USAFE officials ramp up for improved PT program

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Davis
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs
United States Air Forces in Europe Airmen will see major changes in the fitness program starting Jan.

Some of the Air Force-level modifications include testing twice a year versus once and having fitness assessment cell representatives conduct the biannual testing at the main installations to alleviate the burden of individual unit people having to administer the test.

"The goal of testing twice a year is to create a daily mindset when it comes to maintaining a consistent level of fitness, rather than getting ready for an annual physical training test," said Gen. Roger Brady, USAFE commander. "With our consistently elevated deployment tempo, these changes will benefit the readiness of our Airmen."

Placing more emphasis on aerobic criteria and reducing ranges on the run portion of the test should encourage people to incorporate fitness regimens that improve their cardio levels, said Maj. Alex Garcia, the chief of the Community and Sustainment Branch in the USAFE Directorate of Manpower, Personnel and Services.

"Of course, having minimum requirements in all areas prevents a focus on gaining points in one area and letting another slide, thereby resulting in a whole-body conditioning focus," Major Garcia added.

The scoring aspect also has undergone some restructuring.

"Airmen need to achieve minimum standards in each testing component and a composite score of 75 to pass," Major Garcia said. "Also, running time increments have been reduced to 15 second intervals, which will entice improvement in overall run times.

Another significant change places more emphasis on the aerobic portion by increasing the scale from 50 to 60 points, while shifting less emphasis on the abdominal circumference measurements from 30 to 20 points.

The bike test and three-mile walk test no longer will be offered as alternate aerobic tests for those on no-running profiles. The one-mile walk test will be the only alternative offered.

The fitness program will incorporate an incentive similar to the Army for those Airmen who excel on their test.

Major Garcia said Air Force officials will employ a program to award incentive patches to those who score an excellent, or a perfect 100, on their fitness tests. Patches will be awarded for one-time and sustained performance for consecutive tests over a two-year period. The patches will be authorized to be worn on the PT uniform.

Commanders also will have more direct control over their Airmen's physical fitness.

"Finally, commanders have more latitude to enforce standards by using administrative and personnel actions," Major Garcia said. "Unit commanders may take administrative actions upon a member's first unsatisfactory fitness score. Two consecutive failures or unsatisfactory scores may result in discharge recommendations to the installation commander."

In preparation for the changes, Tech. Sgt. Jessica Wilson, the fitness program manager in the USAFE Directorate of Manpower, Personnel and Services, emphasized the benefits of taking advantage of the programs available through the fitness center, the health and wellness center and the outdoor recreation program.

"Talk to the staff at these activities. They are trained to provide free advice, basic programs and ideas to change up routines so boredom doesn't set in," Sergeant Wilson said. "Work out with a wingman or in a group class because people tend to push themselves more when they work out with others. Our fitness staff will also provide physical fitness assessments to create basic workout programs. The first step is getting active." 

Sergeant Wilson boasted that USAFE has the largest sports program in the Air Force, and offers the most up-to-date equipment, as well as maintaining existing equipment.

"We are testing new equipment at some of our facilities to gauge customer feedback on new industry products," she said. "At Spangdahlem and Aviano, we are pilot testing a high-tech pedometer that attaches to your shoe and uploads your steps to a Web site so users can track activity levels during the day. If the test results are positive, the program may be offered across the command."

For more information, access the Air Force Personnel Center Web site for the new fitness program at