An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Failure sparks change

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman John D. Partlow
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
"I worked too hard and waited too long to join the Air Force just to get kicked out because of physical training."

That's what Airman 1st Class Samuel Hahn said when he failed his PT test in September 2013. Hahn, a 47th Medical Group Public Health technician, attributes his failure to three main components:

"I had no social life, no priorities and no healthy eating plan," said Hahn.

Born in Seoul, Korea, Hahn grew up playing sports, but never considered fitness to be a focus of his. He moved to California at age 12 and decided to join the Air Force 10 years later.

"I always wanted to be in the military," said Hahn. "I could've gone to other branches, but I knew that if I was going to join, I wanted to team up with the world's best air and cyberspace superiority."

Basic military training and technical school forced Hahn to maintain a certain level of fitness, but once he arrived at Laughlin, his fitness plummeted.

"I would get home from work, nap, play video games while eating junk food, stay up late, then go back to work exhausted," said Hahn. "It was a continual cycle that only made things worse."

Once he failed his PT test in September, Hahn realized the severity of his routine.
"I felt like a failure," said Hahn. "I knew I was capable of being better than that."

With renewed vigor, Hahn prepared himself to make a change. He researched nutrition, weight lifting techniques and workout forms all on YouTube. He also changed his eating habits, began taking college classes and became more socially involved.

"Being president of the dorm council helped in meeting new people," said Hahn. "Once I began noticing my body change, I got the confidence I needed to approach people, and I began to feel good about myself, which bolstered my conversational skills."

Hahn's biggest support system was his friends, who noticed a change right away.

"In a way, him failing his PT test was the best thing to happen to him," said Senior Airman Mark Anthony Concepcion, a close friend of Hahn's. "Before, I had never even seen him in the gym, and he didn't have the drive to do much of anything. Now, you can tell he's focused, he's happier, and he's more driven to pursue things he needs for his Air Force career."

In early March, Hahn took his fitness to the next level by competing in Musclemania All Forces, a natural bodybuilding competition open to all service members, firefighters, policemen and their families. Hahn competed in the Men's Physique category, placing second.

"It wasn't about beating the other person, it was about beating myself," said Hahn. "My plan next year is to go back and win first place to show myself how much I've worked."

Throughout his transformation, Hahn occasionally looks back and sees all that has changed in just a span of six months. For him, it's all the motivation he needs to move forward.

"When I think back, I looked so pathetic," said Hahn. "I had no self-improvement, no goals and no prioritization. Now I feel like I'm always getting better. I feel like there's now a purpose in life."