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Commander unveils new fitness challenge

Challenge accepted

A member of the 919th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron prepares for his annual fitness assessment at Duke Field, Fla. The Citizen Air Commandos of the 919th SOW are participating in the Commander’s Fitness Challenge which rewards Airmen for exceptional physical fitness and significant fitness improvements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Monique Roux).

DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- The 919th Special Operation Wing's Commander's Fitness Challenge is underway, providing the wing's Citizen Air Commandos opportunities to win individual and team awards based on personal fitness achievements.

Airmen who score above a 95 on their Fitness Assessment or who improve their score by ten points or more and score at least an 85 will be eligible for time-off awards. Members must be current at the time of their test in order to earn their incentive.

Squadrons will also compete against each other based on FA scores and currency, and the winning squadron each quarter will take home the Commander's Trophy. The squadron with the highest overall fitness average annually will receive $500 to go towards a unit resiliency or team-building event.

"It is every Airman’s responsibility to maintain physical fitness standards 365 days a year," said Col. Frank Bradfield, the 919th SOW commander. "Being physically fit allows you to properly support the Air Force mission. The goal of the Fitness Program is to motivate all members to participate in a year-round physical conditioning program that emphasizes total fitness."

To help its Reserve Citizen Airmen stay fit throughout the year, the 919th SOW offers several fitness resources available to all personnel assigned here. The fitness center is accessible 24/7, with state-of-the-art equipment, including an InBody 570, which helps to monitor body composition and allows airmen to track their progress.

"I've seen a lot of people meet their goals, especially for their fitness assessments," said Jessie Ecklund, Duke Field Fitness Center manager. "After they do a mock assessment, we can give them tips on which machines to use and the exercises to do in order to improve particular areas of their assessment."

Ecklund has already seen the wing's fitness levels improving in 2019. During the January unit training assembly, there was a 22 percent failure rate for those taking their official FA. In March, that rate dropped to 9 percent.

Maintaining and improving personal fitness levels requires year-round motivation and commitment. Today's Air Force expects its Airmen to make fitness a priority, and is becoming stricter on those who cannot uphold the standards.

"Physical Fitness is more than a personal standard," said Bradfield. "It is an operational readiness and accountability requirement."

For more information about the Commander’s Fitness Challenge, the Air Force fitness standards, or available fitness resources, contact your Unit Fitness Program Manager.