Fitness in the face of adversaries

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Devyn Waits
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Serving in the U.S. Air Force requires commitment to a set of standards that support all aspects of an Airman’s life.

These standards, recently referenced by the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, JoAnne Bass, in her letter to the force addressing standards, are a key component in upholding the Air Force core values.

“Our chosen profession is that of a higher calling, in which we hold ourselves to higher standards,” said Bass. “It is imperative we live by this principle… We must move out on mission command. And we must set high standards and execute to them because the line between average and elite airpower is razor thin.”

Keesler Airmen take responsibility for their physical fitness training, maintaining healthy lifestyles and habits that support combat readiness.

“It’s not only important to pass your physical fitness test for the Air Force standard,” said Staff Sgt. Cody Moss, 81st Training Wing Staff Agencies unit deployment manager. “It’s important for the combat readiness aspect. Fitness not only sharpens your physical strength, but it helps with mental health as well.”

There are several fitness facilities on Keesler. The Blake Fitness center offers 24/7 access to CAC-holders and offers many amenities including weight machines, cardio machines, a stretching room, racquetball courts, group fitness classes and more.

“We have two pickleball courts and a basketball court,” said Tabatha Thompson, 81st Force Support Squadron fitness and sports director. “We have our weight rooms and two cardio rooms, so we offer everything from treadmills and ellipticals. We also have two stair climbers and your traditional bikes.”

Two of the other gyms are the Dragon Fitness Center, temporarily closed for renovations, and the Triangle Fitness Center where technical training students can build strength and improve performance.

“You can visit any of the fitness centers,” said Thompson. “We have inclusive workout programs, and we have our incentive programs that we hold monthly. Most of the group fitness classes are certified to be on the fitness improvement program, so if you need a little help improving your fitness score, you’ll come here.”

For those who prefer exercising outdoors, the I-81 Running Track, the Crotwell Track or the Triangle Track are available for use.

Another outdoor resource is the BeaverFit Boxes located near the dorms near the triangle, which can host up to 20 people at a time.

“There are several squadrons that have the BeaverFit boxes and have your functional fitness equipment,” said Thompson. “You have your typical barbells and weight plates.”

In addition, unit squadrons host PT sessions that are open to all Airmen.

The tracks, turf fields and fitness spaces at Keesler can be utilized for group workouts and boosting squadron morale.

“The Wing Staff Agencies sometimes invites other squadrons to face us in ultimate frisbee,” said Moss. “We’re trying to get that started and really encourage other squadrons to do the same. It boosts camaraderie and their health and fitness by joining our squadrons.”