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EOD Airmen prepare for Tier 2 Test at LRAFB

A man wearing the Air Force physical training gear throws a medicine ball.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Caine Nielsen, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal NCO in charge of EOD equipment, performs the medicine ball toss component of the Tier 2 Physical Fitness Test at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 1, 2019. The new Tier 2 test was created for select career fields in the Air Force such as tactical air control party, EOD and air liaison officers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

A man wearing the Air Force phyisical training gear does a deadlift.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Caine Nielsen, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal NCO in charge of EOD equipment, performs the trap bar deadlift component of the Tier 2 Physical Fitness Test at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 1, 2019. The new Tier 2 test was created for select career fields in the Air Force such as tactical air control party, EOD and air liaison officers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

A man rolls with a pink sandbag and a weighted vest.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Caine Nielsen, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal NCO in charge of EOD equipment, performs the Gruseter component of the Tier 2 Physical Fitness Test at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 1, 2019. The Tier 2 test includes an exercise called the Gruseter, which involves a combination of a pushups, planks, a rollover with a 50-pound sandbag and an over-the-shoulder carry with the sandbag for a 15-meter run for 10 rounds. A 15-meter run without the 50-pound sandbag is also performed between each round bringing the total number to 20. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

A hand squeezes a device that measures how strong someone's grip strength is.

An Airman assigned to the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal performs the grip strength component of the Tier 2 Physical Fitness Test at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 1, 2019. The new Tier 2 test was created for select career fields in the Air Force such as tactical air control party, EOD and air liaison officers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

A man wearing the Air Force physical training uniform runs with 2 pink sandbags.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Taylor Moore, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal team leader, performs the farmer’s carry component of the Tier 2 Physical Fitness Test at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 1, 2019. The new Tier 2 test was created for select career fields in the Air Force such as tactical air control party, EOD and air liaison officers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airmen assigned to the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, are preparing for the new Tier 2 Physical Fitness Test on which they will be officially tested in the near future.

The Tier 2 test examines precise critical fitness capabilities of Airmen with specific jobs making sure they are always fit-to-fight at home and in contested environments.   

“This test is necessary to keep all EOD Airmen in the best possible shape, and may also help identify unreported injuries,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Colton Lien, 19th CES EOD team leader.  

EOD Airmen from across the Air Force, including Lien, participated in an evaluation of the test at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in September 2018 to assess how Airmen in this career field will do on the test before it becomes the standard.

The Air Force Exercise Science Unit, located at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, developed and designed the test to assess the physical demands that Airmen in certain career fields must meet in order to perform their job, such as EOD and Special Warfare Airmen. Each designated career field has a Tier 2 Test tailored to the physical demands they require to be successful on the job, so each Tier 2 Test looks different.

Currently, EOD Airmen are practicing the test and familiarizing themselves with the new exercises. The minimums per exercise haven’t yet been determined, but when they are finalized, EOD Airmen will have about a year to get accustomed to the test. These standards will be uniform for males and females of all ages.   

To get ahead of the curve, EOD Airmen at Little Rock AFB are completing the test on a regular basis and writing down their scores to watch how each member improves.

The 10 different exercises of the Tier 2 Test are:

• Run, 1.5 miles

• Row ergometer, 1,000 meters

• Grip strength

• Medicine ball toss, back, side and log 20 pounds

• Trap bar deadlift, five repetition maximum

• Pullup 

• Extended cross-knee crunch, metronome 56 beats per minute

• Farmer’s carry, 4 x 25 meter, 100 meters

• Grip endurance - beam

• Gruseter (drop-roll-lift-run), 300 meters

Although most of the exercises only assess a single area of fitness, one of the most brutal parts of the test comes at the very end, when EOD Airmen must combine different areas of fitness such as endurance and strength to complete in a reasonable amount of time. This exercise is called the Gruseter.

“The Gruseter is one of my favorite parts of the test based on the fact that it forces you to really evaluate what kind of physical condition you’re in to complete your job,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joshua Vickrey, 19th CES EOD team leader.

The Gruseter involves a combination of push ups, planks, a rollover with a 50-pound sandbag and an over-the-shoulder carry with the sandbag for a 15-meter run for 10 rounds. A 15-meter run without the 50-pound sandbag is also performed between each round bringing the total number to 20.

“Having a test based on the physical demands this job can put on us is necessary for our career field,“ Vickrey said. “Being able to perform this test well can give EOD technicians in a deployed environment the confidence to know they can perform their best for the units they may become attached to in an austere environment.”
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