22nd CS offers tips for PT success

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
The 22nd Communications Squadron has recently proved that PT excellence is also one of its skill sets, besides providing communication and technical support.

The squadron completed its 115th day without an official physical fitness test failure on July 10. The unit's leadership has no plans to end its success streak and are pleased to share their secrets to hold a strong physical training program.

"I think our secret to success is aggressiveness," said Maj. Samuel Miller, 22nd CS commander. "We identify the folks who need help quickly and make sure they get the assistance they need to get over their hump."

The squadron's physical training team has constructed a Back-to-Basics program, a closely monitored workshop designed to help Airmen upkeep their physical standards.

"It's an athletic program where our PTLs spend an additional hour before each duty day with Airmen who have not passed an area in their mock physical fitness test," said Staff Sgt. Christian Brathwaite, 22nd CS Quality Assurance and Training NCO and lead PTL.

When Airmen are placed into the BTB program, their workout regimen doubles. It gives physical fitness leaders an opportunity to focus on individuals and help them make improvements on their weakest areas.

Some Airmen may find the program to be a little extensive, said Brathwaite, but he added that BTB is very effective at quickly getting Airmen back on track.

All members in the squadron are required to do a mock physical fitness test on a regular basis. Brathwaite and his team of PTLs document scores on a spreadsheet and keep track of everyone's progress throughout the BTB program.

While Brathwaite is responsible for helping others improve their physical health, he was not always able to lead by example.

"There was one instance when I was going through a difficult time in my life, I failed a mock test," said Brathwaite. "Getting back on track was one of the toughest things I have been through, so I try to be as empathetic as possible with the people I work with."

Brathwaite's road-to-recovery gave him an insight that has helped him become a better PTL.

"It's not always a matter of physical strength that affects someone's performance," said Brathwaite. "It's our job try to identify what the problem is, whether it's physical or mental and help them work through it."

If an Airman has an issue that is outside a PTLs area of expertise, a PTL can guide the individual to other supportive agencies offered on base such as the Health and Wellness Center and the Airmen and Family Readiness Center.

A failure to pass a mock test can be disheartening to an Airman, so the 22nd CS leadership tries to make the BTB program a positive experience.

"I think the positive attitude toward it is really what made our program successful," said Miller, "We don't view the Back-to-Basics program as a punishment; it's more about being good wingmen and helping each other out."

According to Brathwaite, the quality of a PT program is not determined by the amount of people passing a specific test; rather, it depends on the amount of people who are challenged on a regular basis.

"Until we're all scoring 100's, there's always room for improvement, and rewarding people is a good way to get us there," said Brathwaite."

The Air Force physical fitness test is based on a 100 point system, which the 22nd CS breaks down the points into tiers of five.

If an Airman improves his score from 85 to 90 points, he will enter a new tier and will receive new privileges such as freedom to perform PT on his own on certain days.

"We like to empower people to work out on their own," said Braithwaite. "There's no need to hold everyone's hand so closely if they're doing such a good job."

Ultimately, the physical training programs here exist to prepare mission-ready Airmen for whatever tasks are assigned to them, domestic and abroad. Whether someone is training for an upcoming PFT, deployment or just to improve their health, PTLs are available to lend a helping hand.

"The most important part is seeing everyone's faces when they all pass their test," said Brathwaite. "There is nothing more rewarding for a PTL than getting a 'high five' from someone who has worked so hard to pass their test."