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AETC deputy commander visits Columbus AFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Maj. Gen. Mark Weatherington, deputy commander of Air Education and Training Command at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, spoke to Airmen from across Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, Feb. 20, 2019, about wing, group, squadron, and individual unit performance and some of their hurdles.

One of his first stops was with Maj. Ryan Brewer, 14th FTW director of innovation, and a team of innovation leaders. The Spark Cell teams explained the bird’s-eye view of their current projects and answered questions Weatherington had on the spot.

Weatherington listened to Spark Cell team leads speak about their involvement in a human performance lab focused on improving Airman’s readiness and work performance, Queep Bot (an editing tool for performance reports), a new scheduling aplliction for flying operations, and more.

“This new generation learns differently,” Weatherington said. “We need to adapt a little quicker to keep this the world’s greatest Air Force.”

Following the Spark Cell he went to the fitness center, seeing how the center is organized and was told about the future projects the center is hopeful for to increase the Airmen’s quality of life. He saw some of the 14th Force Support Squadron’s concerns of the allotted space and was able to see the Alpha Warrior course while learning about the goals for the new hangar style fitness area.

During his visit to the ‘Fit Trail’ and Whispering Pines, Lt. Col. Peter Joo, 14th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, spoke to Weatherington about the lighting system they are hopeful to implement and a possible child and parent fitness building in place of the Whispering Pines dining area.

After a stop at the Unaccompanied Officer’s Quarters and talking more with 14th Mission Support Group Airmen about dorm management and civil engineer hurdles, Weatherington visited the 14th Operations Group.

The 48th Flying Training Squadron and 14th Operations Support Squadron were able to talk about different programs, initiatives and innovations they are looking to continue growing in the next few years. They described their plans to expand the squadron, create a virtual reality training room similar to the T-6 Texan II squadrons, and integrate more mobile training devices into students training.

Creating pilots is a major piece of the 14th FTW mission and everything that was brought to Weatherington’s attention is a piece of the pilot training puzzle. The 14th Logistics Readiness Squadron showed Weatherington their great strides in their inventory management, helping track items and making maintainers job’s much faster.

“I think what you are doing here is great,” Weatherington told the 14th LRS. “Keep up the great work, we need everyone here to keep this mission going. Thank you for what you do.”

The 14th Medical Group showed their innovation in ‘visual training’ techniques to improve reaction times, and explained how optometry is now being proactive in correcting eyesight. Airman also discussed the dental clinic’s continuing strides in proactive dental work, and spoke about possible changes to Aerospace and Operational Physiology training.

Closing out his visit, 14th Security Forces Squadron Airmen talked about the challenges of firearms training at different ranges across Mississippi. They proposed an indoor modular range, allowing Airmen to train and qualify for various weapons training without leaving the base for hours at a time.

It’s nice to go out to bases and see the nuanced differences between them, Weatherington said. A lot of these hurdles are unique things everyone will have to work through together. He noted he was glad to have visited Columbus AFB and been able to connect with Airmen across the base.
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