A fifth of airmen failed fitness test

SENIOR airmen have been told to improve their physical condition after it emerged one-in-five officers at a Suffolk airbase failed essential fitness tests.

Officers at RAF Mildenhall have now been urged by Colonel Creg Paulk, commander of the 100th Operations Group, to ask themselves whether they “believe” what they are saying when reciting their USAF oaths.

In an open article for the base, Col Paulk told how non-commissioned officers and senior NCOs were given additional responsibilities at promotion ceremonies which included maintaining “excellent physical conditioning, always meet Air Force fitness standards” and earning “a Community College of the Air Force degree”.

He said “without fail” those promoted responded with a resounding “I do!”.

But Col Paulk said: “Team Mildenhall currently has a PT [physical training] failure rate of 20% under our current PFT [physical fitness test] regime and 38% when using the new regime slated to begin on July 1.

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“We are all charged to be physically fit to support the Air Force mission.

“Physical fitness is a critical component of our readiness and ability to perform the mission, not a factor we deal with on the side.”

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He said too few airmen were going out and getting education qualifications, with one in five not completing correspondence courses and 28% not getting a degree.

He said: “The Air Force greatly values grade-appropriate professional military education and off-duty education.

“Those types of education make us better airmen of all ranks.

“In the end, sure, the individual loses out by failing to pursue excellent physical conditioning or academic education in the form of poor performance reports or even a missed promotion.

“However, the real losers are the subordinates of those officers and NCOs – those we have entrusted them to mould and mentor.”

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