Good physical fitness allows us to be ready for combat--Fit to Fight

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Carmelo Giovenco
  • Joint Personnel Recovery Agency Commander
Okay, it's a New Year--full of resolutions and an extra 10 pounds around the waistline. I'm sure many of you have resolved to be more fit. I have already seen an increase in the number of personnel at the fitness center - Excellent. As we embark on 2012, I would like to take a moment to discuss our responsibilities as Airmen toward physical fitness, the available resources, and finally, the consequences of not maintaining fitness standards.

We all freely volunteered to be part of the greatest military in the world and support our Services' missions. As a commander of a joint organization, I am aware of the vital role physical fitness plays in military service and mission. As a leader and an Airman, I want to provide a positive example of good fitness to not only my personnel, but to the other Services as well. Being physically fit allows you to properly support the Air Force mission.
That's pretty straight forward. Additionally, commanders are directed to "incorporate fitness into the Air Force culture." For most of us, depending on your commander's policy, this direction ensures we can work-out during normal duty hours. Outstanding...we can take advantage of our duty time to stay fit. When duty doesn't allow, we must remember, fitness is still an Air Force priority and we must use off-duty time to remain combat ready. The CSAF's intent further states, "Health benefits from an active lifestyle will increase productivity, optimize health, and decrease absenteeism while maintaining a higher level of readiness." Bottom line, good physical fitness allows us to be ready for combat--Fit to Fight. It is our duty; it is what we signed up for, and it should be practiced every day.

If you haven't taken advantage of the facilities at Fairchild, you are missing out. The fitness center has a nearly unlimited supply of aerobic equipment and free weights and this equipment is never full. There is a pool, multiple racquetball/walleyball courts and a room for Cross Fit training. Add in a couple basketball courts, a hot tub and a sauna and you have a top-notch facility with a staff willing to help you out with your training regimen.

Later this spring, the facilities will only get better with the scheduled opening of the new fitness center. Additionally, there are many programs to help you take care of yourself. I'll list a couple examples: 'Boot Camp' occurs two times a day all week and will take you to a passing fitness score in six weeks. It is a well thought out program. Other programs include Spin, Strength and Cross Fit classes as well as individual training. One addition to Team Fairchild's fitness area is the Fairchild Airmen's Running Team. The Team meets Tuesdays at 5 p.m. and the runs are about a 5k. It is a great way to go out and meet other Team Fairchild members.

Finally, what happens if you don't maintain fitness? In this era of drawdowns, cutbacks and budget cuts, the Air Force has no time or patience for personnel who cannot do what is required of them. The answer is simple, if you do not adhere to the standards, you will not be in the Air Force very long. In accordance with AFI 36-2905, personnel must pass the PT test within their reporting period or they will be given a referral performance report.
There is no leeway here. Additionally, if personnel fail the test four times in a two year span, commanders have the discretion to begin discharge procedures. Commanders do have leeway here but, remember, it is your duty to be in shape 365 days a year. You know when you'll take the fitness test again. Your preparation should already be underway. It is that simple. Do not be surprised if your commander takes action.

I am not naïve enough to think that what I talked about here will change how everyone works out but if one person continues on with their New Year's resolution, the Air Force will be better for it. You may have a fitness resolution for 2012 but when you took your oath to join the Air Force, you made a resolution to be fit to fight while you serve. Don't give up the resolution to yourself or the Air Force.