News: Airmen get fit, ready with Recon
Story by Airman 1st Class Sean Crowe
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - The 305th Maintenance Squadron initiated a rigorous physical training program called “Recon” at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in late February 2013 to help service members improve their individual physical readiness and to reduce the number of fitness test failures.
Maj. Mark Szatkowski, 305th MXS commander, put the program into effect after to remediate service members who were not meeting physical readiness standards.
One of the sergeants who failed a PT test seemed unmotivated for PT. He is now one of the biggest advocates of our Recon Program, said Szatkowski.
Squadron policy mandates that any service member who receives an unsatisfactory PT test score must attend the Recon program once a day, five days a week. Service members can also volunteer to participate in the Recon program.
“The is very vigorous and structured,” said Szatkowski. “I think one of the greatest benefits of the program is having it among the 305th family.”
There are five physical training leaders and one unit physical training manager who currently head the program.
“There are a lot of benefits to being a PTL,” said Airman 1st Class Adam Beat, 305th MXS precision measurement equipment laboratory journeyman.”
The PTM oversees Recon and the PTLs conduct the physical training. The PTL position is a voluntary position that physically-motivated Airmen can seek.
“I enjoy seeing the progress people make and their sense of accomplishment,” said Airman 1st Class Michael Dionne, 305th MXS aircraft maintenance journeyman. “The program fosters a sense of camaraderie among us.”
The PTLs conduct two daily sessions at Dock 23 here which affords attendees flexibility in their work schedules. The training schedule rotates between cardio and strength training. Leaders have only canceled two days of training since the inception of the program.
“We do everything we can to motivate them,” said Szatkowski. “I will even go PT with members on their third PT tests to encourage them if they have already failed two tests.”
The only way for mandatory members of the program to graduate from Recon is to pass a PT evaluation. The PTM will track a graduate’s PT standard for a month to decide if the graduate should be enrolled in the program again.
The program has a 100 percent pass rate and a 65 percent failure-to-excellence rate for its members in its four-month life span. Every member takes a mock PT evaluation every Monday to track his or her progress in the program. No one has failed out of the program so far which has inspired other units’ service members to join the program.
“Commanders were very interested when I talked about the Recon program,” said Szatkowski. “Some of them decided to mandate their airmen who failed PT tests attend the Recon program. The only thing they have to do to join is provide a PTL.”
The units that have joined the program include: 32nd and 2nd Air Refueling squadrons, 305th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 305th Operations Support Squadron and 6th Airlift Squadron.
“My favorite part of Recon is the teamwork,” said Beat. “The hard works pays off when I see the rest of the team motivating someone. It lets me take pride in my unit.”