HomeNewsArticle Display

HPO program increases readiness and lethality

A pararescueman from the 48th Rescue Squadron performs an overhead press at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., June 6, 2018. 48th RQS pararescuemen constantly exercise and monitor their mental and physical health in order to tackle injuries and physical discomforts proactively to maintain deployment readiness status through the Human Performance Optimization program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Frankie D. Moore)

Pararescemen from the 48th Rescue Squadron perform push-ups during their physical training session at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. 48th RQS pararescemen train daily, whether it be physical fitness or medical practices, to ensure they are deployment ready through the Human Performance Optimization program. (Courtesy photo)

Pararescuemen from the 48th Rescue Squadron perform pull-ups during their physical training session at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. 48th RQS pararescuemen constantly exercise and monitor their mental and physical health in order to tackle injuries and physical discomforts proactively to maintain deployment readiness status through the Human Performance Optimization program. (Courtesy photo)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) --  Pararescuemen risk life and limb in order to save the lives of others. Over time, these great efforts cause strain to the body, and, if not treated proactively, can lead to potential permanent damage.

Pararescuemen from the 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base realized having medical personnel on and off deployments, as well as tackling injuries and discomforts early on, would keep them mobile, deployment-ready and help ensure a pain-free future.

With the help of Col. Colleen McBratney, 355th Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander, a team comprised of surgeons, physicians and mental health specialists was built to accomplish these objectives. Thus, the Human Performance Optimization program was born.

In its initial phase, the HPO team’s intent was to move non-deployable personnel into deployment-ready status while keeping those who are deployment-ready in top shape.

“We treat and train our guys like they’re division one athletes,” said Drew Hammond, 48th RQS strength and conditioning coach. “We track them from the day they get injured to the day they get back to full status and try to find ways to make that time shorter.”

One way the HPO team follows this information is through the use of wearable performance trackers combined with phone applications. These combined technologies give the HPO team accurate information on the status of each pararescueman’s heart rate, daily activity and recovery status among other performance based data.

“These technologies greatly help the athlete, as well as their coach and flight leader see how they’re progressing,” McBratney said. “With that knowledge, leadership can make an informed decision on what kind of training needs to be done for particular individuals rather than keeping a routine plan for every pararescueman.”

The program’s personalized approach helped the HPO team increase the full-spectrum readiness and lethality of the 48th RQS. Additionally, providing a physical therapist to the squadron decreased the time it would take for pararescemen to travel back and forth to the 355th Medical Group and receive care. This assigned medical professional asset saved 235 man-days within the 48th RQS.

“From a performance standpoint, both physical and mental health are critical,” McBratney said. “We want to make sure the Airmen are able to do their jobs better and have a good balance between work and home life.”

The HPO program has come a long way since its conception and plans to expand past the 48th RQS in the future.

“We want to help all of our people do better and take care of them as people, not products,” McBratney said.  “This kind of thing should be available to all Airmen. There are many different physical and mental stressors that affect all personnel and this program could greatly help them work more efficiently and lead a more pain-free lifestyle. Hopefully, in the future, all Airmen can reap the benefits of the HPO program.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
"#Resilient choices equal resilient #Airmen," - #CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright offers advice on taking care of Airmen from… https://t.co/Q7yQ96tWqc
At this year's #ASC18, @SecAFOfficial spoke about the #USAF we need verses the #AirForce we have. https://t.co/b4id1eXriH
"We all need to grab an oar...and row," - @GenDaveGoldfein on the five multiple domains to achieve multiple objecti… https://t.co/uSEcbxBPp2
.@SchrieverAFB #Airman found his creative passion at the bottom of a fruit bowl. https://t.co/SeSTzAmLA3 https://t.co/gB5FhNRmBc
Oregon #AirNationalGuardsmen become first #Airmen to compete in the @USArmy's Best Warrior Competition.… https://t.co/Nj4pObitF9
The #AirForce has work to do! @GenDaveGoldfein outlines what's needed to prepare for #MultidomainOperations. https://t.co/KMuzyvPzMI
.@HollomanAFB & its co-located units will realign from @USAF_ACC to @AETCommand, effective Oct. 1.… https://t.co/UkCYJQoZzn
Identical twins share near-identical military careers as #USAF security forces #Airmen. https://t.co/odHGdsgsOe https://t.co/2DUsDK6CIR
Thousands of #Airmen have found support through our Exceptional Family Member Program, which allows them to proceed… https://t.co/OVSsRLN6F7
Hear @GenDaveGoldfein expound on what it takes to modernize #AirForce squadrons for future missions. https://t.co/a6F0tRfMxU
If you aren't taking advantage of #FollowFriday by following @Creech_AFB you are missing out on the famed "Hunters"… https://t.co/omTO945zAf
May we never forget, National #POWMIA Recognition Day. https://t.co/Oyu82RbIRO
RT @HQ_AFMC: Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the @usairforce Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, was one of the featured speake…
#ICYMI, Ms. Brie Larson, star of the upcoming feature film "Captain Marvel," joined #Airmen from across the NCR and… https://t.co/6lxYK3l85A
“Our dogs are definitely not pets; they are #MilitaryWorkingDogs – assets to the #USAF…The trust these teams have i… https://t.co/PVPq9Up5iN
#USAF optometry clinics keep #Airmen's eyes healthy so they can keep their sights set on the mission.… https://t.co/siyO4osHjr
First female chaplain from the #171ARW completes Leadership Development Institute training, develops the first… https://t.co/oFFpYZf9Mg
.@USAFReserve #Airmen @45thSpaceWing put their lives on temporary hold to respond to the aftermath of… https://t.co/m0yaqqUEaV
#ICYMI, @HAFB took a different approach to #cosplay at #FanX18 by teaming up with the Utah Engineers Council to pre… https://t.co/RChVGaP8rN
RT @USAFHealth: #TBT Flight Nurse Captain Shirley A. Armstrong hands a cup of fruit juice to a patient in a C-141 Starlifter during a medic…