820th BDG PT program sets the bar

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
"When something happens and the Pentagon doesn't know who to call, they pick up that big, red phone - and it rings here," said Col. Randal Richert, 820th Base Defense Group commander.

The 820th BDG is a highly capable, quick reaction force whose home station mission is to prepare for when they are called upon.

An essential part of this preparation is their five-days-a-week PT program which ensures that all Airmen are well above the minimum standards.

"The goal of our programs is to have 95 percent of people in the 820th BDG score 95 percent or higher on the PT test," said 2nd Lt. Joshua Loomis, 820th Combat Operations Squadron intelligence officer. "The 820th BDG being a mobile, rapid response force, are required to carry lots of equipment and be physically fit at all times. We have an outside the wire mission on many deployments and any time you go outside the wire you are going to be in a physically demanding environment."

One program the 820th BDG uses to improve PT scores is Sergeant Rock PT.

"We use Sergeant Rock PT, which was implemented by Col. Richert, to max pushups and sit-ups," said Staff Sgt. Jon Smith, 820th COS training NCO. "It focuses on perfect form and going until failure. After a minute of an exercise you get a few seconds to stretch out then you start that exercise over for another 30 seconds."

Sergeant Rock PT includes a series of calisthenics focusing on proper form and runs varying in length. During the calisthenics, instructors keep a close eye on Airmen, correcting their form and motivating them.

"Sergeant Rock PT is the foundation on our PT program because it's specifically designed to help with the Air Force fitness test," said Loomis. "It uses different push up and sit up variations designed to develop that perfect Air Force pushup and sit up. It includes different types of runs anywhere from five miles to 100 meter sprints or less.

"I have noticed that even me being a physically fit person, my pushups and sit ups have been getting better, and that's because it is not built around a number to do," he added. "The program is built around your own failure and because everyone is different people are going to fail at different numbers. To improve you have to work around your own limits."

The 820th has given Sergeant Rock demonstrations to many commanders and chief enlisted personnel at Moody and other bases.

"We have instructional videos on the Sergeant Rock program and we have given demos at other bases," said Smith.

In addition to the Sergeant Rock program, the 820th also has a program for Airmen already above the excellent category.

"The newest program we've developed is the Troops in Optimal Physical fitness program," said Capt Trevor Ambron, 820 COS physician assistant and officer in charge of medical operations. "This was developed as a way to further push those individuals who scored 98 percent and higher in their latest PT test, currently 84 people in the 820th BDG. While these individuals have shown they have the motivation and dedication to achieve excellent scores, they can still benefit by being pushed outside their comfort zone.

"In order to facilitate this, the 820th BDG developed a 'high-end' fitness program," he added. This is a voluntary and collaborative program that allows its members the opportunity to provide input and suggestions into their workouts."

The goal of the 820th BDG's PT program goes beyond achieving an excellent score on the Air Force physical fitness assessment. The attitude of proficiency and not just qualification is one that the 820th BDG takes pride in.

"Through these different PT programs, the 820th BDG is developing a 'culture of competitiveness,"' said Ambron. "This fosters an attitude which carries over from our fitness training and has become part of everything we do here to include our weapons proficiency, combatives, and our airborne and air assault programs.

"At the 820th BDG we train for combat and if you think about it, combat really is the ultimate 'competition,'" he added. "When faced with an enemy you are competing for your life. The 'winner' gets to live and complete their mission."

These programs and training help the 820th BDG complete their mission, and helped contribute to the 93d Air Ground Operations Wing receiving a recent number one ranking in the Air Force for PT scores.