SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Three field training detachments, in support of Global Strike Command’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program activated this year as part of Air Education and Training Command.
The 982nd Training Group, under the 82nd Training Wing at Sheppard, recently stood up three FTDs at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, and Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.
“When it comes to standards and proficiency in maintaining our nation’s ICBM fleet, this is the right way ahead,” said Lawrence Kingsley, director of AFGSC Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection. “We’re focusing on developing and maintaining a high-level of proficiency that is uniform across the force. The graduates from the training detachments will have had training instructors devoted solely to creating mission-ready experts who are able to be dispatch to our launch facilities in the field.”
Currently, the training is conducted and managed by the command’s unit maintenance training flights with the focus of providing centralized training for field technicians. With the stand-up of the detachments, maintenance training transfers to AETC.
“By putting the training process in the hands of AETC, while using Striker Airmen as instructors, AETC can focus solely on providing the training and my folks can focus solely on mission execution of ICBM maintenance,” Kingsley said.
During nuclear enterprise reviews conducted in 2014, it was noted that because AFGSC was responsible for both mission execution and training there was a resulting delay in initial qualification training for Airmen. At the conclusion of the reviews, AFGSC was tasked with identifying the needs to accelerate training, while AETC was tasked with reviewing the relevance of formal training for nuclear forces.
In January 2015, AFGSC and AETC leaders concurred with the recommendation to establish detachments at each main operating base in place of the current team training.
“The decision to stand up FTDs is one of many examples of how important it is for major commands, wings and Airmen to help one another in the pursuit of excellence as a unified branch,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, commander of AETC. “By having AETC oversee the training through detachments, we are able to not only assist AFGSC in improving the training process’ efficiency, but also preserve the high quality and mission readiness required of graduates.”
“Training is what Lt. Gen. Roberson and his crew do, and they do it well, and high-quality ICBM maintainers is what we require,” Kingsley said. “Together we can increase the combat capability of the nuclear program, and subsequently the Air Force.”
History of the Field Training Detachment
Field training detachments have a long history in aircraft maintenance, going back to World War II when training units would go to forward operating bases to ensure aircraft maintainers had the most current information and training.
With more than 50 field training detachments at bases on three continents, the 982nd TRG continues that tradition today. By bringing formal, curriculum-driven courses to the units where aircraft -- and now missile -- maintainers are stationed, AETC ensures these Airmen are the best trained in the world.