According to a July report, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Airmen are exceeding Air Mobility Command and Air Force averages on the year-old Air Force Fitness Test. Coming in just higher than AMC and as much as 3 percent higher than the Air Force overall in the excellent category, Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing lead the way with a 91 percent pass rate (9 percent higher than Air Force average) and more than half of all Airmen scored excellent, which is more than 10 percent higher than the Air Force overall.
JBLMs 627th Air Base Group closely followed the 62nd AW with an approximately 90 percent pass rate. Patrick Conway, the exercise physiologist and fitness program manager for the 62nd AWs Health and Wellness Center, said success on the PT track has been due to three universal factors.
First key is top down leadership offering support and availability to participate in fitness, Conway said. When leadership provides the means and policy stating all members will participate in PT the message is clear and taken seriously. Second is unit support and direction because a unit is only as strong as its weakest member.
Taking on fitness as a unit involves everyone and ensures no one falls behind or is overlooked. Third is individual commitment and excellence. Each individual has to take responsibility for their actions and step up to the challenge of exceeding the minimums established by the Air Force, just as they do for any other Air Force duty.
The 62nd AWs HAWC has certified hundreds of Physical Training Leaders across the installation, a process that starts with a squadron commanders selection of an individual who exceeds Air Force PT standards. He then requires CPR and AED response certification and must be inititally and annually trained by HAWCs health education program manager to maintain his PTL standing.
Conway said McChord is also reaching new fitness heights thanks to programs such as whats offered at the HAWC or under HAWC personnels professional guidance.
When the number of people not passing the fitness test began to increase, McChord took action and developed a fitness boot camp, he said and added that McChord Field was recognized as the only Air Force locale in the region that started the program with HAWC-level education and training support. Boot Camp continues for either those who have fallen short of Air Force PT standards, or anyone who wants to increase their performance in the new, semiannual service evaluation. Those scoring above 90 only take the test annually.
Danielle Knutson, HAWCs health education program manager, credits McChord Field leadership for allowing PT to be fun for the Airmen as they work to maintain physical readiness. Its that outside the box approach that they continually promote through HAWC programs, which not only focus on exercise-based fitness, but also proper nutrition and relaxation for a more whole person approach to continuing health.
When its fun and stimulating, it keeps peoples attention at a high level, she said, and when you have that high level, the things people can accomplish are so great.
Conway said he wasnt surprised that local Airmen exceed Air Force fitness standards because there may be only one thing that may get them out to PT in greater Seattles less-than-ideal weather most of the year dedication.
Does McChord take fitness seriously? he rhetorically asked. I would have to say yes for it sure is not the nine months of rain which drives people out to do PT.
To learn more
For more on the HAWC programs and services offered to essentially all DOD ID card holders, call 982-6948. You can also connect with them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ mcchord.hawc.