In an attempt to scale back exposure to Airmen and to further slow the spread of COVID-19, Air Force officials have now announced that all official fitness testing is suspended until Oct. 1.
Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel, and Services, said in a signed memo, “Airmen remain our top priority, and that we will ensure their health and safety as we maintain our force readiness posture.”
“When testing resumes, the Air Force will take a scientific approach to reintegrate official fitness assessments,” Kelly said. “All policies and procedures should reinforce physical distancing, use of private protective equipment, Airmen health and private hygiene, and cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting workspaces and customary areas.”
Back in March, military officials had canceled fitness assessments until June 1. Airmen who were scheduled to check-in, either in March or April, received new testing dates that were delayed by six months.
According to the latest change, which is subject to local health conditions, “Commanders shall begin assessing Airmen’s fitness on Oct. 1, 2020 contingent upon base fitness centers being reopened and native state/country travel and movement restrictions being lifted.”
Additionally, commanders may extend this suspension even further if movement restrictions and physical fitness centers remain closed.
In a more bizarre note, according to the memo, the abdominal circumference component will be temporarily suspended through Oct. 1, 2021, or until further notice. During this period, all Airmen will receive a temporary, one-year abdominal circumference component exemption, and their next scheduled test date will be based on their overall fitness score. This one-year temporary abdominal circumference exemption will take precedence over any other shorter-term temporary abdominal circumference exemptions.
The Marines have already instituted a similar policy. Thanks to special new exemptions put in place during the pandemic, marines who fall outside the Corps’ height and weight standards won’t immediately face the dreaded tape test.
The United States Marine Corps has temporarily halted body composition measurements to satisfy distance requirements set in place during the coronavirus crisis, the service announced last week. No marines are going to be assigned to the Body Composition Program, which is consistent with a force-wide administrative message. For now, though, “no new BCP assignments will be made until otherwise directed,” the administrative message states.
On May 14 in Korea, Garrison Humphreys’ Headquarters and Headquarters Company participated in the new “Operation Outdoor 007” pilot program. The program, initiated by USAG Humphreys Commander Col. Michael F. Tremblay, was created to promote and encourage personnel to train outdoors at least once a week, for a minimum of seven hours, in an attempt to minimize close contact while retaining physical sharpness.
Tremblay said, the following as he kicked off the event:
“What we are trying to do is bring a new concept to the Army. This period has been tough for many of us… and being outdoors has proven to be healthy. So, we are trying to start a new initiative where we can begin to transition to doing most things outside, which is our first step in doing that. I appreciate you being the first to kick this off.”
None of the other branches have followed suit with the Marines and Air Force. Many have wondered about the promotion board and their photos. With barber and alteration shops still closed, will the military waive pictures for the next promotion board?
But don’t get your hopes up yet there, recruit. All selections, regardless of branch, will undoubtedly be testing your physical fitness to the fullest.