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AETC: 70 years of training and education programs built on the achievements of many

1952 -- Mechanics clean the guns on an F-80 in preparation for another gunnery training mission mission at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. (Courtesy photo)

1952 -- Mechanics clean the guns on an F-80 in preparation for another gunnery training mission mission at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. (Courtesy photo)

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The demand for flying training caused by the United States' entry into World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor, resulted in the creation of the Air Corps Flying Training Command January 23, 1942.

Today marks Air Education and Training Command's 70th Anniversary. After several re-designations, the Air Corps Flying Training Command became Air Training Command and finally Air Education and Training Command, headquartered at Randolph AFB, Texas.

Despite changing production goals for trained personnel brought on by the events of WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the end of the Cold War, the Persian Gulf War and the terrorist strike on New York City and the Pentagon, AETC continues to meet the demands for trained and educated Airmen.

Air Education and Training Command recruits, assesses, commissions, educates, and trains Air Force enlisted and officer personnel. It provides basic military training, initial and advanced technical training, flying training, and professional military and degree-granting professional education.

The command also conducts joint, medical service, readiness and training to build partnerships with foreign air forces.

Training conducted at AETC bases provides the major Air Force commands and combatant commanders with skilled, expert Airmen who are able to perform at the highest level whether they are at home running nuclear enterprises or overseas fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Today, AETC consists of 12 bases and is hosted at four more. The command is home to more than 56,000 active-duty members, 16,000 civilians, and 4, 000 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve personnel. Over 6,000 Airmen from AETC are also deployed around the world in today's fight.

"Major transformations in training and education came to AETC after the Persian Gulf War and 1992 was designated the Year of Training," said Ann Hussey, an Air Education and Training Command historian.

The initiative to create a single and consistent education and training structure for officer, enlisted and civilian personnel led to AETCs current designation.

"The year of training revamped the Air Force's education and training requiring all enlisted personnel attend technical training," Hussey said, "The goal was to make all Air Force members mission ready upon arrival at their first duty station."

The Air Force merged Air University and ATC on July 1, 1993, re-designating the command to AETC. The command gained two numbered Air Forces, the Nineteenth to oversee flying training from Randolph AFB, and the Second to manage basic and technical training from Keesler AFB, Miss.

The command also converted its training centers to training wings and resumed responsibility for much of the aircrew training mission, freeing the operational commands to focus on warfighting.

Hussey said what is most significant at AETC today is its focus on modernization and enhancing the level of education for all Airmen.

"New advanced weapons systems, such as the C-130 J at Little Rock AFB, Ark., the F-22 at Tyndall AFB, Fla., the F-35 at Eglin AFB, Fla., and the CV-22 at Kirtland AFB, N.M., requires highly skilled trainers, pilots and maintainers," Hussey said.

"Simulator flying training integrates new technology while maintaining cost effectiveness and affordability." Currently, Kirtland AFB, N.M. provides high-fidelity training in HC-130 flight simulation, which emulates aircraft handling, refueling, air drops, defensive tactics and emergency procedures for the entire crew.

"Air University offers both in-residence and distance learning opportunities. The Community College of the Air Force offers Airmen online courses that combine military and technical training with accredited courses to receive associate degrees," she said.

"The first Ph.D. program offered by Air University is through the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Maxwell AFB, Ala."

Throughout its history, AETC, known as the "First Command," has been committed to creating innovative training and education programs built on the achievements and hard work of thousands of dedicated men and women.

AETCs foundation for success in the Air Force will continue to advance its programs "to develop America's Airmen today... for tomorrow."



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