Training programs have reach beyond the Air Force

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Any questions about Sheppard's importance in the overall mission of the Air Force and current operations were answered in one visit by a senior Air Force official. 

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Michael Dominguez visited this week and was impressed by what he saw, calling the installation a "superbly run institution" with "great things happening here." 

"We are making changes across the world because of the training done here," Mr. Dominguez said. "There is a lot of innovation going on at Sheppard and it is greatly improving our training abilities and the training of other country's military services." 

Part of his work is with policy oversight of training so he was interested to see how it was going, talk to Airmen and see how commanders were handling the challenges in preparing Airmen for their future in the Air Force. The changes being made in Washington, D.C., that are making their way to bases were a focus of his trip. 

"I wanted to see the policy at work in the field on things like sexual assaults, religious tolerance and training," the assistant secretary said. "At Sheppard, I got to see this policy at work and see that you are preparing Airmen to be expeditionary in our future Air Force." 

His three-day visit took him throughout the base, giving him a chance to see all of Sheppard's training in action. From the medical readiness site to the simulators at the 80th Flying Training Wing and telecommunications training to aircraft maintenance, the assistant secretary was able to view much of what Team Sheppard does on a daily basis. 

The instructors and students had a chance to talk with Mr. Dominguez and shared their opinions on training and their insight into Air Force life with him. 

"In talking to the instructors, I could see how excited they were to being doing their job," he said. "It looks like we are doing the right things here and are accomplishing a lot." 

One of the areas that really impressed him was the degree to which the training programs have incorporated new technologies into the classroom and improved as a result. Seeing the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program's new flight simulators further showed him the scope of Sheppard's training. 

"I'm glad things are working here at Sheppard," Mr. Dominguez said. "We can see the right movement here and in the Air Force as a whole toward an expeditionary focus. It is a big deal today and Sheppard gets this, I can see it in the training."