Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein announced Sept. 17 that he’s using his participation in this weekend’s Air Force Half Marathon at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, to launch a campaign aimed at getting USAF commanders’ fitness up to snuff, which he says will be led “from the top down.”
During an Air Force Town Hall at AFA’s 2019 Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., Goldfein told commanders in the audience that he expects Air Force commanders to be fit—no questions asked—since deployments are unpredictable, and expeditionary assignments demand that airmen be fit before they reach the field.
“I don’t know when I’m gonna task you as a commander to deploy to Djibouti or Estonia or somewhere in the Pacific, and expect you to perform the functions of a[n] expeditionary commander in 120 degrees’ heat or 30 below zero,” he said. “I just know this: that’s not the time to start your fitness program.”
Goldfein continued that every USAF commander is “on a fitness program,” and told the service’s squadron commanders that their unit’s fitness factors into how they’ll be evaluated “on a successful command tour.”
Earlier in the panel, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright said that if individual airmen buckle down on their personal fitness and view it as portion of their “duty and responsibility” as members of the Air Force, the service would be better for it.
Wright also said he hopes the service will “spend more time throughout the year talking about health, fitness, nutrition, sleep—the things that really matter,” approaching airmen’s overall wellness with the same kind of intensity that it does the Air Force Physical Fitness Test.
“The test is important for us to validate the basic level of health and fitness of our airmen, but I think we’d gain much more, we’d become a much more fit and healthy force, if we spent more time focusing on those things during your coaching and counseling and feedback sessions, putting programs in place, and creating space for people to be able to work out, educating them about health, fitness, and nutrition,” he said.
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