Air Force Pushes Back Plans to Restart PT Tests

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Air Commandos perform the cardiovascular portion of the Air Force Fitness Assessment at Hurlburt Field, Fla., April 27, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Ronald Feliciano Rivera)
Air Commandos perform the cardiovascular portion of the Air Force Fitness Assessment at Hurlburt Field, Fla., April 27, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Ronald Feliciano Rivera)

The U.S. Air Force will not resume physical fitness testing until January, as it extends its lengthy pandemic-related hiatus for the second time, its top enlisted leader said Wednesday.

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass announced that the service will resume testing on the push-up, sit-up and run components Jan. 1.

However, the service will not administer the tape test and airmen instead will receive "full credit for the waist measurement" on their PT scorecard, added Chief of Staff Gen. Charles "CQ" Brown.

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In March, the service suspended its physical fitness testing until at least May 30; that change meant that members who were slated to take the PT test between March and May got a six-month reprieve. However, officials then delayed testing again until at least Oct. 1.

Brown said resuming testing in October would not have given installations enough time to prepare, depending on their COVID-19 restrictions.

"People are still staying fit; it's just we want to make sure that, as we move into this, we give them fair warning," he said during the Air Force Association's virtual Air, Space and Cyber conference.

The waist circumference test is unworkable under social distancing guidelines, he said, which is why the Air Force is scrapping it for now.

"We have to do this differently in the COVID environment," Brown said.

The modified changes could lead to a new way to measure PT down the line, added Bass.

"I would like to see us at a place where we're not so much focused on the PT test as we are more about fitness and readiness," she said. "[So] we are also taking some looks within on, 'What does fitness look like for our force?'''

The Air Force is following the Navy's lead with the January timeline. Earlier this month, Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John Nowell announced the new date for resuming sailors' fitness tests, with tweaks to include planks in place of curl-ups and the use of a rowing machine instead of the run portion.

Meanwhile, the Marine Corps this month said its PT testing would resume immediately, which requires Marines to complete the Combat Fitness Test by the end of the year. In addition, Marines outside height and weight standards who need body composition evaluations need to pass their tape test.

-- Gina Harkins contributed to this report.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @oriana0214.

Related: Air Force PT Test Suspensions May Continue Past June

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