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AFSO 21 initiative speeds up aircrew training process

by Tech. Sgt. Larry W. Carpenter Jr.
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

9/21/2007 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFPN) -- Members of the 92nd Operations Support Squadron here have reduced the amount of training time required to get aircrews mission-ready and deployable through an AFSO 21 initiative. 

The Fairchild Air Force Base AFSO 21 team came up with a plan that reduces the previous four-month training process to just 30 days.

"When someone shows up on base, they come with basic qualifications," said Lt. Col. Kelly Martin, the 92nd Operations Support Squadron director of operations. "We then have to get them 'mission ready,' or deployable."

The team asked some hard questions, the colonel said.

"Nothing was off the table," Colonel Martin said. "We even challenged regulations."

The changes ensure arriving crewmembers focus on flying-specific tasks before returning to their squadrons to complete non-flying tasks. This time reduction allows crewmembers more time to become skilled in their jobs. 

More crewmembers available to accomplish the mission, also equals less strain on each individual.

"It's important to reduce the training time because we have a lot of crewmembers who are deployed multiple times per year," said Maj. Stephen Walmsley, from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing. "The sooner a crewmember is ready, the sooner he or she will be actively supporting the mission." 

The true test of these numbers will be verified down the road as training progresses, Colonel Martin said.

"I think that it's easy to claim victory very quickly, and we don't want to fall into the trap of doing that," he said. "What we want to do is take a look (in) six months and see if it is giving us the response that we thought it would, and if not, figure out why."

If response is good, the changes at Fairchild AFB could affect the other tanker bases across Air Mobility Command," Colonel Martin said.

The new training process will also have great benefits locally.

"In the long run, our aircrew (members) will see fewer days in the area of responsibility, more time between deployments, and the capability to more rapidly execute the mission," Major Walmsley said. 

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