in high school and tries to work out every weekday for about an hour. He was also in the Marine Corps from 1982-1984 while he was in college before going to Air Force Officer Training School in 1984.

"Working out is something I have done for most of my life and I really enjoy it," Colonel Mancy said. "And I was in the Marine Corps before the Air Force, so when I went to OTS I thought it was going to be tough. But when we had to go run for the first time, I was in shock when they told us, 'Now go and try to run around the track for 10 minutes, but if you can't make it then don't worry about it -- just try.' I just couldn't believe it ... especially since I came from being able to run several miles with a rucksack on my back."

Even though the commander's schedule might get busy at times, he always finds time to go on daily evening walks with his wife, Veronica. He said that whenever he gets a chance to walk, he does so because he thinks a little bit of exercise is a good thing any time he can get it.

"Don't ever get out of shape," said Colonel Mancy as a suggestion to Airmen. "Once you get out of shape, it's more difficult to get back in the routine of working out. I love working out, but it's a great second benefit to know that I can help inspire other Airmen to get physically fit."

And he already has inspired Airmen. Two squadrons within Colonel Mancy's group, the 437 OG, have a 100 percent pass rate with a total of more than 400 Airmen. Also, there have been more than 139 Airmen on Charleston AFB who scored a 100 percent on the fitness test, and 873 who scored "excellent" out of a total of 3,526 Airmen who take the test.

"I think it's an amazing feat to get a perfect score, especially if it's on the toughest age category," said Regina Creech, 437th Medical Group Health and Wellness Center chief. "So I think it's great that Colonel Mancy did this because it sets a good example for our Airmen to show them that this can be done even if you're 47 years old."