The Magazine of the NJ National Guard
Volume 32 Number 2
v32 n2 contents

Guardlife Index

Alfors Is All For New Test
Photo and story by Sgt. 1st Class Robert Stephenson, NJDMAVA/PA
"The day isn't over until you get a workout in," is the mantra of Col. Ronald Alfors, Air Chief of Staff, New Jersey Air National Guard.

These words embody the latest directives from the Air Force that state all members must be physically fit. Commanders and supervisors are to incorporate fitness into the Air Force culture, establishing an environment for members to maintain physical fitness and health to meet mission requirements and deliver a fit and ready force.

Alfors takes his mission personally.

"What we need to do for the traditional Guard member is lead by example," notes Alfors, who says it was a pride thing for him. "I want to be able to say we are not requiring airman Smith to do something that the leadership has not bought into. You don't want them to do it in a way that says, I'm just trying to get a passing score."

On that count, Alfors has gone the extra mile. Literally.

"I've been working out over the years, and seriously running the last five," he says. "Last summer we did our fitness test and we got weighed during that period. I was 177 pounds; my waist was 35 and a half inches. And I actually did very well and maxed out all the events but I did not get a perfect score." Not content with those results, Alfors stepped up his regimen (see box) and this January, half a year later, he was tested again.

"We tested here in January and I now have a 30 and a half inch waist and I'm 155 pounds even," the wiry 52-year-old notes with pride. And he scored 100 points on the revised Air Force physical fitness test.

Not everyone in the Air Guard will lose 22 pounds, five inches off their waist, and max the total score on the test, but Alfors wants every Air Guard member to know that he is serious about the new Air Force physical fitness standards.

"We've turned the corner here particularly within the last year because I think it has sunk in over the previous two years that this is serious and it isn't going away," said Alfors. "A lot of this is trying to encourage people to be fit. The fitness test ends up being a score and a gauge, but the real emphasis is for people to be fit and to get on a program and hopefully on a frequency that is benefiting them."

There is a practical reason why he, and the Air Force, are placing more emphasis on fitness. Since the advent of the Global War on terrorism, the Operational Tempo for Air Guard deployments has increased. Air Guardsmen, are being deployed more frequently, for longer periods of time and to more hostile environments.

"Your ability to react, to keep your energy level up, to construct a base, or if you end up in a combat role, I don't think you can underscore the need to be fit," he stresses. "That's where the rubber meets the road. It's part of the job description. It has to be."

Editors Note: This is the first of a series of articles on improving or maintaining your fitness levels and overall health. If you have a fitness success story whether it is improving test scores or losing weight Guardlife would like to hear from you. Soldiers or Airmen please contact the NJDMAVA Public Affairs Office at (609)530-6950 with your success story.

(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs