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OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Senior Airman Gabe Groshong, 24, of Lancaster, Pa., is typical of most airmen struggling through Osan’s current six-week PT Boot Camp.

Groshong, of the 303rd Intelligence Squadron, is sweating it out because he’s already in the Fitness Improvement Program, mandatory for airmen who’ve flunked their Air Force fitness test twice.

At 5 feet 6 inches tall with a 40-inch waist, he said he wants to drop four to five inches from his belt line and improve his run time.

"It’s a wonderful program, ’cause I’m a person who needs motivation to get to the gym. Once I get to the gym I don’t have a problem," Groshong said. "Where you think you’re going to stop, they push you to the next level."

On the boot camp’s second day he had trouble with the 2.5-mile run.

"Halfway through, I wanted to stop," he said. "They just kept things going: ‘You’re doin’ good, keep goin.’ … If I had been working out on my own, I would have just stopped."

Not everyone in the boot camp is trying to lose weight.

Senior Airman Nicole Jackson, 21, of Enterprise, W.Va., stands 5 feet 4 inches and weighs 112 pounds. She wants to gain pounds and strength in her upper body and legs.

Jackson, a mechanic with the 51st Maintenance Squadron, needs it to move around the heavy equipment she works with — diesel generators, flood lights, heavy carts with heavy tow bars, among them.

"Basically every piece of equipment I work with is bigger than me," she said. "Being a mechanic, you’ve got to have very good strength … I’m hoping this will build my strength, so I don’t have to ask for help so much."

She said she likes the boot camp.

"It’s hard, but it’s fun. The soreness lets me know I’m doing my best."

E-mail Franklin Fisher at:

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