Wing Commander Relieved for Failing Wt portion of PT test

Jason Perry

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http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2013/03/air-force-colonel-relieved-for-failing-pt-032013w/

The linked article discusses the relief of Colonel Tim Bush from command of the 319th Air Base Wing at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.

Something seems wrong here. I am not sure if there are some other facts we are missing, but this appears to be a one time failure. Looking at the attached photo, taken January 19, 2013, Col Bush, (second from the left) while a large man, he does not appear to be overweight. Sounds like the AF screwed up here. While the individual case seems troubling, it worries me how others may be treated.

 

TSgt Twitch

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He passed all portions but failed the waist, being as tall as he is he does not have to "look" over weight to have a 39" waist. To be honest he may be a scapegoat/example that they will target their officers-chances are he all ready had an approved retirement date or something and they just used him, to make it look like the princes pay with the paupers. A one time failure for an enlisted member in the AF can result in a referral EPR which is a career killer in today's AF with DOS rollbacks/CJR denials etc. So why should it be any different for those above?
 

Warrior644

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Bottom line...

Military standards apply to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces; no exceptions!
 

Jason Perry

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Hard (or impossible) to know if there is a "backstory." Maybe something else was going on and this was not just a case where he was fired for failing weight standards.

To me, it goes without saying that standards should be enforced equally. But, if this is just a one time fail, I tend to think this is troubling both for him and all other members (regardless of rank). The point of the PT program should be to train members to meet standards. It should not be a "gotcha, your fired" type of situation. I think that if this was indeed that type of situation, it is pretty short sighted. All the years and experience this officer has, seems like a poor way to manage personnel decisions. I would feel the same if this were a SrA, a MSgt, a Captain, or any rank individual. As a leader, he should have met the standards. But, if this is how the AF administers the PT program, I think there is something wrong. It concerns me that a "zero defect" approach is being taken and I think this leads to a potential for abuse.
 

Zomglawlz

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If it's anything like the Navy, there is definitely a back story we may never hear about.
 

usafaviator

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I have to say that, in witnessing almost 20 years of constantly changing AF PT programs and standards, the current program and the way it is administered/regs associated with it is the most broken I have ever seen. The bottom line on this test is that it is now used as a force shaping tool. I've sat in on meetings (fly on the wall) with WG and COCOM commanders when the RIF started and PT scores were the FIRST thing that was reviewed- if they weren't average to impressive, the file closed and nothing else was reviewed (i.e. AFSC, time in service, contributions to the AF, deployments, etc.)...that sm was put in the "cut" pile. The problem with this is that the AF is shaping out a large portion of their experience..NCO's/Senior NCO's and FGO's. We (military) have made this mistake in the past and had to place a large burden on our young troops to fill the leadership gap before they were ready to. This, undoubtedly, has affected the mission. You would think that we would learn from our mistakes- but history has a way of repeating itself.
 

ceilingfan

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Yes, there's gotta be more to this story that we may never know...but one thing we all know is that if it had been an E-3, sure wouldn't have made the 'Military Times'. I mean, we see on this site everyday that type of injustice taking place. Oh, and you better believe with the new budget restraints and attempt to radically change the culture within the military that things are just going to keep getting worse along those lines of injustice.
 

akbanone

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Academy grad, the right ticket punches, something stinks to high heaven. I agree about the shaping of the force with the way things are headed (another drawdown), I've been around long enough to see how we weeded out the senior guys after Vietnam, did it again in the first Gulf War, and are doing it again. Unfortunately that's the way it is (at least on the Army side) the chicken sh*t stuff will get you every time as that is the discriminator that will make or break you amongst your peers. That's just the way it is............
 

TSgt Twitch

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Amazing! Simply, amazing!
It is not even a slight against the individuals as much as it is the system- The CC's/shirts/ "council of otherwise useless senior nco's that sit in on death panels" have jag on speed dial and learn very quickly how to do ttheir i's and cross their t's and these airman and junior nco's and mroe and more mid-tier and senior nco's who have homesteaded and hidden out their entire career's go into battle against an entrenched force totally uneducated/misinformed by the same people that are hanging them out to dry behind their backs. I've sat in on these meetings and listened as my leadership has laid out a long term plan to get rid of somebody-give them enough rope to hang them selves then jump when they do. Many times by the time they notify a member of a decision it has allready been cleared through legal, documented, and decided LONG before.
 

TheNemos

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This is all too funny. My husband failed 5 PT tests, two granted they were his fault. He suffers from migraines and condition for running puts him in the ER or bedridden but he tried and finally gave in that he needed a profile. Little did we know for the 3 other PT tests that he was not on the correct profile. Legal told him, sorry cut and dry your getting out. The day prior to his separations board hearing flight medicine reviewed his case for the board and found that 3 of his 5 PT test. End result he received a rock star signed MFR from his Brig Gen. rescinding his separations. We tried to talk to his commander, 1SSGT, no one would listen. There are many instances that get through the cracks and after what we went through I could see this happening.

All this being said there are contributing factors that not everyone knows about and recently we've seen people say that there is no excuse to fail PT tests, but there are often errors in the system.
 

TheNemos

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Memory in process :) A friend of my husband worked out daily kind of a fitness junkie. He was 6'5 and very fit, but due to his height and waist he failed his PT test for not meeting the standard. We see this often for people who are taller than 6'0 who enjoy weight lifting and getting beefed up.
 

Warrior644

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It is not even a slight against the individuals as much as it is the system- The CC's/shirts/ "council of otherwise useless senior nco's that sit in on death panels" have jag on speed dial and learn very quickly how to do ttheir i's and cross their t's and these airman and junior nco's and mroe and more mid-tier and senior nco's who have homesteaded and hidden out their entire career's go into battle against an entrenched force totally uneducated/misinformed by the same people that are hanging them out to dry behind their backs. I've sat in on these meetings and listened as my leadership has laid out a long term plan to get rid of somebody-give them enough rope to hang them selves then jump when they do. Many times by the time they notify a member of a decision it has allready been cleared through legal, documented, and decided LONG before.
An interesting observation...

To that extent, "where was the check-and-balance system (i.e., IG, etc)?" to investigate continued non-compliance to the policies and regulations in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Best Wishes!
 

Ed Mercanti

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Hard (or impossible) to know if there is a "backstory." Maybe something else was going on and this was not just a case where he was fired for failing weight standards.

To me, it goes without saying that standards should be enforced equally. But, if this is just a one time fail, I tend to think this is troubling both for him and all other members (regardless of rank). The point of the PT program should be to train members to meet standards. It should not be a "gotcha, your fired" type of situation. I think that if this was indeed that type of situation, it is pretty short sighted. All the years and experience this officer has, seems like a poor way to manage personnel decisions. I would feel the same if this were a SrA, a MSgt, a Captain, or any rank individual. As a leader, he should have met the standards. But, if this is how the AF administers the PT program, I think there is something wrong. It concerns me that a "zero defect" approach is being taken and I think this leads to a potential for abuse.
What I normally saw in the Army is the officer/NCO getting clipped on their evaluation report, and that resulted in them being passed over for promotion. In the officer's case, if the officer is not already an 0-5, it will result in their removal from an active status due to being considered and not selected for promotion after two considerations.

The applicant normally wanted the BCMR to remove the evaluation report or to alter it to remove the negative comments and (if applicable) senior rater placement. And if already removed from an active status, restoration to active duty.

Hard to win that fight. If you exceeded the allowable body fat standards and don't have a physical profile allowing for the excess body fat, it was a proper evaluation.

A similar issue I ran into is officers who were given a GOMOR for DUI who were later found not guilty of the offense or the charges were dismissed. They wanted the GOMOR removed from their records. Never recommended approval on any of those. Invariably the officer was pulled over for erratic driving, refused a breathalyzer, and smelled of alcohol. The regulation says for an administrative reprimand, the only thing necessary is the belief of the officer imposing the reprimand that the officer had committed the offense...
 

Jason Perry

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What I normally saw in the Army is the officer/NCO getting clipped on their evaluation report, and that resulted in them being passed over for promotion. In the officer's case, if the officer is not already an 0-5, it will result in their removal from an active status due to being considered and not selected for promotion after two considerations.

The applicant normally wanted the BCMR to remove the evaluation report or to alter it to remove the negative comments and (if applicable) senior rater placement. And if already removed from an active status, restoration to active duty.

Hard to win that fight. If you exceeded the allowable body fat standards and don't have a physical profile allowing for the excess body fat, it was a proper evaluation.

A similar issue I ran into is officers who were given a GOMOR for DUI who were later found not guilty of the offense or the charges were dismissed. They wanted the GOMOR removed from their records. Never recommended approval on any of those. Invariably the officer was pulled over for erratic driving, refused a breathalyzer, and smelled of alcohol. The regulation says for an administrative reprimand, the only thing necessary is the belief of the officer imposing the reprimand that the officer had committed the offense...

Ed,

There are a ton of issues you raise here. Some I agree with, some not (the one's where I don't agree are complicated by the wildly different potential fact patterns and whether the issue is isolated to BCMR review or if you are talking later judicial review). Because there are so many, I won't go far in discussing them further. One thing you did raise- at least inferentially , though, that I will comment on is that if you exceeded allowable "body fat" standards, then you are always out of luck. I do think you are right that you would not have much luck getting relief from the BCMR. My thought, and taking this as a hypothetical as we don't know what the facts of this case are, but, let's say that just failing waist measurement without being actually overweight in terms of body fat percentage was the actual case here. I tend to suspect there might be a basis to challenge the adverse action based on "arbitrary and capricious" standards. That is, given different body types, I think it is clearly possible to have a large waist measurement, but not be overweight (or, perhaps, "over-fat."). I, again, tend to think that a regulation that does not take this into account may be open to a successful judicial challenge. All administrative agencies get a lot of deference in making their own regulations in absence of direction from Congress on a specific point. However, this is not limitless. I think it would be hard fought (and I am not sure that it would "win") but I think there is at least a plausible case in this (hypothetical) circumstance.

Really, though, that was not my point in posting the story in the first place. I really meant to share that even senior folks can face adverse action and an end to their career for what I think can be dubious reasons (not to say that all adverse actions are dubious- or that body fat standards are not appropriate regulations; I just think that as a policy, it seems dubious to fire an individual who the military has invested a lot of time and money in training and who has a lot of experience unless there are very serious deficiencies. My gut says that Colonel Bush's firing seems like a bad call). Also, I meant to share as a discussion point leading to the question if Ht/Wt/PT standards are going to be used more often as force shaping tool. (Just so folks don't think I am just a bleeding heart, when I was in Company Command, I certainly dealt with taking administrative action against those who did not meet standards. However, it was my philosophy (and my Battalion and Brigade Commander's philosophy) that the regulations and standards were meant to be achieved and the focus should be on getting Soldiers to meet the standards through training- demotions, separations, bars to re-enlistment, negative evaluations were tools to be used, but firing a head shot at someone on the first failure was not the preferred method).
 

Ed Mercanti

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Ed,

There are a ton of issues you raise here. Some I agree with, some not (the one's where I don't agree are complicated by the wildly different potential fact patterns and whether the issue is isolated to BCMR review or if you are talking later judicial review). Because there are so many, I won't go far in discussing them further. One thing you did raise- at least inferentially , though, that I will comment on is that if you exceeded allowable "body fat" standards, then you are always out of luck. I do think you are right that you would not have much luck getting relief from the BCMR. My thought, and taking this as a hypothetical as we don't know what the facts of this case are, but, let's say that just failing waist measurement without being actually overweight in terms of body fat percentage was the actual case here. I tend to suspect there might be a basis to challenge the adverse action based on "arbitrary and capricious" standards. That is, given different body types, I think it is clearly possible to have a large waist measurement, but not be overweight (or, perhaps, "over-fat."). I, again, tend to think that a regulation that does not take this into account may be open to a successful judicial challenge. All administrative agencies get a lot of deference in making their own regulations in absence of direction from Congress on a specific point. However, this is not limitless. I think it would be hard fought (and I am not sure that it would "win") but I think there is at least a plausible case in this (hypothetical) circumstance.

Really, though, that was not my point in posting the story in the first place. I really meant to share that even senior folks can face adverse action and an end to their career for what I think can be dubious reasons (not to say that all adverse actions are dubious- or that body fat standards are not appropriate regulations; I just think that as a policy, it seems dubious to fire an individual who the military has invested a lot of time and money in training and who has a lot of experience unless there are very serious deficiencies. My gut says that Colonel Bush's firing seems like a bad call). Also, I meant to share as a discussion point leading to the question if Ht/Wt/PT standards are going to be used more often as force shaping tool. (Just so folks don't think I am just a bleeding heart, when I was in Company Command, I certainly dealt with taking administrative action against those who did not meet standards. However, it was my philosophy (and my Battalion and Brigade Commander's philosophy) that the regulations and standards were meant to be achieved and the focus should be on getting Soldiers to meet the standards through training- demotions, separations, bars to re-enlistment, negative evaluations were tools to be used, but firing a head shot at someone on the first failure was not the preferred method).
i agree with you Jason. If I was the commander being relieved, I would immediately request an immersion body fat content test. If that test was within the allowable standards, I think he would have a very strong case in court.

Oh yes. I have seen the great fall. I remember back in 2006 (I think) when the ASA M&RA relieved the DASA (ARBA), the ARBA Director, and the ABCMR Director. Our agency also conducted grade determination boards which we adjudicated up to 0-8, and would conduct the grade determination boards for 0-9s. However, Sec Def took final action on those.
 

TSgt Twitch

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There is no longer a body fat standard in the AF- it is purely inches. They are taking the approach that the American heart assoc. says that "people with a 39 or over waist are at risk for greater health issues" in a recent AF time sarticle it was even admitted that the tape is not a one size fits all test BUT that it was the most cost effective and closest they could achieve and be a set standard for everyone.

As to the checks and balances, not sure where your from but where Im from our first step in the IG process is Group IG and they are useally chosen members from within the ranks of members from the group ( so they are allready part of the good 'ol boys club before they go over) so by time you get to step 2 doing anything appropriately the member is useally out the door.
 
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