Are you fit-to-fight focused?

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Mark Dillon
  • 86th Airlift Wing commander
As we continue to celebrate the year of the Air Force family, a key element is supporting the health and wellness of our force.

Our Airmen are our most valuable fighting asset. Today and tomorrow we need to be ready. Year round fitness is a vital component of that preparation.

Maintaining proper fitness in our profession is really about maintaining combatĀ  capability. As a service, we recently identified that our fitness program needs improvement to ensure our Airmen fit more than once a year. Like any great organization, our Air Force continues to make changes for the better.

You only have to look back less than six years when the Air Force tested Airmen's fitness with a bike test. Exercise was not part of Airmen's daily culture. Now we mark more than five years under the current fitness program and fitness has become an integral part of our Air Force culture. We even include fitness standards on all Airmen's performance reports.

We've come a long way, but we must continue to evolve. Despite your great contributions to the current fight, your increased operations tempo, your shift in culture to a premier expeditionary force we can't rest on our laurels.

The next change is just around the corner -- January 2010 -- when we implement the new physical fitness testing requirements that improve overall fitness even more. The new twice a year fitness test will help our Air Force focus on a year-round fitness culture. And it will improve the overall health of the force.

For some, 1 Jan 2010 may require some extra preparation. The reality is, no measure of unit PT will do what each individual needs to do--be physically fit. Each person has to make the conscious decision to get in shape. In the combat environment, not being fit may threaten not only your safety but the safety your wingman. Long-term, both career and health are at risk. Being fit to fight requires a year-round focus. All Airmen of all shapes and sizes can benefit from a year-round focus on fitness. Gone are the days of exercising vigorously a few weeks before a fitness test. A healthy lifestyle should be a part of everyone's daily regimen.

I challenge you to take this time to learn how to take better care of yourself. Let the Air Force fitness program motivate you become 'fit to fight' year round. And as part of the year of the Air Force Family make a healthy lifestyle not just your personal goal, but a goal for your entire family.

January 1, 2010 is right around the corner. Hope to see you out on the track or in the fitness centers. As always, thank you and your families for serving!