82nd TRG becomes next stop on general's orientation schedule

Master Sgt. David Meany tells Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux, 82nd Training Wing commander, how the 361st Training Squadron displays tools Airmen will use in the field. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Ingle)

Master Sgt. David Meany tells Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux, 82nd Training Wing commander, how the 361st Training Squadron displays tools Airmen will use in the field. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Ingle)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux methodically went through some of the courses Monday afternoon at the 82nd Training Group. 

Always the student, the general listened intently as if he were the one being taught the fundamentals of avionics, how to manage an airfield or the intricate details in tearing apart and putting back together the weapons system of an F-16. 

It was the general's second chance to roll up his sleeves and see what his Airmen learn during his immersion visit to the 82nd TRG and determine first hand whether the 82nd TRW is meeting his priority of being "Technically the Best" at training Sheppard's young Airmen. 

One thing was certain during all of his stops - is Sheppard training like comparable to how Airmen go to war? 

For example, the general was intrigued by a computer program at the 363rd Training Squadron that allows Airmen to see the intricate parts of a weapons system on a computer screen and understanding how it works before touching the actual equipment. 

The general asked Master Sgt. Carmen Campbell, an armament instructor at the squadron, if Airmen were able to use the same technology in the field after they graduate. 

Sergeant Campbell said the technology wasn't in the field yet and the 363rd TRS is the test site for that particular application. 

General Devereaux places a premium on quality training and providing life-like scenarios to make today's Air Force better. That was observed when he visited the Aircraft and Munitions Maintenance Officers Course at the 360th TRS. 

Rodney Townsend, an AMMOC instructor, explained how the course prepares young officers for real-world experiences by placing high demands on production. For example, Mr. Townsend said officers are required to communicate in the classroom the same way they would in the field. 

Col. Samuel Lofton III, commander of the 82nd TRG, said officers are pushed to the max to ensure the Air Force is getting the biggest bang for its buck. Testing the limits interested the general. 

"This is one I definitely want to come down early and watch," the general said of the course. 

General Devereaux wasn't alone in his immersion endeavors. He was accompanied by his wife, Elizabeth. 

Mrs. Devereaux even experienced some of the high-tech training tools at the 363rd TRS when she put on a virtual reality 3D headset and glove to maneuver around a hangar. 

With the flick of a finger or the grasp of a fist, Mrs. Devereaux was able to "touch" different equipment in the hangar, including an F-15 Eagle. 

"That was better than a lot of the students," said 1st Lt. Brandon Farinelli, the armament flight commander. 

The general had an opportunity to speak with a class of Aerospace Ground Equipment Airmen at the 361st TRS to end his tour of the 82nd TRG. The Airmen were learning the airflow schematic for the butterfly valve on a turbine generator. 

General Devereaux urged the Airmen to "pay close attention" to the lessons their instructors provide and wished them well in the course. He even chatted with them about coloring the schematics by hand to better understand the system. 

"Study hard," the general said, "and keep coloring." 

That drew a little laughter and a hearty 'yes, sir' from Airmen in the class. 

The general plans to visit each group here to gain a broader understanding of Sheppard's mission. 

"I'm impressed by what I've seen so far of our Team Sheppard focus on providing the world's best training for our Airmen!"