Fit to Fight: the fourth core value

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gregory Kuzma
  • 62nd Aerial Port Squadron deputy commander
As members of the United States Air Force, we are held to very high standards by our Core Values of Integrity, Service, and Excellence. Recognizing that we are practitioners in the profession of arms, I firmly believe that being Fit to Fight has unofficially become the fourth core value.

Although commanders are responsible for their unit's fitness program, the ultimate responsibility falls upon every Airman. Not meeting fitness standards can negatively impact reenlistment eligibility, retraining opportunities and future assignments--especially if such a score results in a "referral" enlisted performance reports or officer performance reports. Just as the Air Force requires Airmen to be on-time for work, it doesn't buy an alarm clock for late sleepers. Every Airman should take personal responsibility to get fit on their own. To exemplify the Excellence core value, they should strive for a perfect 100 points every time; not just "meet minimum standards."

According to the Air Force Fitness Program website, the goal is to motivate Airmen to participate in a year-round physical conditioning program that emphasizes total fitness, to include proper aerobic conditioning, strength and flexibility training, and healthy eating. Health benefits from an active lifestyle will increase productivity, optimize health, and decrease absenteeism while maintaining a higher level of readiness.

The good news is most Airmen are not waiting until July 1st to take personal accountability of their fitness readiness. Take for example Staff Sgt. Jarvis Johnson, a member of the 62nd Aerial Port Squadron, who took personal responsibility by losing 125 pounds (almost half his previous body weight) during his 2008 deployment to Southwest Asia. Sergeant Johnson realized he needed to make some changes in his diet and exercise when he could not fit into the largest flak vest. He started by walking on a treadmill at the base gym for 30 minutes a day, drinking more water and cutting back on fried foods. Eventually he moved to the elliptical machines and began a regular exercise routine with a healthier diet. Today, Sergeant Johnson is playing a key role in the airlift mission, as evident in his recent deployment to Haiti, and on the intramural basketball court as one of Eagle Port's star players.

The profession of arms makes up a group of professionals working to do whatever it takes to get the mission done and being Fit to Fight is a part of that. Aside from fitness results becoming part of our permanent record, there is a healthy reason why we need to be in good physical condition. We need to be fit to do what we do best and that's continue to be the best Air Force on the planet--home station or deployed.