Air Education and Training Command, with headquarters at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, was established and activated in January 1942, making it the second oldest major command in the Air Force. AETC’s training mission makes it the first command to touch the lives of nearly every Air Force member. AETC was formed in 1942 as the Army Air Corps Flying Training Command with headquarters in Washington, D.C. Less than a year later, the headquarters moved to Fort Worth, Texas. During World War II the command provided technical and flying training at more than 600 installations, factories and institutions of higher learning. The headquarters moved to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, in 1946, to Scott AFB, Illinois, in 1949, and finally to Randolph AFB in 1957. In July 1993, Air Training Command and Air University merged to form AETC. This redesignation allowed the command to retain all of its previous heritage and honors. The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure plan renamed Randolph Air Force Base, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph. Over the years, more than 25 million students have graduated from AETC training and education programs.
Recruit, train and educate exceptional Airmen.
We take America’s sons and daughters – young men and women who have volunteered to serve their country in a time of war – and develop them into Airmen. Develop denotes more than educating or training them – it implies bringing them to embrace our culture, teaching them (by our example) our core values of integrity, service before self and excellence in all we do.
The First Command: Developing Airmen of character, the foundation of a lethal force.
Personnel and Resources
More than 29,000 active-duty members, 6,000 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve personnel, and 14,000 civilian personnel make up AETC. The command also has more than 9,000 contractors assigned. AETC flies approximately 1,400 aircraft.
AETC includes Air Force Recruiting Service, two numbered air forces and the Air University. The command operates 12 major installations and supports tenant units on numerous bases across the globe. There are also 16 active-duty and seven Reserve wings.
Altus AFB, Oklahoma
Goodfellow AFB, Texas
Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas
JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Texas
Luke AFB, Arizona
Columbus AFB, Mississippi
Holloman AFB, New Mexico
Keesler AFB, Mississippi
Laughlin AFB, Texas
Maxwell AFB, Alabama
Sheppard AFB, Texas
Vance AFB, Oklahoma
Air Force Recruiting Service
AETC's mission begins with the Air Force Recruiting Service, with headquarters at JBSA-Randolph, Texas. AFRS comprises three regional groups and 27 squadrons with more than 1,200 recruiters assigned throughout the United States, England, Germany, Japan, Puerto Rico and Guam. The AFRS mission is to recruit quality men and women with the right skills, at the right time, in the right numbers to sustain the combat capability of the U.S. Air Force. The Air Force brings in nearly 24,000 active-duty enlisted accessions each year. The command is responsible for accessing 100 percent of the enlisted force, 90 percent of the service's medical officers, approximately 25 percent of the line officers (through Officer Training School) and 100 percent of Air Force chaplains.
Second Air Force: Basic, Technical, and Expeditionary Training
Second Air Force, with headquarters at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, is responsible for conducting basic military and non-flying technical training for Air Force, joint and coalition enlisted members and support officers. Second Air Force also oversees Airmen training for Joint Sourcing Solutions taskings.
Nineteenth Air Force: Mission Oversight and Execution
Nineteenth Air Force, with headquarters at JBSA-Randolph, is responsible for flying training execution, mentoring, safety, advocacy for subordinate units and security of operating environments. The 19th AF executes operational-level command and control of all formal aircrew flying training missions within AETC and provides world-class Airmen to the Combat Air Forces and Mobility Air Forces. The 19th AF provides operational control and administrative authority to support training world-class aircrews, air battle managers, weapons directors, Air Force Academy Airmanship programs and survival, escape, resistance and evasion specialists to sustain the combat capability of the Air Force, other services and our nation's allies.
Basic Military Training
The first stop for all Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve enlisted personnel is Basic Military Training at the 737th Training Group, JBSA-Lackland, Texas. In a typical year, between 20,000 and 30,000 new Airmen complete this intense, 8 1/2-week training course. JBSA-Lackland conducts the Air Force's only enlisted recruit training program, transforming civilians into motivated, disciplined warrior Airmen with the foundation to serve in the world’s greatest Air Force. This includes basic war skills, military discipline, physical fitness, drill and ceremonies, Air Force core values, and a comprehensive range of subjects relating to Air Force life.
After completing basic training, Airmen begin technical training to learn the technical skills needed to perform in their career field specialties. Technical training is conducted primarily at six installations: JBSA-Lackland, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, Goodfellow and Sheppard Air Force Bases in Texas; Keesler AFB, Mississippi, and Vandenberg AFB, California. Each base is responsible for a specific portion of the formal technical training Airmen require to accomplish the Air Force mission. Highly trained instructors conduct technical training in specialties such as aircraft maintenance, missile maintenance, civil engineering, medical services, computer systems, security forces, air traffic control, weather, personnel, cyberspace support, intelligence, fire fighting, and space and missile operations.
Increased mission requirements have strained the U.S. Army's available manpower to meet combatant commander requirements. To meet these force requirements, the Army solicited Air Force and Navy support in the execution of ground operations – called Joint Sourcing Solutions taskings – to include performing entire missions in lieu of Army units.
Second Air Force provides centralized management and overarching command and control structure to oversee, prepare and equip Airmen for JSS expeditionary training in a sister service environment. Training is conducted at Army locations called Mobilization Force Generation Installations. The 602nd Training Group (Provisional) establishes detachments at each MFGI as Air Force liaisons and provides location command and control. JSS training is the means by which the Air Force will ensure each JSS Airman receives required combat skills training. Approximately 2,500-4,000 Airmen per year are trained at MSGIs and are sourced to fill JSS taskings; they are trained and equipped to fill any of 32 different mission sets.
Aerospace Physiology Training Program
AETC is the lead command for Aerospace Physiology and has the authority and responsibility to develop, field and manage training curricula and systems to support AP, human performance and acceleration training requirements for all user commands. The AP Training Systems portfolio consists of 115 training systems that include altitude chambers, Reduced Oxygen Breathing Devices and Hypoxia Familiarization Trainers, parachute descent and landing trainers, ejection seat/egress trainers and Barany chairs across six major commands. The AP program provides critical aircrew training and mishap prevention efforts in support of Department of Defense and NATO undergraduate and graduate flying training as well as continuation training requirements across the spectrum of aircrew members’ development and flying careers.
AETC conducts flying training and is responsible for training aircrews and air battle managers.
AETC conducts cadet airmanship programs at the United States Air Force Academy for more than 3,400 cadets per year.
Air Force pilot, Remotely Piloted Aircraft pilot, and combat systems officer candidates begin with Initial Flight Screening/RPA Flight Screening at Pueblo, Colorado, to gauge aptitude for flight and introduce candidates to the rigors of military aviation and training.
Pilot candidates then attend either Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training at Sheppard AFB, Texas, or Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus AFB, Mississippi, Laughlin AFB, Texas, or Vance AFB, Oklahoma.
At ENJJPT, students learn with, and are taught by, U.S. Air Force officers and officers from various air forces of our NATO allies. Student pilots fly the T-6 Texan II mastering contact, instrument, low-level and formation flying. Then they move onto a fighter-trainer, the T-38 Talon, and continue building the skills necessary to become a fighter pilot.
Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training is divided into three phases, Academic/Ground Training, Primary Flying Training, and Advanced Flying Training. This training includes:
a. Flying training to teach the principles and techniques used in operating advanced aircraft.
b. Ground training to supplement and reinforce flying training.
c. Officer development training to strengthen the graduate’s leadership skills, officer qualities, and understanding of the role of the military pilot as an officer and supervisor.
Primary Flying Training is designed to teach the basic flying fundamentals necessary to safely operate any U.S. Air Force aircraft and lays the foundation for the advanced phase and for future responsibilities as military officers and leaders.
After the primary phase of specialized training, student pilots are selected for one of three advanced training tracks based on needs of the Air Force and their class standing. Prospective airlift and tanker pilots are assigned to the airlift/tanker track and train in the T-1 Jayhawk. Student pilots headed for bomber or fighter assignments are assigned to the bomber/fighter track and train in the T-38. Both airlift/tanker track and fighter/bomber track training continues at Columbus, Laughlin, or Vance Air Force Bases. Students selected to fly helicopters train in the TH-1H at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Approximately 160 students per year will be selected for duty flying Remotely Piloted Aircraft.
New to the AETC flight training programs, the RPA pilot training program, known as Undergraduate RPA Training or URT, was built around the lessons learned from more than 65 years of U.S. Air Force pilot training and designed to train Pilot-in-Command skills to the fledgling RPA pilots. Unlike traditional pilots who would expect to be wingmen or co-pilots in initial combat mission ready status, the RPA pilots are immediately solo and in charge of their mission upon reaching mission ready status. They are also thrust straight into actual combat upon reaching mission ready status, so it was essential that AETC trained as many basic skills as possible in the undergraduate training to prepare the RPA pilots for flight in National/International Airspace and readiness to enter the Formal Training Unit for their assigned RPA. The RPA pilot requires many of the same skills and knowledge bases as the pilot of a traditional aircraft.
After RPA Flight Screening at Pueblo, the RPA pilot students attend RPA Instrument Qualification course at JBSA-Randolph; a simulator only course in dedicated T-6 Fixed Training Devices. Finally, a month long RPA Fundamentals Course at JBSA-Randolph is designed to give new RPA pilots without operational experience the tactical grounding experience needed to enter the Formal Training Units for the various RPAs: MQ-1, MQ-9, and RQ-4.
In addition to pilot and RPA pilot training, AETC provides Undergraduate Combat Systems Officer Training; this training takes place at NAS Pensacola, Florida. UCT combines skill sets of the legacy Navigator, Electronic Warfare Officer, and Weapon Systems Officer pipelines to produce an aviator skilled in advanced navigation systems, electronic warfare and weapons employment.
The Primary phase of UCT utilizes the T-6A and focuses on teaching students the fundamentals of instrument and visual navigation, while developing airmanship, and building a foundation of mission management skills. The advanced phase of training utilizes the CSO modified T-1A aircraft and the T-25 Simulator for Electronic Combat. In this final phase, student training is focused on advanced navigation techniques, radar scope interpretation, the principles of electronic warfare, Crew Resource Management, and the fundamentals of weapons employment. Airmanship and mission management skills continue to develop to ensure graduates have the necessary skills to succeed in a vast array of follow-on MWS platforms.
AETC also provides follow-on training for most Air Force aircrew in their assigned aircraft. Pilots assigned to fighter aircraft complete the Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals Course, flying the T-38C. Students then move on to train in the F-15 Eagle at Kingsley Field, Oregon or in the F-16 Fighting Falcon at Luke AFB, Arizona, Tucson Air National Guard Base, Arizona, or JBSA-Lackland, Texas. Students assigned to the KC-135 Stratotanker or C-17 Globemaster III aircraft are trained at Altus AFB, Oklahoma. Aircrews assigned to fly the C-130 train at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, and aircrews assigned to fly MC-130H Combat Talon II, MC-130J Commando II, MC-130P Combat Shadow, HC-130 Combat King, UH-1N Huey, HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters or CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, receive their training at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. Training of U.S. Air Force F-35A Joint Strike Fighter instructor pilots and operational test pilots began at Eglin AFB, Florida, continuing in 2012.
Enlisted Flying Training
AETC also provides enlisted aircrew training for a wide variety of aircrew specialties including flight engineers, air-to-air refueling boom operators, loadmasters, aerial gunners, airborne communications specialists, as well as the newest career enlisted aviator specialty – RPA sensor operator. Flight engineers train at Little Rock AFB, boom operators train at Altus AFB, and loadmasters train at Altus, Little Rock or JBSA-Lackland. Helicopter and tilt-rotor special mission aviators train at Kirtland AFB, and airborne communications specialists train at Keesler AFB. The RPA sensor operators complete the 3-skill level awarding course at JBSA-Randolph over a six-week period, learning the basic concepts of Full Motion Video, communications, different types of sensors and RPA crew duties before attending the FTU.
Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion Training
AETC also conducts Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion training.
The 336th Training Group at the U.S. Air Force Survival School, Fairchild AFB, Washington, provides SERE training to at risk of isolation personnel. Instruction concentrates on the principles, techniques and skills necessary to survive with confidence in any environment and return with honor. In addition, the 336 TRG provides initial and follow-on training to all U.S. Air Force SERE Specialists.
SERE specialists assigned to the survival school teach 15 different courses to approximately 17,000 students annually. Nine courses are taught at Fairchild. The other six courses are conducted at 336 TRG detachments at Eielson AFB, Alaska, NAS Pensacola, Florida, and JBSA-Lackland, Texas.
Air Battle Manager Training
Air Battle Manager candidates begin training with the nine-month ABM course at Tyndall AFB, Florida. They learn doctrine, radar theory, surveillance operations, wartime operations, joint tactical operations and basic fighter control using contract-flown MU-2 aircraft, and the F-15 Strike Eagle and F-22 Raptor aircraft from the 325th Fighter Wing. Graduates go on to fly in the E-3 Sentry or E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System.
In addition, more than 100 international officers travel to Tyndall annually to attend two different advanced ABM command and control courses.
Weapons Director Training
Training for all active-duty and Air National Guard Control and Reporting Center and Air Defense Sector weapons directors is at the 607th Air Control Squadron at Luke AFB.
Air University: Education
Air University, with headquarters at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, provides the full spectrum of Air Force education, from pre-commissioning to the highest levels of professional military education, including degree-granting and professional continuing education for officers, enlisted members, and civilians throughout their careers. AU, which is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, conducts courses both in-residence and via distance learning.
AU has responsibility for the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development. The Holm Center Commander provides direction for two of the Air Force's three commissioning programs – the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and Officer Training School. AFROTC commissions about 1,700 officers annually through programs located at 145 detachments at colleges and universities across the country.
Officer Training School is located at Maxwell, and provides basic officer training, a nine-week program designed to commission about 500-700 new second lieutenants annually. OTS also conducts a five-week commissioned officer training program for about 1,300 new judge advocates, chaplains, and medical officers each year. Additionally, the Air National Guard’s Academy of Military Science detachment at OTS commissions about 400 officers annually.
AU’s officer PME schools, overseen by the Carl A. Spaatz Center for Officer Education, prepare students from the Air Force, its sister services and allied nations for more responsible positions as they progress through their careers. Emphasis in these programs includes leadership, military doctrine, and air and space power.
Squadron Officer College is the Air Force’s center for company grade officer professional development.
SOC’s Squadron Officer School has an eight-week in-residence course that delivers primary developmental education for captains from U.S. and allied militaries and civilian equivalents. Approximately 3,000 students attend the in-residence course, with 11,000 enrolled in SOS via distance learning.
Air Command and Staff College is the Air Force's intermediate officer PME school preparing field grade officers of all U.S. services (primarily majors), international officers, and U.S. civilians to assume positions of higher responsibility within the military and government arenas. Geared toward teaching the skills necessary for air and space operations in support of a joint campaign, as well as leadership and command, the course focuses on shaping and molding tomorrow’s leaders and commanders. Nearly 500 students attend the annual 40-week in-residence course, while about 9,000 are enrolled via distance learning.
Air War College is the senior school in the Air Force PME system preparing officers from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces (primarily lieutenant colonels), international officers, and civilians of equivalent rank from U.S. government agencies to serve as strategic national security leaders. About 250 students attend the 44-week in-residence course, while about 4,500 are enrolled via distance learning.
The School of Advanced Air and Space Studies is a 50-week, follow-on school for selected graduates of intermediate-level Department of Defense professional military education schools. SAASS creates warrior-scholars with a superior ability to develop, evaluate, and employ airpower with the complex environment of modern war. Upon completion of all requirements and with faculty recommendation, graduates receive a master of philosophy degree in military strategy.
The Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education is responsible for the instructional programs and faculty development for all Air Force enlisted PME programs. This includes Airman Leadership Schools, Noncommissioned Officer Academies, the Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, and the Air Force First Sergeant Academy.
Airman Leadership Schools prepare those in the rank of senior airman to be professional, warfighting Airmen who can supervise and lead Air Force work teams in the employment of air, space and cyberspace power.
Noncommissioned and Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academies provide professional military education to noncommissioned officers for positions of greater responsibility by broadening their leadership and supervisory skills and expanding their perspective of the military profession.
The Community College of the Air Force offers and awards job-related associate in applied science degrees and other academic credentials that enhance mission readiness, contribute to recruiting, assist in retention, and support the career transitions of Air Force enlisted members. Air Force enlisted members are automatically enrolled in the CCAF and begin earning college credit during basic military training.
The mission of AU’s Air Force Institute of Technology, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is to advance airpower for the nation, its partners, and the US Armed Forces by providing relevant defense-focused technical graduate and continuing education, research and consultation.
The Ira C. Eaker College for Professional Development provides world-class, multi-discipline technical training and professional continuing education to Air Force and other Department of Defense personnel, as well as international students. Its five schools include: the Commanders' Professional Development School; the Air Force Chaplain Corps College; the Defense Financial Management and Comptroller School; the U.S. Air Force Personnel Professional Development School; and the National Security Space Institute.
The Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education develops and publishes Air Force doctrine, teaches doctrine through in-residence and distance learning courses, and advocates airpower through visionary wargaming. The LeMay Center assists in the development, analysis, and wargaming of the concepts, doctrine, and strategy of air and space power. It also educates Air Force and joint communities on warfighting at the operational and strategic levels through research, wargaming and military education courses. The college prepares flag officers from all military services for leadership positions in the joint warfighting environment.
AU’s Air Force Research Institute conducts independent research, outreach, and engagement to enhance national security and assure the effectiveness of the US Air Force. AFRI has three divisions. A team of research professors conducts studies on airpower and national security for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and other senior leaders within the Defense Department. The Air University Press conducts outreach by producing the world’s finest publications about airpower and national security, including the Air and Space Power Journal and the Strategic Studies Quarterly. AFRI also has a division devoted to engagement, creating the necessary conversations within the Air Force, and our nation on how best to enhance our thinking about airpower.
Major AETC Support Services
In addition to accomplishing the mission of recruiting, training and educating, AETC is also responsible for several other areas that are integral parts of the command and directly contribute to the overall Air Force mission.
Two of the Air Forces's largest medical facilities are aligned to AETC. Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center at JBSA-Lackland, and Keesler Medical Center at Keesler AFB, provide most of the Air Force's graduate medical and dental education, as well as enlisted medical training.
The U.S. Air Force is the Department of Defense’s Executive Agent for the Defense English Language Program and the Defense Language Institute English Language Center. As the Lead Command for DLIELC, AETC manages, operates, funds and provides personnel for DLIELC. DLIELC acculturates and trains international personnel to communicate in English and to instruct English language programs in their countries, trains United States Military personnel in English as a second language, and deploys English Language Training programs around the world in support of DoD Security Cooperation efforts. DLIELC is headquartered at JBSA-Lackland and is currently aligned under the 37th Training Wing.
Security Assistance Training
AETC is the executive agent for all Air Force sponsored international training and education. The command implements and approves Air Force sponsored security assistance training, monitors the progress of training and the welfare of U.S. Air Force-sponsored international students, and provides guidance for Field Services Program introducing international students to American life and culture. Each year AETC members train or facilitate training for more than 5,400 students from more than 135 countries attending more than 7,400 courses in flying, technical, medical and professional education and training.
Point of Contact
Air Education and Training Command, Public Affairs Office: 100 H Street, Ste 4; Randolph AFB, Texas 78150-4331; (210) 652-9339; email: AETC.PAInbox@us.af.mil
(Last Updated October 2019)