Keesler Air Force Base is the "Electronics Training Center of Excellence" for the United States Air Force. Located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the 81st Training Wing is host to 2nd Air Force, the 403rd Wing (AF Reserve) and the single largest employer on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Keesler trains more than 20,000 students annually in 500 courses, with an average daily student load of more than 3,500. They are a lead Joint Training installation, instruction not only Air Force, but Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and civilian federal agency personnel.
The 81st TRW's mission is "Train Airmen across the spectrum of technical, medical, and airmanship skills to build overwhelming combat power for the Air Force!" The 81TRW executes the AETC mission, "Develop America's Airmen today...for tomorrow" under the vision, "The World's Best Airmen - Training, Fighting, Winning!"
The 81 Training Wing replaced Keesler Training Center in July 1993, taking on the mission of specialized technical training in electronics, avionics, computers, operations, maintenance, weather, radar, precision measurement, network controllers, and personnel and information management for USAF, AF Reserve, Air National Guard, other DoD agencies, and foreign nations. Keesler AFB received severe damage from Hurricane Katrina on 29 Aug 2005. The wing's relief and recovery mission, Operation Dragon Comeback, restored the base to full mission readiness within a month.
The 81st Training Wing has three groups -- The 81st Training Group, the 81st Mission Support Group and the 81st Medical Group.
The 81st Training Group is one of the largest technical training groups in the Air Force. Most of the students are non-prior service, and many come into the Air Force straight from high school. These young students learn cutting-edge technologies that support America's war-fighting capabilities. Training includes weather, basic electronics, communications electronic systems, communications computer systems, air traffic control, airfield management, command post, air weapons control, precision measurement, education and training, financial management and comptroller, information management, manpower and personnel, radar, ground radio, and cyber training.
The Mission Support Group is the core of our infrastructure and services. Its six squadrons provide necessities such as lodging, meals, utilities, security and fire protection. This group ensures that Keesler has the best environment possible for our students and personnel.
The 81st Medical Group provides comprehensive Inpatient and Outpatient medical and dental services to more than thirty thousand DOD beneficiaries and is the Air Force Medical Service's second-largest deployment platform. The medical group has also joined with the Biloxi VA Hospital to provide healthcare for veteran's along the Gulf Coast. In partnership with the VA, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and local area hospitals; the 81st Medical group provides medical, dental, and nursing education and training for 16 officer and enlisted specialties. These courses last anywhere from three weeks to five years.
Not only is the 81st TRW fulfilling its mission at home, but abroad as well. The wing is mobile and takes combat and non-combat capabilities to wherever it's needed. It deploys personnel to more than fifty different locations around the world. Security forces, medical personnel, and transportation specialists are among the groups most tasked.