Units compete for ‘fittest squadron’

1st Lt. Matt Suhre
86th Air and Space Communications Group

The 86th Air and Space Communications Group held its second annual Fitness Challenge Nov. 9, inciting friendly competition between the group’s squadrons to win the title of “Combat Fittest Squadron.”

“We started this competition last November to encourage our folks to get ready for the new Air Force fitness standards we were to be tested on in early 2004,” said Col. Mike Lewis, 86th ACOMG commander. “It was such a hit, we decided to make it an annual event.”

The 1st Air and Space Communications Operations Squadron, 1st Combat Communi-cations Squadron and 1st Commu-nications Maintenance Squadron each vied for victory, but in the end the 1st CMXS defended its title.

“I believe it’s a tribute to the solid physical training regimen we’ve instituted in 1st CMXS, here at Kapaun,” said Capt. Chris Schlak, 1st CMXS acting squadron commander. “Our squadron commander, Lt. Col. Rod Radcliffe, deployed for 120 days last month, but he’s had our folks running the hill from the Vogelweh fitness center to the Rod and Gun Club regularly for well over a year … it’s a killer!”

The group also gave recognition to the fittest male, Lt. Col. Jeff Maxwell, 1st CBCS commander who scored a perfect 100 points, and the fittest female, Capt. Karen Bailey, 1st CBCS combat support flight commander who scored 96.25 points.
Additionally, Airman 1st Class Scott Shillibeer, 1st CBCS tactical systems controller, won a one-way ticket with Delta Airlines for being the fittest E-4 and below.

At the end of the events, group leadership provided a final challenge. Colonel Lewis and his combat wingman, Chief Master Sgt. Rick Lechner, 86th ACOMG superintendent, challenged other wingman pairs to a push-up competition. The colonel and chief not only won the competition with 176 combined push-ups, but also the combined age category as well.

“It’s all to spur on competition and camaraderie within the group and keep us fit to fight,” said Chief Lechner.

The fitness competition was based on the Air Force Physical Fitness Test, allowing group members to count their score as an official annual test score. Afterwards, physical training leaders logged the group event into FitLinxx terminals.

Colonel Lewis awarded nine U.S. Air Forces in Europe Combat Fitness sweatshirts to group members accumulating more than 50,000 FitPoints, 21 hats and pairs of socks to Airmen earning more than 30,000 FitPoints and 102 T-Shirts to those in the 15,000 FitPoint Club.

The 86th Airlift Wing Commander, Col. Robert Kane, was on-hand to provide opening remarks and stressed the importance of physical fitness toward combat readiness. He complimented the group for taking fitness to a new level with its sustained Combat Fitness performance.

“This is just another example of 86th Airlift Wing members ‘getting it’ when it comes to physical fitness,” said Colonel Kane. “One of the first requirements for readiness is fitness, and accomplishing it together helps build esprit de corps.”