HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
Providing combatant commanders more lethal and ready Airmen to support joint operational taskings is a top priority for Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein.
For Airmen to more successfully operate in the joint operations of today’s dynamic security environment, Goldfein has communicated the need to focus development that allows Airmen to gain joint proficiency earlier in their careers, including training opportunities.
“To better prepare our officer, enlisted and civilian force to stand up, lead and support a joint task force, we must reinvigorate our development to purposefully and systematically gain proficiency in joint warfare earlier in the careers of our Airmen,” Goldfein stated in “Strengthening Joint Leaders and Teams…a Combined Arms Imperative,” a memo sent Air Force wide. “Our Airmen should continue to serve in joint positions, both on staff and operationally, and capitalize on joint experiences, education and training.”
That purposeful development and capitalization on joint experience is exactly what Tech. Sgt. Shawn Koch, an aircraft fuel systems craftsman from the 49th Component Maintenance Squadron, was looking for while attending the U.S. Army’s Air Assault School at Fort Bliss, Texas in February 2019.
Koch gained a lot of knowledge and motivation from the course and has plans to apply it within his shop, leading by example.
“At work so far (I have had) a new sense of motivation and understanding of the Profession of Arms, due to my training with our sister service,” said Koch. “Seeing the interactions with the Army’s soldiers and the Airmen, how we can incorporate a little more attention to details, being a little more forward and really just more motivated.”
Koch was provided information on the Air Assault School from Senior Airman Brennan McMullin, an 849th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron F-16 tactical aircraft mechanic, who had previously attended the course himself.
“The course requires a lot of mental fortitude and physical endurance to achieve the academics,” said McMullin. “It is not that they bring that skillset back to their unit; it's them being exposed to another branch of service and seeing how they do things, how they perform and what their demeanor is – learning the leadership and management skills from being around (the Army).”
While it is common for special-warfare Airmen and other special Air Force specialty codes to attend joint courses, the chance to attend them is not limited to just those career fields. Attending different courses allows one to make a connection to lives outside of their job, network in the Air Force as well as the Army, and understand the differences between the branches in reporting, leadership and mentorship.
“More or less, it’s an opportunity for the average Airman,” said McMullin. “It’s not just Air Assault School; it can be Pathfinder, Ranger or any other school the Army offers since we have a joint force relationship with them.”
If interested in pursuing a course outside your career field, please discuss it with your leadership and for course information, such as prerequisites, search https://app10eis.aetc.af.mil/etca/SitePages/Home.aspx