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Preparing for a new era: Ready Airman Training

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Kayla Fitzgerald
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

As the Air Force transitions to the Air Force Force Generation, or AFFORGEN, deployment model, leaders across Hill Air Force Base are taking steps to ensure their units are ready for the high-end fight.

Senior Master Sgt. James Mitchell, 75th Comptroller Squadron and Wing Staff Agencies senior enlisted leader, incorporated Ready Airman Training into his unit’s training tempo when the concept was launched last October, preparing Airmen in areas such as combat arms and Tactical Combat Casualty Care.

“It’s important that all Airmen are familiar with combat-based skills so we can get after the meaning of Multi Capable Airmen,” said Mitchell. “Doing TCCC isn’t just a deployment skill…it’s a life skill that could be needed at any time.”

Ready Airman Training is designed to overcome the shortfalls of previous deployment training that was accomplished on an as-needed basis once an individual had been tasked with a deployment. More routine training ensures skills are retained and individuals are prepared for taskings.

“These trainings help get after readiness on a more consistent basis,” Mitchell said. “Ready Airman Training is better than ‘just-in-time’ training because of the predictability that’s built into the AFFORGEN model.”

Airmen now receive training spread throughout the Reset, Prepare and Ready phases of the AFFORGEN cycle, an 18-month time span. This ensures Airmen are fully prepared when they enter the Available to Commit phase, a six-month period when personnel are either deployed or available to deploy. The latest training event for the 75th WSA consisted of a weapons familiarization session hosted by the 75th Security Forces Squadron.

“What a phenomenal opportunity for all those involved,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Stull, 75th SFS logistics and readiness superintendent.  “Aside from annual firing requirements along with individual readiness requirements for deployments, it is very uncommon for Security Forces to have the opportunity to hold this type of weapon training and familiarization event.”

Defenders trained the group on the M9 Beretta and M4 Carbine, with participants learning disassembly and reassembly procedures along with proper firing techniques. Stull explained that these are weapons service members may use in deployments and other high threat scenarios, so being familiar with how they work is key.

“I believe that no matter the Airmen’s career field, we are all in the Profession of Arms and the sooner we can get shooters comfortable handling a firearm, the more proficient those shooters will be,” said Stull. “Over previous years, it has become abundantly clear that critical skills used to save lives cannot be learned and maintained with the ’just-in-time’ training approach.”

 This opportunity reinforced previously learned skills for those who do not fire regularly. This increases confidence, proficiency and ideally leads to a more lethal force along with saving the costs and time associated with remedial training.

“Some Airmen haven’t held a weapon since Basic Military Training or have never handled a weapon with going through their commissioning program,” Mitchell said.  “Being more familiar with weapons will help make them feel more confident when they do have to qualify.”

75th WSA leadership is also using these training sessions to build morale and foster engagement throughout the diverse offices that make up the unit.

“Along with the tactical skills Airmen learn in these sessions, they get to network with Airmen in the WSA that they normally don’t get to see,” said Mitchell. “We’re building communication skills and camaraderie within WSA.”

Additionally, the weapons familiarization training was mutually beneficial with the 75th SFS using the event to develop their personnel.

“These training sessions offer Defenders an opportunity to sharpen their skills and knowledge on the weapons we handle on a day-to-day basis…every opportunity we have to manipulate these weapons we become more skillful,” Stull said. “More importantly, we can accomplish little without those we surround ourselves by. The larger we grow our networks the better each of us will fare.”

The skills gained and the teamwork demonstrated by this training directly supports the 75th Air Base Wing’s mission to build trusted Airmen, create resilient infrastructure and deliver combat power.

If other leaders across Hill believe weapons familiarization training would be beneficial for their units, they are encouraged to email Stull for more information.