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Editorial: PT changes needed now

Aug. 22, 2013 - 05:12PM   |  
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For the past three years, Air Force leadership has updated policy guidance on physical training every six months, usually to clarify confusion over PT test rules.

The changes often seem minor or administrative, but even the smallest modifications can affect whether airmen pass or fail, and ultimately affect their careers. After a change in January, for example, commanders are authorized to invalidate scores for airmen who were sick or injured during their tests so that those airmen can re-test after they recover. Previously, commanders could only invalidate test scores of airmen who could not complete the test, unfairly penalizing those who pushed through the test but received low scores.

An update was due again in July that would have coincided with the conclusion of a six-month review of the waist measurement portion of the test.

But neither happened. Instead, guidance identical to the memo issued Jan. 3 was reauthorized Aug. 2 for a full year.

But Air Force officials are working on PT changes that would take effect Oct. 1.

And the waist tape review is on its way, too, Air Force leaders promise. Meanwhile, there are thousands of airmen who passed the pushup, situp and run components but “flunked” the PT test because their waist measurements exceeded standards — standards that don’t factor in height.

With October looming, Air Force leaders owe it to airmen to quickly finish work on the new PT rules and make the waist measurement part of a health assessment, not a make-or-break portion of the PT test.

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