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Ground schools fly to Lackland

  • Published
  • By James Coburn
  • 37th Training Wing Public Affairs
Enlisted aviator ground schools for seven different specialties are moving to Lackland to create the Career Enlisted Aircrew Center of Excellence.

The move will provide better and quicker academic training at less cost, said Mark Smith, training manager and aircrew pipeline manager for the 344th Training Squadron.

Mr. Smith said the efficiencies and cost savings include elimination of hundreds of plane trips, wait time and per diem, since many of the aircrew students will travel only twice instead of three times before arriving at their flying training units.

The 344th TRS currently trains 2,000 Airmen a year in the 14-day Enlisted Aircrew Undergraduate Course before the Airmen go to survival training, then to their 3-level specialty ground school. Seven of these schools and about 40 instructors will be moving to Lackland for academic classes at Forbes Hall along with the EAUC.

Lt. Col. Rob Huber, 344th TRS commander, said, "The intent is to take all the initial skills training for enlisted aviators from where they are now and consolidate them here to create a 'Common Aircrew Culture,' and also get some cost savings and training pipeline efficiencies."

Colonel Huber said seven of the eight specialties will be moving here, with the first school scheduled to arrive in April. He said the eighth specialty, 1A8, or linguists, will stay at the ground schools at Monterey, Calif., and Goodfellow AFB, Texas, "because they have a year and a half of language in a joint school with the Army."

Specialties moving here are 1A0, aerial refuelers, from Altus AFB, Okla.; 1A1, flight engineers, from Kirtland AFB, N.M., Little Rock, Ark., or Altus; 1A2, loadmasters, from Altus or Little Rock; 1A3 and 1A4, airborne battle managers and airborne mission specialists, from Keesler AFB, Miss.; 1A6, flight attendants, from Andrews AFB, Md.; and 1A7, aerial gunners, from Kirtland.

Mr. Smith said the first move, with the first class scheduled to start April 11, is the ground school for airborne battle managers. The next, scheduled for October, is for flight attendants, followed by airborne mission specialists in January. He said the other schools, according to an aggressive implementation plan, are to move between January and October of next year. Delays are possible, he said, since moving instructors and positions are involved, which takes funding. "Sometimes things don't happen as quickly as we would like."

The courses are all different lengths, he said, and each includes some common material that could be taught in the basic course. Since the 3-level courses would follow immediately and at the same location, wait time and travel to the 3-level courses would be eliminated.

Mr. Smith said the consolidation was identified in December by Air Education and Training Command headquarters as the No. 1 "Quick Win" initiative for AFSO21 (Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century).

"I want to see the biggest bang for my buck, both personally and professionally. And this will get us that - better-trained Airmen to the field quicker, which is really critical in today's Global War on Terrorism. These are the guys that put metal in the air, and they're actually putting metal into hostile air for us," the training manager said.

Currently, most aircrew students enter the 14-day course after completing basic training, Mr. Smith said. They go to survival training from Lackland, then to their 3-level course before going to their respective flying training units.

Mr. Smith emphasized that only the ground school portion of the training is coming to Lackland. The flight training portion will remain at their current locations.

At first, the 3-level courses will be their current lengths at Lackland. But after all of them have been taught here for some time, he said, a Utilization and Training Workshop will be held to rewrite the courses. "We expect they will end up being shorter," he said, since common material will be moved into the basic course.

Career development courses for each Air Force Specialty Code also will be moved to Lackland, Mr. Smith said, noting that will provide better continuity because when a course writer leaves, others will be available to fill in. He said the center also plans to develop advanced training courses to support all of the career enlisted aviators' training needs.
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