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Augmentees drive wing’s new fitness assessment program

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Team Schriever members who have not taken a fitness assessment in the last six months will notice a change to the way the program is now administered.

The Air Force fitness assessment program on base was formerly administered by government civilian personnel, however, the 50th Space Wing began executing the program through military augmentees in August 2013 due to Air Force mandated civilian personnel cuts.

"We use a version of the fitness assessment cell, but it is now managed through the 50 FSS and ultimately, the wing," said Maj. Justin Long, 50th Force Support Squadron commander. "We man it through an augmentee program, where we have individuals from across the wing man the fitness assessment cell to manage and conduct our fitness testing program."

Staff Sgt. Cody Ott, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron, and primary wing fitness program manager, admits he felt slightly overwhelmed when he became the wing's first fitness program manager, but that leadership and his teammates throughout the wing have helped him make a smooth transition.

"I had a lot of people around me making sure I got what I needed to succeed," he said. "I spent a lot of time reading the Air Force Instruction on the fitness program and received a constant flow of questions from a wide variety of people on base."

Long explained that the essential elements of the Air Force fitness assessment have not changed.

"We kept the process similar," he said. "Previously we had one fitness assessment cell monitor who received assistance from 50 FSS. Now, we conduct the test in the same manner, we just have a different person in there."

And that person will change every six months.

The 50th Mission Support Group, 50th Operations Group and 50th Network Operations Group will rotate responsibility for providing a wing fitness program manager.

Ott is due to relinquish his role in mid-February, when 2nd Lt. Mark Skinner, 2nd Space Operations Squadron, will assume the post.

"The response from the wing is that Cody [Ott] and Tech. Sgt. Eddylou Potts, 50th Security Forces Squadron and alternate wing fitness program manager, have done an excellent job leading the program," Long said. "They were our first augmentees to fill these positions, they helped us establish the program and it has proven to work well. Additionally, the physical training leader augmentees, Capt. Joanna Everett, 1st Space Operations Squadron; Staff Sgt. Eugene Hough, 50th Operations Group; 1st Lt. Kayla Lewandowski, 22nd Space Operations Squadron and Staff Sgt. Sam Bessinger, 50th Space Communications Squadron have done a great job supporting the program."

Ott said he has enjoyed his time as fitness program manager, but it has been a challenge.

"You have people who think you're awesome when they walk out with a passing grade and some who just aren't going to be your friend if the test doesn't turn out well for them," he said. "My advice for the next program manager is: If you're not a people person, learn to be. You deal with every person on base who wears a uniform, from the guys just arriving from technical school, all the way up to the wing commander. Remember that you never fail anyone, they fail themselves by not preparing. Integrity and consistency will be the keys to success."

Long said Air Force members who are interested in serving as wing fitness program manager should approach their chain of command, including their supervisor and squadron commander because candidates are vetted and selected in that manner.

There are criteria for the position. Candidates must have scored a 90 or above on their most recent fitness assessment, have no negative quality force indicators and present a professional image.

The program also uses wing physical training leaders, who serve in a part-time capacity on testing days. Those individuals are selected the same way as the fitness program manager and are held to the same qualifying criteria.

Like the fitness program manager, the wing PTLs will also rotate, on a four-month basis, to provide continuity with the FPM.

Chief Master Sgt. Lavon Coles, 50 SW command chief, believes the people who fill these positions are performing a critical role for the wing.

"Fitness is directly linked to readiness," he said. "Selecting the right Airmen to administer the fitness assessment cell is vital to maintaining that readiness ethos."

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