Comprehensive Fitness program builds more resilient Airmen and families

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Story by TSgt Darnell Cannady on 11/15/2016
The Comprehensive Airmen Fitness program is a series of monthly events focused on Airmen assigned to the 480th ISRG at Fort Gordon. Their goal is to get all Airmen together who have common interests in hopes of building better relationships and meeting others that they may not have known from other units.

It consists of four quarterly events focused on all Air Force personnel stationed in the Central Savanna river area with the purpose of building resilient Airmen and reinforcing that every Airmen at Fort Gordon is part of the extended family. The first month of each quarter is a group focused event with the other two months of the quarter are focused on the unit.

"We also have the 5th Intelligence Squadron, the 315th Cyber Operations Squadron Detachment and we have our 139th Total Force partners here who are aligned with us," said Chief Master Sgt. Steven Latham, 480th ISRG superintendent. "We want to extend it out and have been systematically exposing all the Airmen here."

The first group Comprehensive Airmen Fitness day was in April with the theme of "Taking Care of Home." It began with a commander's call, followed by a community wide campus clean-up and a burger burn where the first sergeants and chiefs cooked for everybody. The event concluded with everyone participating in outdoor activities.

Airmen started suggesting and organizing events for the July one themed "Building a Community" due to the turnout of events that took place as part of the "Taking care of Airmen" theme. There were 18 total events such as cooking, archery, yoga, basketball, fishing, golf and shooting that were shaped by and for the 480th ISRG community.

"Our last event had over 400 participants," said Latham. "This might now look like a large number to someone from the outside but that's about 40% of our population. Keep in mind that we simultaneously run a 24 hours operation, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and much of our team is still at work on critical missions, deployments and temporary duties during that time."

As someone who hasn't fired a weapon in years, U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Christina George, 480th ISRG master resiliency trainer, had a positive experience trying the shooting range.

"I attended the shooting range event because the only opportunity I have gotten to shoot was in basic training," said George. "Having the experts and experienced marksmen there to provide basic range and gun safety provided me with a level of comfort that can only be found from structure when dealing with weapons. I would not feel comfortable doing something like this without that presence."

Each station contained experts who taught the event to Airmen of various experience level. At the shooting range, there were six volunteers from the community who were all certified and experts in what they did and they led her through a guided range. Sergeant George found out that she's a marksmen and ignited the flame to practice shooting.

"I called my husband afterwards and suggested that we go back to the range together sometime," she added. "It also made me reevaluate my own stance on weapons/weapons training/basic amendment rights/gun safety."

The final two group Comprehensive Airmen Fitness events will include a "Healthy Competition" themed event in October inspired by the Scottish Highland games and a "Recognizing Excellence and Developing Airmen" themed event in January beginning with an annual awards banquet and followed by tier developmental training.

"The Air Force's Comprehensive Airmen Fitness initiative is the best thing to happen to Airmen in my 19 years of service," said George. "Approaching Airmen as people with histories, lives, and experiences that happen outside of the uniform is the only way we will ever be able to truly provide the support and true family atmosphere that they need while they are wearing the uniform."

Even though the program is geared towards Air Force members, the 480th ISRG feels responsible for anyone who wears sage green boots.

"No man or women is on an island," said Latham. "As individuals, people are vulnerable to a plethora of challenges when we stand alone, but as a healthy resilient family we are better equipped to thrive and survive during those periods of difficulty."

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