By W.E. Linde
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, TX — The Air Force has unveiled an innovative but controversial new physical training test program that gives airmen the ability to choose from a “menu” of options to demonstrate their fitness levels. For the aerobic fitness portion, in addition to traditional running, airmen can choose speed walking or — perhaps less embarrassingly — drive a Segway personal transporter to complete a rudimentary two-mile obstacle course.
“Almost immediately after we announced that walking was going to be an option on the PT test, we started getting a lot of guff from folks inside and outside of the Air Force,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, the deputy chief of staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services. “So we listened, and added the Segway as a more dignified alternative to walking.”
The “Segway Sprint” requires that the airman not be allowed to listen to music and that the course be lined with service members from other branches to watch them in judgmental silence. There is no time requirement since the event feels like it takes forever no matter how long it actually lasts.
“Driving a Segway for a couple miles is monotonous as hell and requires a highly developed ability to stay focused while you wish you were somewhere else less humiliating,” explained Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass. “But it sure is better than walking.”
Reaction to the Segway option from airmen has so far been mixed.
“I like the idea,” said Master Sgt. Tayler Macintire, a first sergeant stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. “It’d be better if they incorporate other tech too. I mean, if you can use Waze to find a faster PT route, you shouldn’t be punished for that.”
In addition, new options available to the other parts of the PT test include swapping out traditional sit-ups for a game of hacky sack, and instead of push-ups airmen can opt to pretend to be Captain America fighting the Winter Soldier for at least 30 seconds.
The new options will be rolled out starting in January 2022 when another entirely new test is likely to be proposed to replace it.
W.E. Linde (aka Major Crunch) writes a lot. Former military intelligence officer, amateur historian, blogger/writer at DamperThree.com. Strives to be a satirist, but probably just sarcastic. Twitter @welinde.