192nd FW Fitness Assessment Cell tests Airmens' strength, endurance

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Johnisa B. Roberts
  • 192nd FW Public Affairs
As airmen of the Air National Guard, it is important to be ready to serve the Air Force mission in every way possible. To ensure this, airmen must be physically "fit to fight" and able to pass the physical evaluations known as "PT tests". These tests evaluate strength and endurance to assess airmen and their readiness to fight and carryout the mission.

For more than seven years, PT tests for the 192nd Fighter Wing Airmen were facilitated by the active duty Fitness Assessment Cell here at the 633rd Air Base Wing. However, on February 21, 2015, the 192nd Services Flight received approval to establish their own FAC and administered its first PT test for wing members. 

Although the transition may appear to have been smooth, the Services Flight had certain requirements to meet in order to be able to conduct PT evaluations. This process took approximately three months, according to Master Sgt. Roberto Mercado, 192nd FW Support Squadron Services superintendent.

"The process required a letter of approval from Air Combat Command, A1 and the National Guard Bureau authorizing the 192nd to conduct internal fitness assessments due to the deployment schedules of our own and active duty members," said Mercado.

"I am very proud of MSgt Mercado's team because of all of the hard work and determination to make the 192nd FAC a reality.  Having our own FAC will give unit commanders greater flexibility and more opportunities for their personnel to test.  This is critical due to our high deployment tempo," said Lt. Col. Mary Decker, 192nd Support Squadron commander.

In addition to the authorizations, the 192nd Support Squadron/Services Flight worked closely with their active duty counterparts to learn the fundamentals and develop the needed skills to administer the fitness assessments.

"We also had to get up to speed on the process," said Master Sgt. Seena Rose, 192nd FW SS/SV Services Journeyman. "Now we are fully qualified and able to conduct the tests and have enough people to do it."

To organize and conduct a PT test, the Fitness Assessment Cell must ensure proper equipment (AED, tape measurers, mats, stopwatches, clean jerseys, etc.) is available. More importantly, each evaluator must maintain a current CPR certification.  Evaluators are also required to have Physical Training Leader (PTL) training and a working  knowledge of the relative physical fitness AFI's, said Senior Airman Ryan Moore, 192nd FW SS/SV Services Apprentice.

According to Mercado, the transition allows for greater flexibility and opportunity to test more people during drill weekends and accommodate member's schedules when needed. "We can now provide that," he said.

A high level of professionalism, keen customer service skills and equity in assessing participants are required in this job. The PT assessment is a critical piece to Airmen's career progression and development.

According to Senior Airman Artina Mills, 192nd SS/SV Service Apprentice,  the FAC facilitators provide an important service to the Airmen; The PT assessment is an important component to further their career and during the assessment, facilitators  need to know how to respond to questions and assist Airmen to do the best they can during their test, said Mills,

Overall, the transition to conducting fitness assessments within the wing allows the 192nd FW SS/SV to manage their own programs within their career fields.

"It gives us a sense of ownership of the program," said Mercado. "When there's ownership in a program, there's more responsibility included, and more knowledge is learned."