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Vandenberg adapts to new PT policy revisions

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Part of a monthly physical training regiment, Airmen from the 30th Space Wing, participate in the Fit-to-Fight run here. Vandenberg Airmen have been preparing for the new Air Force health and fitness standards policy revisions by participating in events such as the base-wide Fit-to-Fight runs.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Angelina Drake)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Part of a monthly physical training regiment, Airmen from the 30th Space Wing, participate in the Fit-to-Fight run here. Vandenberg Airmen have been preparing for the new Air Force health and fitness standards policy revisions by participating in events such as the base-wide Fit-to-Fight runs.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Angelina Drake)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The new Air Force physical training policy revisions, which became effective Jan. 1, 2010, have been put into motion across the Air Force.

The effects of the new PT policy has rippled its way to Vandenberg, and the base's leadership is in full compliance and ready to implement the changes.

Some of the policy changes involve biannual testing and modifications to the standard and appearance of the PT uniform.

The Air Force Fitness Program Web site provides further guidance on the current PTU standards.

"The thought process behind the new guidance was to make sure we standardized the way we wear our PTU to make sure everyone is on the same page," said Chief Master Sgt. Angelica Johnson, the 30th Space Wing command chief. "Hopefully, it will take some of the ambiguity out of the previous PT guidance, so our Airmen will know exactly what they must wear during official PT sessions and during the base's wing runs."

Anytime Air Force uniform policies change, a certain level of resistance is expected.

"At first there was a little apprehension with our Airmen, but overall I think the Airmen have received the changes well and are excited about wearing the new and improved PTU," Chief Johnson said.

Along with the PTU changes, the Air Force has also changed the PT testing policy as a means to improve the assessment process.

"The goal of the policy changes is to get a more concise assessment of our Airmen's fitness level," the command chief said. "Of course, we are always making sure that our fitness processes are the best they can be. The Air Force has been looking into new ways of accurately measuring the level of an Airmen's fitness, and what they have found is that these new fitness scores will do just that for us."

The Air Force modified the fitness program to encourage Airmen to continue participating in a year-round physical conditioning program.

"I'm looking forward to exercising more to enhance my overall health and lifestyle," said Senior Airman Laura Blanco, a 30th Medical Operations Squadron public health technician.

Although the fitness program policy changes were designed to increase the physical health among Airmen, the program might face early management challenges.

"I think initially it is going to be much harder to manage the program, but I think overall that it is going to highlight how important it is for an Airman to have a lifestyle of fitness," the Chief said. "In other words, instead of just practicing for one event each year, the new program will push Airmen to incorporate a daily regimen full of aerobics, strength training and flexibility."

As the deployment tempo has increased over the past decade, the Air Force has recognized the need to prepare Airmen physically to meet the higher demands of more deployments.

"A fitness lifestyle will prepare the Airmen because they will be more physically fit, and a fitter Airman is a happier Airman," the Chief said. "They will deploy and be able to handle the high-stress and hostile environments and endure longer work days."

Vandenberg leadership recommends Airmen set aside time each day to exercise to prepare for the new fitness standards.

"For the Airmen who are not working out every day and staying fit, I believe they will get a wakeup call with the new scores," the Chief said. "My advice is making exercise fun by doing the things you enjoy, but make sure you set that as a priority every day. The other component is nutrition. You have to make sure your eating coincides with the fitness. Doing these two things will present a good military image and this is important because you represent our Air Force."