Air Force administers new fitness prototype at Dover AFB

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Damien Taylor
  • 512th Arilift Wing
The Air Force Exercise Science Unit at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, traveled to Dover Air Force Base to further its development of the Tier 2 Physical Fitness Test Prototype.

More than 20 Airmen from active-duty, guard and reserve EOD units from nine states, including New York and Massachusetts, participated in an Explosive Ordnance Disposal prototype test Aug. 8-9 in a civil engineer squadron warehouse on base.

Dr. Neal Baumgartner, chief of the Exercise Science Unit, said unlike the Tier 1 test, which measures overall general health to meet Air Force-wide standards and perform daily tasks, the Tier 2 test would examine specific critical fitness capabilities of Airmen with specific jobs. EOD, along with AF battlefield careers, are the first to begin executing the Tier 2 test.

The Tier 1 test is the current AF-wide physical fitness test consisting of a 1.5-mile run, waist measurement, push-up and sit-ups.

For the Tier 2 test, the ESU analyzed EOD’s critical physical tasks required for mission success and designed 10 specific components to determine total force standards for its future implementation.

EOD Tier 2 Physical Test components:

• Run, 1.5 miles

• Row Ergometer, 1,000 meters

• Grip Strength

• Medicine Ball Toss, Back, Side and Log 20 pounds

• Trap Bar Deadlift, five repetition maximum

• Pull-up • Extended Cross Knee Crunch, metronome 56 beats per minute

• Farmer’s Carry, 4 x 25 meter, 100 meters

• Grip End prior to their arrival, the ESU team purchased and shipped crates containing testing equipment to Dover AFB and built the testing arena on site. Chief Master Sgt. Douglas Moore, EOD career field manager at the Pentagon, was a participant in the test as a firsthand evaluator of its benefits.

“First and foremost, our EOD Airmen will perform at a physical fitness standard directly correlated to EOD’s nine core mission areas,” said Moore. “Secondly, it will aid in recruiting individuals, male and female, who can meet the physically demanding requirements of the EOD career field. Third, the EOD Airmen will receive education from the ESU team on how to properly train to meet the demands of the job.”

Moore added guidance from the ESU team should help reduce injuries of EOD Airmen in garrison and on the battlefield, ultimately reducing health care costs as Airmen age and transition out of the Air Force. He said he thinks it’s important to note this change is not about the here-and-now.

“It’s about the long game,” said Moore. “It’s about changing the mindset of our Airmen to lead healthier lives and properly train, so they don’t suffer the litany of injuries that our current EOD force struggles with after nearly two decades of protracted warfare.”

Tech Sgt. Jessica Mefford, 512th CES EOD team leader, agreed. She helped coordinate ESU’s visit to Dover AFB as the host base to conduct testing.

“The Tier 2 test will keep us medically honest, and prepare us to do our jobs down range,” said Mefford. “It’s a step in the right direction for the career field and will help ensure our physical capability to save lives should we need to.”

The Tier 2 test also focuses on preparing recruits for successful careers as EOD technicians. Moore said prototype test would identify the Physical Ability Stamina Test standards recruits and retrainees must achieve before attending Basic Military Training and EOD technical training. By the time EOD candidates graduate technical training, they should be able to meet the new fitness standard. The Tier 2 test will most likely replace the Tier 1 test excluding the 1.5-mile run, but the ESU team hasn’t made the final determination. The ESU recorded each participant’s test results to establish the standard for the test’s future implementation. The test prototype took roughly five hours to administer.

“The new EOD Tier 2 test standard will provide tremendous benefits to the career field,” said Moore. “It will mean creating a healthier, sustainable force that will be asked to fight the Air Force’s future battles.”