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Finally, An Up Side To The Budget Cuts

Air Force civilian PT testers are on the way out. Not because the Air Force has restored faith in Blue Suiters. No, it’s because they can’t afford them. As you may recall, the Air Force instituted civilian PT testers in the Summer of 2010 amid low test scores. A new emphasis on “physical fitness” came as PT testing criteria were tightened. Unfortunately, evidence suggested that some testers were less than stringent in their duties and allowed some substandard performers a pass. Naturally, rather than dealing with the problem in a case-by-case basis, the Air Force decided to slap everyone in the face and hire civilian test proctors. Initially, they tested every Airmen but after time wore on, they monitored testing of Airmen counting others repetitions on some installations.

Why civilians? Who knows. It seems that it would have made more sense to have Stan Eval peek their heads in every once in awhile to ensure that the test was being properly administered but a wholesale solution was over the top. If there’s truly an integrity problem in the Air Force, this solution won’t make it go away. What will truly be telling is if standards once again slip now that Airmen will be back in charge.

While the Air Force is being forced to once again rely on NCOs to do what NCOs are paid to do; train and assess their subordinates, the service has yet to get a grip on reality and adapt the PT test itself to reward performance over looks. The waist measurement remains a part of the test and with looming personnel cutbacks, I doubt they will do away with it. It’s too easy to let the old, chubby guys go. Perhaps at some point they’ll get a Chief of Staff who values execution and doesn’t want a service that sports that heroin chic look.

9 Responses to “Finally, An Up Side To The Budget Cuts”

  1. Drbaconboy says:

    Being a Navy guy I couldn’t believe that civilians were running the tests. Honestly it makes me laugh at the ridiculousness of the Air Force brass. Hooyah Air Force hooyah.

  2. Justin says:

    I am in the Navy too, and have watched rank and the good old boy system cheat the hell out of the PT test, year after years. The fat Captains tend to go to conferences, the Chiefs to ‘TAD’ events. The only people that seem to take the test honest are the blue shirts. And that is only if they don’t have a buddy who is CFL. The whole system is broken.

  3. Packtray says:

    Good riddance to a huge insult to Airmen of all ranks. Good luck at GloboGym, GS-9!

  4. Dan Shea says:

    I was in the AF. I did heavy maintenance on C-130s (Aero Repair). The physical fitness thing is a joke. They gave us no time to exercise or take college classes. Planes had to fly and there was time for little else. I knew of people who went on the “Fat Boy” program, but they were being punished for doing their jobs. No time was ever made for any form of regular PT. It was a steady stream of working on planes and it never stopped. This stuff is just nonsense. You either make allowances for the fact that you don’t give your people time to exercise, or you make sure there is regular PT time. After a long day of climbing all over burning hot, or freezing cold hunks of metal while lugging all manner of tools, there is no energy to go jogging or anything else. You just want to go home and hang with the family… like every other regular guy.

    Of course, no one will ever admit any of that!

    I used to laugh when they wanted to do a uniform inspection at the end of the day. These were 25-35 year old aircraft that regularly land in dirt, and require liberal amounts of grease to keep things moving properly… and you want to make sure people look pretty in their uniforms at the end of the work day? A complete joke. I worked alongside some great people. Our leaders were morons of the highest order.

  5. PJ says:

    Thank god, that was the biggest joke I have seen. Though I have to say now the AF will go to the same standard there was prior. PT is usually the last thing on any airmen’s mind these days. As a AF PTL(Physical Training Leader) I usually smoked the AF people I had to lead in my sessions due to the fact that I know 3/4 doesn’t do PT or at least works out very little.

    It will also mean the return of the half push-up unfortunately. I wish we would switch to a two mile run instead of a mile and a half.

  6. Buckaroomedic says:

    Actually, what happened around here is that the AF couldn’t keep the civilian graders because most of them couldn’t bear to tell an airman that they just failed the poorly conceived new PT test. They literally went from an entire cadre of graders to about two or three in less than a year. The new AF PT test was poorly conceived and even more poorly implemented. It has double standards (actually tougher) for those on a profile and the AF was not given enough time to “train to the new standard” Now, I’m sure the business of grading PT tests will revert to the enlisted folks in “Services”. You know the ones; they actually run the gyms and wear blue AF polo shirts and khaki pants as a uniform . . .

    I think that Dan Shea’s sentiments have hit the nail on the head. Until the AF implements a force-wide PT mentality, they are still going to see many failures and ruined careers. The new AF PT test is just a way for the brass to “thin the ranks” of a bloated force. The new test seems to be doing a great job of that!

  7. Crusty says:

    Things always have a way of working themselves out

  8. Kilroy says:

    This is a good thing. The Air Force PT system is still broken though. There needs to be more training for PT leaders, perhaps giving them sample workouts that emphasize functional strength and injury prevention. Leaders need to emphasize the importance of fitness, too many airmen work for 8-12 hours a day AND are expected to find time to workout and eat healthy. After a long day, an airman is going to grab fast food on the way home, and watch TV before going to bed. That’s reality.
    If commanders want people to be healthy, it takes more than 3 PT sessions a week. It takes a culture of healthy living. Starting work at 6am (because we’re hardcore) means people are skipping breakfast. Skipping breakfast lowers metabolism significantly. Short lunch breaks mean people are going to eat fast food. Stocking the snack bar with candy and soda is counterproductive. Working people 12 hours a day (without a real reason, an upcoming VIP visit is not a reason) will probably result in people not taking proper care of themselves. Rewarding participation in sports would be a good idea. Better yet, throw a couple dollars to the squadron sports teams. I could go on for days here, but I think my point is clear.

  9. AJ says:

    I liked the old USAF, the one I knew before and a little after 9-11. The new nonsense ABUs, CBTs, PT test, new crazy rifle course are all out of control. Pt is important but should be realistic and measurable. ABUs are just a plain a joke. CBTs cannot replace real training. The rifle course TRQC 12-14 hours long is too long, the best is they replaced it with something longer as if you could think it could get any worse. Same result was accomplished in 3 hours on the AFQC. Oh yeah the same USAF that loses body parts at Dover probably because we are too busy focusing on things that are not as important as the task at hand. My base tries to reinvent the wheel eveyday – keep it simple! Most of my time in has shown that it is all done so some leader can say “I did this new thing can I get promoted for it now” it is very sad. Just some thoughts….