By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (Jan. 08, 2004) -- The Air Force’s most senior leaders, both officer and enlisted, completed their fitness evaluations Jan. 7 at the Bolling Air Force Base Wellness Center.
The group was among the first in the Air Force to have their physical fitness evaluated using the service’s new fitness standard. Under the standard, fitness evaluations now include body composition, strength and aerobic fitness measurements.
Nearly 60 Air Force general officers, led by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper, were evaluated. The chief master sergeants were evaluated later in the afternoon. While it is unusual for so many senior leaders to be together at once for a fitness evaluation, General Jumper said the gathering served a purpose.
“We want everybody to know that when I say commanders are responsible for fitness, it starts at the top,” said the general. “We have gotten all the Air Force leadership in the Washington area out at one time. Hopefully this demonstrates that leading from the top really means leading from the top.”
General Jumper said he expects commanders around the service to follow his example and to participate in leading their airmen toward a more fit force.
“I expect squadron commanders to be out in front of their squadrons, group commanders to be out in front of their groups, and wing commanders to be out in front of their wings as we go through this test cycle,” General Jumper said. “I expect the whole Air Force to test and I expect that we all are going to pass.”
The evaluations also represented the culmination of more than a year’s worth of work in developing a new fitness standard for the Air Force. The service had been using the same gauge of fitness -- the cycle ergometry test -- for more than a decade. The new evaluation is more fitting of the demands put on airmen in today’s expeditionary climate, General Jumper said.
“We are all over the world and in all sorts of climates,” General Jumper said. “If you talk to the combat controllers, who during Operation Enduring Freedom were up at the top of 14,000-foot mountains with 100 pounds of gear, it becomes quite evident we need to be fit -- fit to fight is the term we use.”
Actually becoming fit to fight, and maintaining that fitness, is a similar process regardless of where an airman is stationed in the world, said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Gerald R. Murray before leading nearly 40 chiefs through warm-up exercises before their evaluation.
“Our efforts to develop a holistic approach to fitness -- that includes aerobics, body composition and strength -- has given us something that can be maintained anywhere we are,” Chief Murray said. “It is nice to have great gymnasiums and facilities and equipment, but we don’t need those to maintain our fitness. You can maintain fitness at deployed locations or at home.”
Chief Murray also said he is impressed with the fitness efforts already under way at Air Force installations around the force.
“I am extremely pleased with what is coming together here and with our Air Force, as we see the culture is already being changed," Chief Murray said. "Wings are already out running together. That momentum will be important to us through this year as we evaluate the new standards, the way people approach them and the programs that are being developed to help us meet them.”