Training imperative to mission success
By Lt. Col. Lawrence McLaughlin, 37th Helicopter Squadron commander
/ Published January 11, 2008
F. E. WARREN AFB, Wyo. --
Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur once said, "In no other profession are the penalties for employing untrained personnel so appalling or so irrevocable as in the military." As our weapon systems become more complicated, our duties more diverse and our enemies more sophisticated. This statement is truer today than it was when General MacArthur first said it. Last year, we saw some significant changes in how the Air Force approaches training. As a service, we are taking large steps to ensure all of the required training is relevant, timely and focused.
A major step forward was the critical evaluation of ancillary training requirements. Ancillary training requirements are quickly being reduced -- from days to less than two hours -- by eliminating irrelevant training, redesigning training and changing requirements so the training is delivered only as needed.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley is pressing hard to provide survival, evasion, resistance and escape training to all Airmen, not just aircrew. He realizes that the battlefield is much different than we envisioned years ago, and Airman are assigned to many non-traditional roles outside the 'wire.' Some far-reaching changes in training are closer to home. Air Force Space Command has recently taken great strides in providing realistic training to enhance missile field security and has mandated focused pre-deployment training for everyone supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. Most of this training is being conducted at Camp Guernsey by the 90th Ground Combat Training Squadron.
It is clear the Air Force is working hard to provide focused, quality training, but we must also do our part. It is our duty as Airmen to ensure we take full advantage of every training opportunity. We need to be mentally and physically prepared for every training event. Training, regardless of the type or topic, should be approached as we would an operational mission or task. The old adage -- train like you will fight because you will fight like you train -- is still true today.
According to Air Force doctrine, the first training guideline is realism. With all training we need to simulate real world situations as much as possible. Realism will best challenge the trainee and better prepare Airmen to meet the complexities of actual operations.
The next time you are conducting training, whether it is a monthly missile procedure trainer, a self-aid and buddy care class, or weapons qualification, treat it like it is the real thing. Training is the foundation for the successful execution of our Air Force mission. The Air Force provides some of the best training opportunities in the Department of Defense. It is imperative that every Airman get as much out of the training as possible -- it just might save your life or the life of your wingman.