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Success comes when units become like families

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Chuck Walker
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
You only need to pick up the latest copy of Air Force Times to realize one of the hot topics among Airmen and our leaders in today's Air Force is fitness, in particular the infamous Physical Training Test.

Being a 44-year-old prior-service (entered Air Force in 1987, got out in 1991, came back in 2000) Tech. Sgt. with 17 years of service, the PT Test is a little harder for me than most of my younger counterparts. I need extra work to be able to pass the test.

Enter my supervisor Master Sgt. Jeanette Spain, 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs superintendent, and my subordinate Senior Airman Samuel Taylor, 436th AW/PA journalist.

Both Spain and Taylor, along with Greg Davis, 436th AW/PA civilian photographer, and the 90-in-90 class ran by John Walters at the fitness center, helped to train me to get in shape to be able to pass, what for me was- a "must pass", no-fail test.

Spain helped me get ready for the test by giving me mock tests so I could monitor my progress and see how I was doing, and with those results, modified my training with the goal of passing the test in mind. Taylor and Davis each helped me build my strength by putting me through weight training and counting my repetitions on each of the machines.

With all of this extra training, along with the support of my supervisor and co-workers, I began to feel increasingly more confident in my ability to pass the test as my testing day approached. I saw improvement with each mock test in all categories, even passing one mock test with above 25 mile-per-hour winds blowing at the track.

A few days before my test I faced a personal dilemma. I was scheduled to take part in the base-wide Operational Readiness Exercise the first week in March and my Enlisted Performance was due to close out March 15, which meant I had only two days in which I could test, one that upcoming Sunday, or the Monday immediately following the ORE. However, with the test being on a Sunday, it meant my wife, Susan, and my kids would not be able to attend to cheer me on; my wife plays the piano at our church on Sunday mornings. I also didn't want to test immediately following the ORE, because I knew I would be exhausted from that week, with the 12-hour shifts, and was scared I would get "soft" that week with less available time to work out.

What to do...

After talking it over with Susan and Spain, I decided to take my test that Sunday.
When I arrived at the gym to take my test I was shocked to see almost my entire PA shop there to cheer and root me on. All of my leadership, as well as two of my subordinates, were there to show their support as I tackled the PT test.

1st Lt. Anthony Richardson, 436th AW/PA chief, paced me around the track and the rest of shop cheered me on, while 2nd Lt. Remoshay Nelson, 436th AW/PA chief of media, led the group in cheers.

Needless to say I passed the test with flying colors. But I was overwhelmed by the support, care and concern my shop showed in supporting me while I fought the test.

For my co-workers to show up on their day off to support me was awesome and something I will never forget. Tears come to my eyes when I think about it, because it is the little things in life that show you how much you are cared for and loved.

As a Christian and a minister, we teach about selfless love and giving up and of yourself for the benefit of others. My co-workers and -leadership lived this example by showing up and supporting in my time of need, and for that I will be forever grateful.

So, as you continue to tackle the challenges in your life, whether they are work, family, physical fitness, finances, whatever it may be, wouldn't it be nice if your co-workers showed the same concern for you that my co-workers did for me?

I challenge each of the units here on Dover AFB to support Airmen. Show them that you care and be there when they tackle the challenges in their lives. It will not only benefit those Airmen, but it will show the world that the Air Force truly is one big family.