(This post was actually adapted from a paper I wrote for an English class that I thought would be an interesting topic for this blog. Just keep in mind that this my personal opinion and does not reflect the opinions of the USAF in any way, shape, or form.)
Every year, the US Air Force (USAF) spends billions of dollars both training and retaining its military members. (1) To make sure that these well-trained members are physically fit enough to accomplish their jobs, it also created a bi-annual physical fitness test. This test includes two strength components (the push-up and sit-up), an aerobic component (the 1.5-mile run), and a body fatness component (the waist measurement).
If someone fails this PT test too many times, they are seen as unfit and are very likely to get kicked out of the military. So, obviously, if you want to stay in the Air Force, you must consistently pass your PT test.
But there's something strange in the USAF PT test: The waist measurement. The strength and aerobic components seem like a valid way to measure physical fitness, but the body fat component seems a bit out of place. What does the size of my waist have to do with my ability to be "fit-to-fight"?