All AFROTC field training moving to Maxwell Published Feb. 1, 2008 By Carl Bergquist Air University Public Affairs MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Air Force officials recently announced all Reserve Officer Training Corps field training is moving here beginning the summer of 2008. Last summer's ROTC schedule included three encampments here and three encampments at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., but this year will mark the first time all encampments will take place at one location. In addition to the move, officials are revamping the training curriculum to incorporate 11 days of training at Maxwell's Officer Training School, six days at Maxwell's Blue Thunder training complex, and six days at the Joint Force Training Center in Hattiesburg, Miss. Lt. Col. Guy Parker, Air Force ROTC Director of Operations, said he considers the upcoming transformation the most significant change to Air Force ROTC training in the last 60 years. Instructors will conduct primarily in-class instruction at the OTS portion, but training at the Blue Thunder complex and JFTC involves extensive deployment and expeditionary training. Colonel Parker said he and Army Col. Earnest Shows, JFTC commander, are looking forward to building a long-term partnership to benefit AFROTC and its training program. Training capabilities at the JFTC include four forward operating bases, simulated Southwest Asian cities, a C-130 runway and C-17 assault strip, live-fire weapons ranges, convoy operation areas, a land navigation course and base defense training areas. "We are leveraging their expertise for our cadets, and some of the most current lessons from the war can be learned at the JFTC facility," Colonel Parker noted. The move brings many positive opportunities, but also includes challenges. "Our biggest challenge is getting airlift support to take cadets to the JFTC," said Maj. John Carros, AFROTC chief of training. "We have a commitment from the 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell, but we are also working with the Air Force Reserve to get additional commitments from other air mobility units." Other obstacles cadre members are overcoming include: plans for adverse weather; medical support; and a lack of dormitory space, Major Carros said. While dormitory-expansion plans are in the works, cadre members developed overlapping encampments to provide adequate living quarters for incoming cadets. As a result, six field training classes will overlap during this summer's encampments. The plan is a "temporary, tactical solution to a strategic problem," Colonel Parker said. More than 70 people will run each encampment as cadre, with O-6s filling the commander and vice commander positions.