BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La --
A unit’s flag proudly wavered around Barksdale Air Force Base during a prestigious PT challenge involving members from both the 608th Air Operations Center and 608th Air Communications Squadron.
A 90-day-long program, known as the 608th AOC Commander’s Advanced PT Program, challenges participants to perform 3,000 sit-ups, 3,000 push-ups, 120-mile run/walk and complete a 6.08-mile ruck march, with an accumulation total of 608 points. All volunteer members who complete the challenge, receive a memento of completion and are added to a fitness plaque’s ingot. Volunteers, to include spouses and significant others, can pledge to complete a workout regime intended to encourage habitual fitness and unit morale.
With the conclusion of the ruck march as the capstone event, this marked the fourth PT challenge event completion since the program first initiated in 2014.
Those who complete the challenge are dubbed “Guardians,” who can then help track workouts and provide encouragement to those participating.
Within the group of Airmen who partook in the most recent PT challenge competition, nine completed the capstone event as their final requirement to be named a “Guardian of the Pride.”
“If you want to create a habit of physical well-being, you have to work out constantly,” said Tech. Sgt. Armando Ozuna, 608th AOC noncommissioned officer in charge of EUCOM Analytical Cell. “This program holds you accountable to that. You have to log what you did every day.”
Not only does the program help instill both physical and mental discipline, but serves as a way for Airmen to learn more about one another outside of the work environment.
“I’ve only been here for approximately two months, and doing this with the unit was a really good bonding experience,” said Airman 1st Class Tyler Brown, 608th AOC offensive duty technician. “I got to talk to each person one on one to find out who they are and what they do.”
The advanced PT program serves as a supplemental incentive on top of the units’ regular PT schedule, and according to Brown, brings additional positivity to the unit.
“Not only is this helping you physically, but also helps the unit with morale and esprit de corps,” Ozuna said. “Having the leadership participate from the top down just brings everyone together.”
The next challenge will take place in 2017, following a goal of a tri-annual event implementation.