Lt. Col. Todd D. Berge of the United States Air Force, a 1988 graduate of Colfax High School and 1993 University of Wisconsin graduate has accomplished quite a feat as the leader of a group of ROTC cadets calling themselves the “Flying Badgers”.
According to a newsletter from “Inside UW-Madison”, the group of 85 cadets have earned the number one ranking in the nation for physical fitness fall semester with a score 97.42 out of a possible 100, besting 145 U.S. Air Force ROTC detachments. They were also just notified they had the highest score in the nation for spring semester.
Last year the team had a number two ranking but Berge lit a fire under them and convinced them that wasn’t good enough.
Workouts are offered four times a week and all members are required to attend two each week and the entire group works out together on Thursdays. They undergo a physical fitness assessment each month, consisting of a mile and a half run, a minute of sit ups and a minute of pushups. They also have their waists measured.
It is Berge’s sixth and final semester teaching the group before he retires next year. When he took over three years ago, his goal was for the group to be number one and with hard work, they accomplished that. When first year students arrived this year, he told them he’d never had one cadet score a 100 on the test and soon after that, three of them earned a perfect score.
According to Berge, the military placed a greater emphasis on physical fitness about 10 years ago and the regimen these students go through is more strenuous than what he went through during his cadet years.
Berge is very proud of his students and is quick to credit them for all their hard work. He is confident they will continue the tradition of success.
“I want to instill a desire for excellence, not just while they are here,” he was quoted as saying in the newsletter. “We built a culture of wanting to do better. I know that’s not going to go away anytime soon.”