Airmen at March Air Reserve Base have a new way to help keep themselves in Fit-2-Fight shape during A and B Unit Training Assembly (UTA) weekends. The 452nd Air Mobility Wing Rising Six council has started a pacing program to help Airmen improve their run times during the physical readiness test.
The program was created by two Rising Six members, Tech. Sgt. David House, 452nd Security Forces Squadron and Senior Airman Kyla De Mesa, 752nd Medical Squadron, after noticing several Airmen struggling with the run portion of the Air Force Fit 2 Fight test.
“We created the program for the purpose of helping and motivating Airmen that may be struggling in this area of the Fit-to-Fight test or for those that simply want a better run time,” said House. “Our vision and goal is to keep in step with the Air Force’s Wingman Concept, as well as help to create a force that is always fit and ready for any challenge that may be presented to them.”
Started in 2009 as a volunteer-based group designed to promote professional development, welfare, and morale of junior enlisted, the Rising Six is comprised of and represents all junior enlisted in the ranks of E-1 through E-6, assigned to March. House believes the pacing program is a way to help Airmen better their career path, not only those who are trying to improve their physical readiness, but also through the volunteer efforts of the pacers as well.
“Our main goal is ensuring we develop quality Airmen and prepare them for future responsibilities and greater roles in their Air Force career, by volunteering, younger Airmen can network and find mentors to help them along.” House said. “The Airmen that have made a decision to give their time and efforts in this program are making a difference and are keeping true to the wingman concept, it’s also a great way to give back to our immediate community here at March.”
Though the program has shown much progress in its early stages, there is a need for more volunteers, particularly on the B UTA weekends, to help keep up with the amount of Airmen who are taking advantage of the benefits from the help being provided.
“The program is currently in need of unit pacing representatives and has a great need for pacers during the B UTA” House said. “Several Airmen have volunteered their time and their energy to this program and these Airmen will sometimes run three or four times every UTA in a gracious effort to motivate others.”
For those who wish to volunteer for the program, House says it is important to remember that they are held to the rules and regulations of the Air Force’s testing program. The main goal is to help Airmen through motivation, not physically assist them.
“They need to realize we are here for motivational purposes, we cannot physically assist anyone with the run, we can assist mentally and emotionally by keeping the runner excited and motivated, but they are not allowed to touch or carry anyone, House stated. “In addition, every Airman that volunteers must have a 90 percent or better on their Fit-to-Fight test and must be approved by their supervisors.”
Although this program is available, House stated that there are simple ways Airmen can help themselves improve their run times.
“Don’t wait until two weeks before your test to start running, ensure you have proper running shoes, don’t eat anything heavy before running, be sure you are well hydrated and don’t worry about the other runners,” he said.
Airmen who wish to sign up to receive pacing instruction can email House at firstname.lastname@example.org or Staff Sgt. Mason Chao at email@example.com.
Volunteers wanting to join the program can contact House or De Mesa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Airmen wanting to learn more about the Rising Six and all they have to offer can attend meetings to find out what other volunteer opportunities are available to them.
“The Rising 6 is here for the Airmen, we invite all Airmen out to our meetings at the Hap Arnold Club the Saturday of the A and B UTA at 10 a.m.,” said House.