Tuesday, September 25, 2007

TOP STORY >>General highlights AETC mission, impact, initiatives

By Tech. Sgt.
Mike Hammond
Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Gen. William R. Looney III, commander of Air Education and Training Command, treated a crowd of more than 2,000 to a look at “The First Command’s” mission, initiatives, and impact on the Air Force during opening comments at the 2007 AETC Symposium in San Antonio Thursday.

While highlighting the three main branches of the command’s mission — recruiting, training, and educating Airmen — the general was quick to point out AETC’s contributions to the Global War on Terror.

“We’re in the fight,” General Looney said. “Last year, we deployed more than 3,500 individuals to the AORs — about 1,450 are currently deployed. We have 113 people on 365-day rotations, and 20 percent are in non-traditional Army taskings in-lieu-of.”

In addition to the direct role of supplying warrior Airmen to the fight, the general pointed to the very real impact of training on Airmen’s success in theater.

“The vast majority of Airmen we train are going to be somewhere in harm’s way within the next year or two,” General Looney said. “It is up to us to impart to them the talent and skill they need to accomplish their mission in a world-class fashion and at the same time make sure we get them back safely to the families that love them.”

AETC includes Air Force Recruiting Service, two Numbered Air Forces, and Air University — each entity having many initiatives in the works.

The general highlighted the work of Air Force recruiters to bring in the right quantity of Airmen of the highest quality.
Noting that the Air Force has the highest percentage among all services of enlistees scoring in the top half of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, General Looney also pointed out that the Air Force admits the smallest percentage of applicants requiring any kind of moral waiver to enlist.

Upcoming initiatives to market the Air Force to potential applicants include aligning recruiting zones with zip codes and continuation of successful advertising and promotional campaigns.

Second Air Force is responsible for technical training. General Looney pointed to the November 2008 addition of two weeks to Basic Military Training, adding Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape training for all Airmen, and the stand-up of Common Battlefield Airmen Training as ways that Airmen working “outside the wire” will get the training they need to be able to perform and return home safely.

Nineteenth Air Force conducts flying training for the Air Force.

According to General Looney, the command’s new Initial Flight Screening operation is doing well in preparing flying candidates for the rigors of military aviation.

The general also told the crowd of the plans to stand up an F-22 basic qualification course. “This means we’re going to take some of the young lieutenants and make their dream come true — send them directly to the F-22.”

General Looney also pointed to a new undergraduate pilot training syllabus designed to produce an “even better pilot than we’ve already been producing” and training aircraft improvements like the upgraded avionics on the T-38C Talon.

Air University, the “intellectual and leadership center of the Air Force,” produces the students, faculty and ideas that shape how America conducts warfare across the full spectrum of conflict.

General Looney mentioned the importance not only of the continuing professional military education of Air Force members but also the work with airmen from international allies.

“Since 1958, more than 350 graduates of the United States Air Force Air University, from foreign countries, have risen to the rank of chief of their air force,” the general said. “The relationship built during their time in this country ... is crucial because it’s at the formative stage, usually, of their careers.”

He also noted that this relationship pays “huge dividends” in executing coalition requirements together. By recruiting, training, and educating Airmen throughout their careers, AETC executes its mission of developing America’s Airmen today ... for tomorrow.

“Right now, today, we are training the first sergeants and squadron commanders of 2020,” General Looney said. “We are now training the command chiefs and wing commanders of 2025.

And we are recruiting, training, and educating the general officer corps that will lead this Air Force in 2030.

“I can’t think of any mission more important to our Air Force,” General Looney said, “than the one we have right here in AETC.”


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