Renaissance Airmen: 512th MAS Airmen jacks of all trades "keeping Airmen Fit to Fight"

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jake Chappelle
  • 512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
(Editor's note: Reservists of the 512th Memorial Affairs Squadron are well-versed in all parts of the services career field while making top-notch customer service a priority. Follow along as this series showcases the spectrum of duties performed by members of the 512th MAS. This article on fitness is part three of a four-part series on the services career field.)

Today's Air Force mission can place some stressful and physically demanding challenges on Airmen. Reservists with the 512th Memorial Affairs Squadron here are trained to help Airmen meet that challenge.

Tech. Sgt. Marzelle Autrey, 512th MAS, fitness NCO in charge, is a trained fitness specialist who can help Airmen reach their top fitness potential and keep them fit to fight.
Sergeant Autrey said he likes to help people get in shape and maintain their fitness levels.

"I like the fitness area because you meet people who want to improve themselves by getting in shape," said Sergeant Autrey who has been with the 512th MAS for 14 years. "I like knowing that I'm helping improve someone's physical health and well being."

Sergeant Autrey, a postal employee in his civilian career, said he also likes the morale and camaraderie that fitness can promote, along with keeping Airmen up to the Air Force's fitness standards.

"If you're not physically ready to do your job, then you're a liability to the mission and the Airmen who work around you," said Sergeant Autrey. "Being in shape is even more important now that the new fitness standards are in effect."

Most members in the services career field will work in the fitness functional area while trying to attain their five-skill level and again once they have completed upgrade training.

After being assigned to a fitness area, most technicians will apply their skills in a base fitness center where they will perform customer service at the front desk, check identification, provide customers with towels, maintain the weightlifting and cardio equipment, assist customers who need help with equipment and help customers who want to use the sauna or find out about massage services available.

Staff Sgt. Keith Fletcher, 512th MAS, fitness supervisor, said providing customers with the assistance they need, so they can function in their everyday tasks is why he likes working at the fitness center, not to mention for his own personal heath.

"I like to help people," said the crane operator from Naval Station Norfolk, Va. "I have always liked the field of health and fitness in order to optimize my functional strength for everyday tasks. I like to pass that knowledge to other Airmen."

Sergeant Fletcher said fitness is a necessity for everyday life.

"Taking away someone's privilege to participate in fitness activities is like taking away their life-support system," said Sergeant Fletcher who has been with the 512th MAS for nine years. "Can you support the mission effectively if you're out of shape and can't focus?"

It's because of fitness specialists like Sergeants Autrey and Fletcher, along with their services colleagues, they are able to apply their fitness training to ensure Airmen are "fit to fight" to the best of their abilities in today's fast paced, high-operations tempo Air Force.