Skip to comments.OUR OPINION: Air Force should loosen its waistline rules
Posted on 03/29/2013 8:26:50 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
Sure, rules are rules.
But some rules are just dumb. And any rule that forces out a highly trained, highly skilled and highly decorated 25-year veteran over a measurement as questionable as waist size is a rule that ought to be scratched.
The Air Force should pay attention to what its senior airmen and civilian critics are saying and lose the waistline standard.
The decision will come too late to help Col. Tim Bush, who was forced out of his job at Grand Forks Air Force Base because his 41-inch waist exceeded the standard by 2 inches.
But maybe itll help the next Air Force Academy graduate, Bronze Star winner and former presidential advance agent for Air Force One whose career hangs in the balance because of black markings on yellow tape.
Its clear that the service needs its people to be healthy and in good shape. Its clear that theres an appearance factor involved: Americans expect their all-volunteer Armed Forces to look good in uniform.
But its also clear that in this case (and many others; more about that below), neither of those things applied. Col. Bush cut a fine figure in uniform. Hes 6-foot-1, so his waist is in proportion to his height.
And his fitness isnt in question, given the fact that he passed the services requirements for push-ups, distance running and so on.
This suggests that the services waist-measurement standards are arbitrary. Arbitrary and unjust: Airmen, like all of society, come in different sizes and shapes, bone structures and metabolism rates, the Air Force Times newspaper editorialized in 2010.
Yet such diversity is not factored into what the Air Force considers its picture of health. Thats not fair. Air Force leaders need to craft new standards that allow for such differences and key on ensuring that airmen are fit to do their jobs.
If Bush had been an outlier, the Air Force might have been more justified in its enforcement. But thats not the case either.
There are ample stories of airmen resorting to extreme and dangerous measures such as starvation diets and laxatives to meet the Air Forces waist-measurement portion of the new physical training test: One who runs eight to 10 miles a day yet resorted to spending $12,000 on two liposuction surgeries to get her waistline within standards, the Air Force Times editorial continues.
Another struggles to stay trim, although he has worked out so much he had to have two knee replacements. Others are spending dangerous amounts of time in saunas or wrapping themselves in plastic to induce sweat.
Those are signs of standards that are based on fantasy, not reality. They need to be crafted with more care.
As Tim Lamb points out in his letter on this page, it was Army Gen. Stormin Norman Schwarzkopf himself a big man who revamped the Armys weight standards. I got a copy of the Washington Redskins roster and pointed out that not a single one of those athletes could qualify under the existing height-and-weight rules, Schwarzkopf writes in his autobiography.
Theyd all have gotten kicked out of the Army.
Today, its the Air Force thats losing its Pro Bowl defensive linemen, so to speak. The service should retract its flexible tapes and find a less arbitrary, more meaningful and more widely accepted standard.
Common sense always required.
In 1972 one of my fellow Sargent’s was 6’3” & 205.
He was a rock solid martial arts expert.
He got jacked up at a physical and told he had to lose 6 lbs, to get back “under weight”.....
I told him to go see the base commander...but he decided it wasn’t worth it.
As for belly size maximums....41”....really?
My doctor told me I needed to lose weight to meet the standards. I challenged her v to a pushup contest. I did 30 fast ones. We agreed on a weight about 30 lbs over the standard.
They are using it for “force shaping”.
This, indeed, is ridiculous.
On the other end of the spectrum are our policemen and EMT’s. My neighbor was transported to the hospital last week in an ambulance because of a heart related problem. There were only two EMT’s. One drove and the other had to ride in the passenger’s seat. He was way too large to fit behind the steering wheel and could not manage to get his butt up into the back of the ambulance. Fortunately one of our other neighbors is an M.D. and rode in the back of the ambulance to the hospital.
Their explanation for having the obese one working was because they were shorthanded.
You mean like women in combat, and faggots in foxholes?
For the service, why don't they do muscle mass/fat ratios instead of just weight and waist? Other interesting stats: Average LAPD Waist size: 33. Average Chicago PD Waist size: 43.
Proportion? OK to have a 40" wasit with a 40" inseam.
Lets lose all the standards. With any luck, we will soon have nothing but fat lesbians filling out the ranks.
The AF is concerned about how their Airmen look. But this same officer could go out and march in a gay pride parade in tight shorts and black stockings and that would be just fine. Other military members of the same sex can wear their uniforms in the gay pride parades and kiss each other while marching down the street.
Yet, their concerned about appearance.
That's true ... and yet it sounds like satire.
Yet, their concerned about appearance.
Does any of this really matter?
America is no longer a country worth defending.
That America is dead and gone.
The 40” rule is a typical example of governmental idiocy. In fact, when I was in, your physical fitness score included a waistline measurement that started penalizing any waist over, IIRC, 32 inches. I don’t remember if females had a smaller standard.
40” came from a POPULATION study that associated a 40” or greater waistline with increased heart disease. Apart for the fact that heart disease doesn’t usually cripple people until past military ages, the study was intended to give doctors a ‘factor’ that might make them explore the patient’s health further. It was never, ever meant to be a rule applied to everyone.
When the rule came out, I had 2 guys working for me at both extremes. One was a slender, 5’7” Filipino who had a 28 inch waist - and shoulders to match. Another was a Master Sergeant who had to turn sideways to get his shoulders thru the door frame. Slight exaggeration, but his shoulders were huge. Only a government worker could conclude they both needed the same size waist. His wrist matched my elbow...
In fact, we had a gal in the office who was 5’ 1” and MAYBE 95 lbs. I think she had a 23” waist, but she was built to match it. On a deployment, who do you want - a guy who could lift 100+ lbs with one arm, or a gal who didn’t even WEIGH 100 lbs?
They need to use BMI or some more sophisticated metric for fitness. I have a friend who is trying to get into the reserves who is a very muscular 210 pounds. If he loses the 35 pounds required he definitely will be going deep into muscle. loss.
I wish they would strictly enforce the physical requirements.
True. Once you hit 15 years, or so, for many it’s a struggle. Part of the job. My knees and hip fexors remind me often of the miles I put in to make it to 26 years. It’s not easy at all.
I tend to agree -in my opinion the 'physical appearance' should be more guideline rather than requirement with a system in place to handle exceptions exceptionally e.g. waiver. The actual 'physical ability' requirement is what matters.
He didn’t pass. Not at all.
The Air Force has several components. The run is worth 60 points, the waist measurement is worth 20, and pushups and situps are worth 10 apiece. Maxing out all of them gives you a perfect 100, 90 or above is considered “excellent”, and below 75 is failing.
However, they also have minimums for each category. Not meeting the minimum for ANY standard is considered an automatic failure, regardless of overall score. So if you max your run and waist, but can’t do the minimum number of pushups in a minute, you still fail even if you get over a 75.
Furthermore, I have served with a high number of Airmen who have been 6’1” or above. Not a single one of them had a problem passing the waist measurement. I would know, because I was the PTL that was taping them.
Finally, it’s not like this policy snuck up on the good Colonel. For example, I’m a power lifter who usually hates cardio. But I usually pick up the pace on my running a month or two out from my test, because I want to get in the high 90’s (excellent scores means you only have to test once a year, instead of twice).