The Air Force is keeping the tape test but giving some airmen who fail the abdominal circumference portion of the PT test a second chance, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said today in a message to airmen. (Colin Kelly / Staff)
The Air Force is keeping the tape test but giving some airmen who fail the abdominal circumference portion of the PT test a second chance, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said today in a message to airmen.
“If an airman fails the AC portion of the test, and passes each of the other three components, we’ll measure that airman using the Body Mass Index (BMI) taping guidance in DoD instructions,” Welsh said in the message, which was obtained by Air Force Times. “If the airman meets the DoD BMI standard, they pass the PFT.”
This and other changes to the physical fitness test will take effect Oct. 1, Welsh said.
For years, airmen have complained that they can pass the pushups, situps and run portions of the PT test but fail the tape test because they are too big. Airmen have told Air Force Times they have resorted to drastic measures, including slathering themselves in hemorrhoid cream, to meet the waist measurement requirements.
Between October 2010 and March, a total of 30,174 airmen failed the waist measurement component of the test, according to the Air Force. Of those, 5,141 airmen passed the other three parts of the PT test — 348 of whom scored well enough on the pushups, situps and run to get a passing score overall if the tape test results were not included.
Despite the perception among airmen, few have been kicked out of the Air Force for failing only the waist measurement component of the PT test, Welsh said.
“The fact is that since we started the new Fitness Program, only 76 airmen have been separated from the Air Force for failing only the AC portion of the test multiple times,” Welsh said. “That equates to 0.006% of the Airmen tested. It’s certainly difficult for the airmen involved, but it really doesn’t happen that often.”
Welsh’s message announced three other changes to the PT test.
“First, we’re realigning the fitness appeal process back to wing commanders,” he said. “Second, passing standards are being adjusted for airmen who can only test on one component of the Fitness Assessment, and third, we’re changing and simplifying the walk test.”
Both Welsh and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody have also heard airmen say the Air Force needs to do a better job documenting fitness performance reports, so the service is looking into the issue as part of a wider review of performance reports and the promotion system. The results are due soon.
“See you in the gym!” Welsh said.