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SCS in pursuit of PT excellence

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Airmen from the 30th Space Communications Squadron run along Washington Avenue here Wednesday, March 30, 2011, during a unit physical training session. (Courtesy photo)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Airmen from the 30th Space Communications Squadron run along Washington Avenue here Wednesday, March 30, 2011, during a unit physical training session. (Courtesy photo)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Space Communications Squadron reached its goal of having a 90 percent average fitness score; additionally the squadron has 63 percent of their Airmen in the 'Excellent' category.

When the Air Force sent out the updated Air Force Instruction 36-2905 this significantly increased the amount of fitness failures. The squadron jumped into action and developed a new training program to get their Airmen fit and fast. Considering the changes and the challenges of changing lifestyles this is a true success story.

Lt. Col. Youngkun Yu, 30th SCS commander, made fitness a priority upon taking command in July 2010.

"We took on the task to motivate our Airmen by adding incentives while adding vigor to our weekly PT sessions," said Colonel Yu. "The fitness program has improved the health and fitness of the squadron, this has reduced health risks, provided fit Airmen for the 30th Space Wing mission and for those deployed to missions in the AOR."

The 30th SCS superintendent, Senior Master Sgt. David Ovesen worked with the Unit Fitness Program Managers and the Physical Training Leaders to adapt the new AFI changes to the squadron's fitness schedule.

"The key was reading and understanding the new AFI guidance," Sergeant Ovesen said. "Airmen must understand that 60 percent of your score comes as a result of your 1.5 mile run or 1 mile walk, almost immediately the squadron's fitness program was tailored to exploit this. We added longer runs, 3-5 miles, three times per week along with sprinting and vertical running routes. The results were amazing and our Airmen are very proud that they have the highest fitness rates for large units in the 30 SW, they went from an 84 percent PT average to 90 percent in less than a year."

Those who were having trouble were scrutinized and given the added help of more PT sessions. The pursuit of excellence outweighed failure and the 30thSCS prevailed with a continued 63 percent excellent rate and are on track to pass 100 percent of the unit by May this year. More important than the simple metrics, squadron personnel are embracing the fit-to-fight concept and are exercising for their health.

"We definitely have more folks who look and feel fit-to-fight," Colonel Yu said.