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Air Force Getting Fit To Fight
By Fred Zimmerman
Stars and Stripes
European Edition

January 10, 2004

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa Kadena's 18th Wing airmen, and the wing's commander, sweated through push ups, crunches and a 1.5 mile run Thursday as they completed their first Fit to Fight physical fitness test.

Fit to Fight replaced the Air Force's cycle ergometry test.

"We need to be physically fit to fight alongside the other services," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Remington, 18th Wing Commander. "I think everyone was waiting for this ready for this."

Air Force members also are measured at the waist for a score added into their event scores. The scoring matrix is broken into eight different age-appropriate categories for men and women.

Servicemembers who score in the excellent or good category must take subsequent tests once a year; in the marginal category, once every six months; and in the poor category, once every three months. Scores of 90 and above are excellent; 75 to 89.9, good; 70 to 74.9, marginal; and less than 70, poor. Maximum score is 100 a possible 50 for the run, 30 for body composition and 10 each for the push-ups and crunches.

Remington said that with the test change comes a new attitude for the Air Force. He said every day the streets of Kadena are filled with a relatively new sight: commanders and chiefs training with their units. The physical training also has built unit camaraderie and esprit de corps, he said. "People are complaining about not having enough room in the gym that's a good thing."

Remington, in the first of five waves of fitness test takers Thursday, finished the run in 9 minutes, 25 seconds; did 67 push-ups, 65 crunches and his waist measured at 32.75 inches maximum points in all categories except for body composition, which he missed by just more than a quarter-inch.

"Pretty good for a 49-year-old," Remington said.

For Airman 1st Class Jermaine Hawthorne, from the 18th Wing Command Post, the new test was more of a challenge than the old stint on the bike.

"Before, I would barely do any exercise and pass," Hawthorne said. "Now this, you really have to go out there and work on it, whether on your own or as a unit, so you can get above the standards."

Hawthorne said his section had been working up to the first test for the past five to six months by doing all events about three times a week. He said he was striving for the excellent category and thinks he got it but whatever his score, he liked the new physical test.

"It was a good challenge and a really good workout," Hawthorne said. "We need to continue to PT so everyone stays in shape."

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This article is provided courtesy of Stars & Stripes, which got its start as a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the Middle East.

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