Support our mission
Members of the 18th Wing Headquarters staff, including Wing Commander Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, run 1.5 miles as part of their year-old physical training test at Kadena Air Base.

Members of the 18th Wing Headquarters staff, including Wing Commander Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, run 1.5 miles as part of their year-old physical training test at Kadena Air Base. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

Members of the 18th Wing Headquarters staff, including Wing Commander Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, run 1.5 miles as part of their year-old physical training test at Kadena Air Base.

Members of the 18th Wing Headquarters staff, including Wing Commander Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, run 1.5 miles as part of their year-old physical training test at Kadena Air Base. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

18th Wing Commander Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas squeezes out a few more sit-ups during the 18th Wing Headquarters staff's physical training test at the Risner gym at Kadena.

18th Wing Commander Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas squeezes out a few more sit-ups during the 18th Wing Headquarters staff's physical training test at the Risner gym at Kadena. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Master Sgt. Chas Hodge shows airmen a few different sizes of bowls, then asks them what size they would select for their morning cereal.

Most select a size that Okinawans refer to as “an American-sized portion” — and eating those portions is what brings some airmen to Kadena Air Base’s Health and Wellness Center, where Hodge serves as superintendent.

The center is on the frontline of the Air Force’s year-old “Fit to Fight” program, which replaced an annual exercise-bike test with a steady regimen of physical training, leading to a test that includes push-ups, sit-ups and a 1.5-mile run.

As of March 30, 951 people had registered for the center’s programs this year — 350 of them because of poor Air Force fitness-test scores.

In 2004, 3,200 people participated in Health and Wellness Center programs. The center didn’t keep figures on how many of those people came during the first three months of 2004, nor how many came because of poor physical training test scores.

With few statistics to go by, Kadena health and wellness officials are determining ways to measure the new physical training program’s effectiveness.

A seemingly upward trend in Health and Wellness Center program usage reflects recognition of the important role factors such as diet and stress play in fitness, said Air Force spokesman Maj. Michael Paoli.

“I think it’s becoming clear to people that you can’t stay in the Air Force if you don’t do well on the fitness test,” Paoli said.

Officers and senior noncommissioned officers plan to gather this summer to discuss how to weigh physical fitness when evaluating promotions.

Many Kadena officials said they can tell the added emphasis on fitness is working just by looking around.

“From my personal experience, I’ve seen people who clearly have lost weight,” said 18th Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas. “Just come by the base any morning at 7 a.m. and go to the gym, you’ll see how many people are in there.”

Most units are now in physical training three times per week, although Kadena is “still working toward that in some units,” Jouas said.

Airmen who score below 75 percent on their tests must take the Health and Wellness Center’s body composition classes, which review nutrition and other health factors. Airmen scoring below 70 percent must take the fitness improvement program, which delves in-depth into each person’s fitness regimen and makes recommendations.

“For example, someone will claim they exercise four times a week,” Hodge said. “But we’ll find out that they’re not exercising for 30 minutes, or that they’re not exercising at their target heart rate for 30 minutes. It may take them 12 minutes to get to their target heart rate, so they’re not getting the full benefit.”

Many airmen who struggle with the 1.5-mile run are smokers, Hodge said. The Health and Wellness Center offers classes to help those airmen quit smoking.

Any SOFA-status personnel can use the Health and Wellness Center’s nutrition and fitness services. For information or to make an appointment, call DSN 634-2499.

18th Wing commander gets ‘excellent’ results

The new emphasis on fitness isn’t limited to just the lower ranks, as Brig. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas showed during his own test with his 18th Wing Headquarters staff Wednesday.

Jouas, 47, completed his six laps around the Risner track in 11:02, giving him 43.5 out of a possible 50 points in the run.

Jouassaid he would have liked to run the course about 15 seconds faster; however, his overall score, including push-ups and sit-ups, put him in the “excellent” range for his age group.

“I’ll take it,” he said.

“A lot of people would take that,” replied another officer.

The Air Force is considering changes to the fitness program, Jouas said. Officials will consider whether to factor in altitudes while running, and whether the body mass index is the right measurement for fitness, he said.

— Stars and Stripes

twitter Email

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up