When Maj. Carpaccio "Pace" Owens was into about the seventh year of his Army career, he was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.
His personal, civilian insurance company has denied him term life insurance based on the preexisting condition.
At 43, Owens is in "stage three" of the disease, meaning his kidneys function at about 50%.
Now 19 years into his Army career, Owens, 43, is one of the first soldiers within the 82nd Airborne Division known to reach an unofficial maximum score on the new Army Combat Fitness Test that goes into effect by October 2020.
Airmen will now see a new question on their Air Force fitness screening questionnaire, or FSQ, prior to taking the physical fitness assessment.
The addition of screening for sickle cell trait on the survey will help to flag those who might need additional clearance or care ahead of their PT test, officials said. The change was initiated in July and has now gone into effect for airmen across the service.
"Asking the one percent of the Air Force's members who have the sickle cell trait if they have appropriately prepared for their physical assessment demonstrates the Air Force's commitment to being adaptable and ensuring the health of airmen," Lt. Col. Richard Speakman, 22nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander, said in a released statement.
Capt. Carrie Volpe, an Air Force spokeswoman, said Thursday via email that the service is also now requiring airmen to complete the FSQ at least seven days prior to taking the fitness assessment.
The Army’s nascent gender-neutral Combat Readiness Test is based on the philosophy that male and female soldiers will have to perform the same tasks in combat, so they should meet the same physical fitness standards, a service official told Task & Purpose.