Airman within 11 1/2 Weeks
The struggle to become a wingman, leader, and warrior.
In 2013, I never thought of becoming an airman until I was on the bus with my bag and paperwork. Fully motivated, I was ready to receive the biggest challenges that was going to be chucked at me like a pitcher's fastball. In these challenges however, I found one giant struggle that temporarily blocked my progression. It's true that the greatest battles would be given to the strongest knights as a test from God. In this story, you will know what and how I overcame my greatest struggle.
Upon arrival, I expected exploding instructors yelling at me like a dog keeping sheep in order. Instead, I was greeted by a calm, patient instructor that possibly might have a short fuse if 1 thing was wrong. I haven't forgot the saying "The quiet ones are the ones with the greatest temper." so I wasn't trying to get on his bad side. It was also 2am in the morning which did not help anybody's mood.
He sent us to our assigned dormitory and gave us a fearful message that I still remember til this day. "Get some sleep because tomorrow, you are going to have a LONG DAY AHEAD OF YOU.", said the instructor. At this point, I should've asked him how many hours of sleep are we getting but even asking questions could set him off. I assumed that we are going to get full 8 hours so we all went to bed peacefully. Big Mistake....
THREE hours later, I was mentally and verbally alarmed by two instructors telling us to get out of bed and get dressed. Their "way" of waking up people made a regular alarm clock sound like a outside breeze. Remember that high motivation I had at the beginning? The lack of sleep along with the inability and move my right arm for a while destroyed it completely. From that moment on, I had the mentality of a 4 year old wanting his mother.
Getting out of the bed with 3 hours of sleep and having a different mindset was my first challenge in becoming an Airman. Throughout the weeks, I went through facing shooting, marching, going through obstacle courses, eating food within a time frame, and going through the gas chamber with no problems. But as I said before, I had an challenge that turned my road from straight and narrow to detours and turns. And that struggle was sit-ups in Physical Training (PT).
I know that it sounds idiotic and simple but I am serious. I'm 6'0 ft in height which means that I can't touch my arms crossed on my chest to my thighs. I have to fully pull up my upper body instead of crunching like everyone else. Also, my core was extremely weak so I couldn't do any planks for longer than 20 seconds. If you don't know how the Air Force PT test works, I will explain it to you.
The PT test has 4 sections: AB circumference, push-ups, sit-ups, and run time. Out of those sections, you have to make the required minimum in each to pass the test. If you fail in any one of those section by not making the bare minimum, you fail the whole PT test. Completely unfair right? That's how my career went to a halt when I couldn't make the minimum on sit-ups.
This resulted to being sent to a program called GET FIT for a few more weeks. This program was my last and only chance to continue my path to becoming an airman. Otherwise, I would be sent back to live with my father and get a dead-end job. During my stay, I encountered medically discharged, fitness failed airman who acted like 20 year veterans. The only difference is that veterans have actually seen action.
Even though I felt like I just want to quit and leave Lackland, I worked on my sit-ups for 2 weeks. I did 100 decline sit-ups, 10 min planks, 200 crunches, and 50 russian twist everyday. My motivation, which miraculously returned to me like a dog to his master, convinced me to keep going. On week 3, I finally passed doing sit-ups far beyond the minimum. If you can understand, I felt like a guy winning 1 billion dollars and that there was so much weight lifting off of my shoulders.
After that, I was sent into another group to graduate and transferred 2 days later to my assigned career training base. Thinking about it now, I wouldn't be in this position that I am today without the program GET FIT. I would like to thank the Air Force for helping people like me with fitness struggles. I learned a very valuable lesson throughout my struggle. A lesson that we all should endure and keep in mind.
I learned that if we face a great challenge that turns into a struggle, eventually we will overcome it if we don't give up. If you read my story, I thank you and hope you learned from my type of experience.