744 CS's Airmen Motivation Program 'amps' up fellow service members
By Senior Airman Lindsey A. Porter, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 07, 2012
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- What could motivate you to wake up at 4:30 a.m.? Is it free food? A guaranteed spot in the HOV lane? The ever-dreaded mandatory unit formation? For most, it would probably take much more than mental fortitude to relinquish the comfort of warm bed sheets before the sun is up. But for some, the thought of waking up at 4:30 a.m. isn't even a thought at all. For Airmen in the 744th Communications Squadron's Airmen Motivation Program (AMP), waking up at 4:30 a.m. during the week is a normal and routine occurrence.
AMP started with the initiative of Senior Airman Carl Free, 744 CS radio frequency transmissions system technician, along with Senior Airman Michael Wells and Airmen 1st Class Eli Cordy, Norbert Dudzic and Travis Yannell, all 744 CS cable and antenna maintenance technicians. It originally began as a way for 744 CS Airmen to come together and work out outside of the office. Motivated by an outstanding number of squadron physical fitness test (PT test) failures, AMP's charter members started working out every morning as soon as the West Fitness Center opened and invited anyone they came into contact with to join them.
"The biggest thing for us was the number of PT test failures in our squadron," said Free. "We only had a few, but even one failure is too many. Most of AMP's members are physical training leaders and run the FIP (Fitness Improvement Program) for the 844th Communications Group and 744 CS."
The group's agenda quickly grew and has since come to include various other outside-office activities such as: zip-lining, movie nights and uniquely-named "Cordy-Oh" PT sessions, named after one of AMP's members and their expertise in cardio-type physical training.
"AMP was our idea to bring the Airmen in the squadron together," said Free. "We wanted to create a network where Airmen in the dorms could get to know and meet each other and build connections. So far, we've been targeting physical training, but we've also held a movie night and been zip lining. AMP is a program that we wanted to create to help Airmen - physically, with motivation, with friends, to combat boredom or with whatever else they may need."
But, AMP isn't designed to help Airmen solely in the 744 CS. Impressed by AMP's outreach and the initiative of its current members, service members of almost every rank and status have been spotted outside their office getting "amped" up with the group.
"Actually, we've had quite a few chiefs and other higher-ranking people come out and work out with us," said Dudzic. "It's really simple - we love physical training and we wanted to help others. We wanted to bring everyone, no matter the rank, into this mind set of motivation and improving their whole person."
Cordy, who has taken one of the key leadership roles in AMP, is proud of the accomplishments the group has had so far. Always looking forward, Cordy is optimistic that AMP's purpose of providing all Airmen with a desire to become motivated and seek mental, physical, spiritual and emotional improvement will continue long after AMP's current members have moved to new duty stations.
"The way I thought about it, in the Air Force, there is a surplus of ideas floating around - the whole-person concept, the wingman concept and numerous other philosophies, all out there for us to use to help improve ourselves as people and as Airmen," said Cordy. "A lot of the time though, we're subjected to these concepts but lack movement on these ideas. Maybe these ideas get spit out at a commander's call, but are often quickly forgotten. What AMP is doing is taking these already amazing concepts and moving on them, every day. AMP is establishing a network of Airmen who want to improve and we're trapping others into our web of motivation."
AMP's concept is simple, but the effect has been profound. The group may have begun as a way to improve PT scores, but has now attracted the attention of numerous service members, including 844 CG and 744 CS senior leadership. AMP's not looking for numbers or rank though, but instead is focusing on motivating Airmen from all walks of life and is asking them to pay the group's purpose forward.
"We want more people to come into our shoes to spread this way of thinking," said Dudzic. "We may have started this group but we know we're not the only ones on this base that think this way - that want to get motivated. AMP is perpetuating a persona of pride in uniform and country. We encourage anyone to contact us who wants to get involved. There's no reason this group should die when we leave this base."