Action Line: PT test problems
By Col. John T. Quintas, 48th Fighter Wing commander
/ Published September 16, 2011
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England --
My husband has struggled with physical fitness his whole career. Recently, he had a bad run of things and accumulated four fails in a row. He was told that since he had four fails, that there was a very good chance he would get separated. He began a rigorous exercise program, modified his eating, and put together a package of recommendation letters from past and present supervisors and co-workers. His commander chose to recommend to keep him in. He has since passed and is back on track now though his commander told him if he fails again within two years, he can still get kicked out.
My problem is that I know of another spouse's husband who has also had problems with his PT program. He has had at least four fails and he hasn't passed a PT test since they got here in 2008. Every time they schedule him for a test, he makes up an excuse to go see a doctor. I know there are no medical issues keeping him from doing the test because every time, the doctor says there is nothing wrong. He has been working out a little (though not as much as he should) and he hasn't changed his eating habits. I know he is over the maximum waist measurement - he's well over 40 inches.
Talking with my friend, she says he isn't putting much effort in however, he was told that even if he fails, as long as he shows improvement, he will be ok and they won't kick him out.
I asked my husband why it's different for this other guy. He said it's up to each commander as far as what actions they chose to take and I shouldn't worry about it. I don't think it's fair. My husband's commander was kind enough to let him try one more time but was ready to kick him out if he failed. My friend's spouse seems to be getting more than his fair share of breaks concerning the PT program.
Isn't it in a book or something that says if you fail this many times or constantly dodge the test, you are out? Why does there appear to be different standards for different people?
First let me say that I am very pleased to hear of your husband's progress in his new fitness regimen and healthier lifestyle! Please pass to him my congratulations and encouragement for continued success.
We certainly take physical fitness seriously, and the Air Force has increased its emphasis on ensuring a fit force by making some significant modifications to its fitness program in the past year.
Air Force Instruction 36-2905 provides specific guidance on how our fitness program should be conducted and emphasizes that this is a commander's program. Any and all administrative actions are done at the respective unit commander's discretion, based upon many contributing factors, but certain actions are mandatory for the commander. Specifically, in sub-section 18.104.22.168. stating, "Unit CCs shall make a discharge or retention recommendation to the Installation CC when an individual remains in the Unsatisfactory fitness category for a continuous 12-month period or receives four Unsatisfactory FA scores in a 24-month period. Prior to initiation of discharge action, a military medical provider must have ruled out medical conditions precluding the member from achieving a passing score."
So to answer your question, the AFI directs that all Airmen are treated equally, regardless which squadron they are in. But there is room for discretion if medical conditions exist. If medical conditions do not exist, then it is up to me, with the recommendation from the squadron commander, if we retain or separate Airmen for fitness failures. It is not an easy
decision and I can assure you, each individual case is carefully considered.
The goal of the Air Force Fitness program is to create a force that lives a healthier lifestyle. Your husband is an example of the effectiveness of the program. He is doing all the right things, I encourage him to keep it up and I'm sure that if he does he'll continue to be a great asset to our Air Force.
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