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Fitness testing begins for deployed airmen

U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs

U.S. Air Forces Central Command — Airmen deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility will roll physical fitness testing into their wartime responsibilities starting Oct. 1.

Lt. Gen. Mike Hostage, the U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander, recently approved a policy authorizing fitness testing in the AOR for permanent party airmen and those on one-year deployments.

“It is paramount for our airmen to maintain peak physical condition, not just at home, but also while deployed in the AOR,” Hostage said. “Therefore, to align with the chief of staff of the Air Force’s vision, we are implementing a vigorous fitness program to include (physical training) testing in the AOR.”

Airmen must have a current fitness score prior to deployment, according to the new fitness program Air Force Instruction 36-2905.

The new AFI also permits fitness assessments in the AOR at locations that meet the criteria. Viable locations must have an approved running and walking course, local medical support, trained physical training leaders and a health screening process. Several deployed locations already meet these standards and are ready to begin fitness testing; however, a comprehensive list is not yet available.

People deployed for less than a year will have an opportunity to test at approved locations on a voluntary basis. However, permanent party airmen and those on yearlong deployments will be required to do so, per the new USAFCENT fitness policy.

“Implementing fitness testing in the AOR is a policy we’ve been formulating for several months with the guidance of Air Staff, said Lt. Col. Susan Airola-Skully, the USAFCENT Manpower, Personnel and Services deputy director. “We want to ensure the needs of the deployed commanders are met by providing fit to fight airmen. This policy helps ensure consistency of fitness levels and standards from in-garrison bases to combat zone bases. Now the expectation for fit airmen remains seamless from home station to deployed location.”

The new policy enables deployed commanders to implement physical training programs, and it provides them the flexibility to evaluate airmen’s fitness levels. It also gives commanders the chance to offer deployed airmen with unsatisfactory scores an opportunity to retest. Deployed commanders can also conduct unofficial, practice assessments to give airmen a chance to gauge their progress and compliance with Air Force fitness standards.

“This revised policy will drive an additional requirement for deployed locations to track and record test scores and for deployed commanders to exercise administrative or disciplinary actions for failures,” said Rick Leech, the USAFCENT chief of personnel. “However, the need for a fit force in the combat zone is a priority, and this policy revision provides that capability.”

Airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines undergo fitness tests twice a year in garrison. Like airmen, deployed soldiers and sailors also test at approved locations in the AOR. Marines do not currently test while deployed.

The new USAFCENT fitness policy will be available soon on AEF Online at