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2020 to be pivotal year in transformation of maintenance, logistics training

364th Training Squadron cable and antenna systems apprentice course students climb a communications tower to perform a ground based tower rescue

From left, Airmen Christopher Zamarron, Ashton Anderson and Brendan Adame, 364th Training Squadron cable and antenna systems apprentice course students, participate in a ground-based tower rescue exercise at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 23, 2018. Anderson is playing the role of the victim, while Adame and Zamarron secure him before the ground team lowers him down. Several situations like equipment failure or injury could leave the climber unable to descend the tower on their own. This method is the safest for retrieving someone from the tower because it only puts the person descending at risk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

Hanson aces 365th Training Squadron's instruments and flight controls apprentice course

Airman 1st Class Charles Hanson of Ventura, California, looks over a technical order before checking instrument and flight control systems of the C-130 Hercules at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 2, 2019. Hanson completed the 10-week, roughly 50 academic-day instruments and flight controls apprentice course in the 365th Training Squadron with perfect scores in each of the block tests administered. His next stop is the 28th Maintenance Squadron at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. (U.S. Air Force photo by John Ingle)

Airman 1st Class Christine Smith and Airman 1st Class Kaylie Cunningham, 364th Training Squadron electrical and environmental apprentice course students, remove and install an oxygen regulator on an F-15 Eagle at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, June 14, 2019. Oxygen is very important especially when pilots fly to certain altitudes where it gets more thin. Without the regulator the pilot won't get a steady supply of oxygen and may lose consciousness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

Airman 1st Class Christine Smith and Airman 1st Class Kaylie Cunningham, 364th Training Squadron electrical and environmental apprentice course students, remove and install an oxygen regulator on an F-15 Eagle at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, June 14, 2019. Oxygen is very important especially when pilots fly to certain altitudes where it gets more thin. Without the regulator the pilot won't get a steady supply of oxygen and may lose consciousness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

Sheppard

Airmen Chris Bradley and Samuel Zietzmann, 361st Training Squadron aircraft metals technology apprentice course students, scribe dimension lines to desired dimensions at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, June 7, 2019. Aircraft metals technology training is crucial to ensuring Airmen are able to make proper repairs to essential aircraft parts. Baudin said it is important for the Airmen to be familiar with the machine in order to get each part to proper blueprint dimension. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Madeleine E. Remillard)

363rd Training Squadron munitions apprentice course students attach a Mark 82 training bomb to an MJ-1 ammunition loader while their instructor, left, supervises at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, June 7, 2019. The students actually built the bombs before and are now performing a crossload, which moves the bombs from one trailer to another. A crossload is performed when a trailer is either scheduled for maintenance or due to mission requirements must be moved. (U.S. Air Force phoot by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

363rd Training Squadron munitions apprentice course students attach a Mark 82 training bomb to an MJ-1 ammunition loader while their instructor, left, supervises at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, June 7, 2019. The students actually built the bombs before and are now performing a crossload, which moves the bombs from one trailer to another. A crossload is performed when a trailer is either scheduled for maintenance or due to mission requirements must be moved. (U.S. Air Force phoot by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

366th Training Squadron electrical systems apprentice course students perform a crossarm change out at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 28, 2019. Changing out the crossarm is important as they get damaged due to weather or rot that can deform the bar. The poles will likely be used and trained on by multiple classes, and students are also in-charge of maintaining and replacing poles that are too worn out. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

366th Training Squadron electrical systems apprentice course students perform a crossarm change out at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, May 28, 2019. Changing out the crossarm is important as they get damaged due to weather or rot that can deform the bar. The poles will likely be used and trained on by multiple classes, and students are also in-charge of maintaining and replacing poles that are too worn out. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

Sheppard Airmen perform a safe for maintenance check

Airman Josiah Benoit, right, 362nd Training Squadron F-16 crew chief apprentice course student, performs a safe for maintenance check on an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft trainer while his instructor, Tech. Sgt. Joshua Gorman, supervises at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, March 26, 2019. A safe for maintenance check is performed first before a crew chief can start to service an aircraft. The check helps crew chiefs reduce accidents and injuries by making sure all the aircraft's systems are inoperable during their maintenance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

Sheppard AFB

A 363rd Training Squadron armament apprentice course student drives a MHU-83 bomb loader at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 5, 2019. The MHU-83 is able to carry 7,000 pounds and is a valuable asset within the Air Force as the added side wheels allows for slight adjustments making it easier to transport and load the bombs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

Sheppard Airmen technical training

Senior Airman Anthony Smith, 364th Training Squadron fuel apprentice course student, carries a hose at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 30, 2018. Smith is learning how to refuel and defuel a C-130 Hercules trainer. The C-130 has been stripped of its engine and was outfitted with a fuel tank that can hold up to 1,500 gallons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

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Col. Kenyon K. Bell, 82nd Training Wing commander, sits down with Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs' Dan Hawkins to discuss the transformation of maintenance and logistics training designed to meet the needs of the future force. The transformation is a long-term project that integrates initiatives in the areas of teaching methods, technologies and processes with the cooperation of stakeholders at the AF, major command, functional career field managers and operational level.

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VIDEO | 12:40 | Vision 2020: The Future of Air Force Maintenance and Logistics Training intro
SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – As the Air Force continues to evolve to meet the challenges of a constantly evolving, Information Age global security environment, the 82nd Training Wing is working to transform maintenance and logistics technical training to deliver the Airmen who will form the heart of that future force.

“We are one wing in a big Air Force,” said Col. Kenyon Bell, 82nd Training Wing commander, “but because of our role and the scope and scale of our training mission, we have an enormous role in shaping the future force.”

About 44 percent of the Air Force’s technical training is accomplished at the 82nd Training Wing, Bell said – which includes logistics and most engineering career fields.

“That includes logistics readiness; aircraft, munitions and missile maintenance; and civil engineering,” he said. “We have a significant role in training all of those disciplines, either entirely within the 82nd or in concert with our joint partners and also our sister wings in Second Air Force.

“That means we have a huge challenge and a huge opportunity – to transform technical training, and specifically maintenance and logistics training, to meet the strategic demands of a 21st Century force.”

The 82nd delivers more than 65,000 graduates annually in more than 900 maintenance, logistics, civil engineering and some cyber and missile maintenance courses. These courses cover not only initial skills training, but advanced and specialty courses delivered at 60 locations around the globe.

“We’ve been doing technical training in the Air Force for a long time, and doing it very well. Here at Sheppard, it’s been part of our DNA since the base opened in 1941. The Greatest Generation gave us an incredible gift when they laid the foundations of the training enterprise that, more or less, we still use,” Bell said.

“But we now find ourselves in a situation very similar to the one they faced. They had to build the training foundations for a viable force, accounting for rapidly changing technology and a very challenging global threat on the horizon. They did an incredible job – they made such an intellectual leap that we’ve used their basic model for seven decades.

“Now it’s our turn. As an Air Force, we are in the midst of incredible technological changes happening at light speed, as well as our own challenging threat picture. The evolutionary, incremental changes we’ve made over the years to the training process are no longer enough – we need to make revolutionary changes. We need to make the same kind of evolutionary and revolutionary leap our forebears made.”

Bell said the wing, Second Air Force and AETC have been laying the foundations for this transformation for several years.

“There has been a lot of experimentation and innovation going on, especially since 2016,” he said. “It’s been incredibly important in helping us understand what works and what doesn’t. Now it’s time to start putting those lessons in play.”

Among those experiments are efforts like the Enhanced Training Day, launched at Sheppard in 2016. That effort explored ways to incorporate force development and foundational competencies – Airmanship – into the technical training environment.

Along with similar efforts at other technical training wings, the experiment helped inform Second Air Force’s Airmanship 200 program, which will formally integrate core Airmanship and force development concepts into technical training beginning this year.

Another effort more specific to the maintenance and logistics world is Maintenance Next. Activated in January 2019 at Joint Base San Antonio’s Kelly Field, its goal is to explore ways to leverage advanced technologies to train aircraft maintainers – specifically crew chiefs – more efficiently and effectively.

“Technology is changing the way we live and learn and it has opened up many opportunities to improve training to meet the needs of today’s Airman,” Lt. Col. Sean Goode, Maintenance Next detachment commander, said.

Currently, the Maintenance Next team is working with students who recently graduated basic military training.  These students are able to explore through learning labs any time of the day or night in their dormitory or work center.  The labs feature a variety of learning devices to include augmented and virtual reality simulators.

“Offering 24/7 access to education and diverse tools helps our team understand which tools best suit the learning needs of our Airmen,” Goode said.  “We are also examining those tools to determine if they are successful at building maintainer competencies through hands-on evaluations.”

Beginning this spring, Maintenance Next will be field tested at Sheppard, Bell said.

“Sean has done an incredible job looking at how these emerging technologies can enhance training,” he said. “The next step is to test them in the formal training environment. If we get the results we expect, then we’ll focus on the next big challenge – how to implement across other maintenance specialties and then sustain it.”

While transforming maintenance and logistics training is a strategic imperative, Bell said it’s important to be realistic.

“We have to have a bias for action and move forward,” he said. “But we also have to understand that maintenance and logistics training is a huge enterprise with a long history and lots of moving parts. It’s not just about what happens in the classroom – it’s about the whole process: how we define training requirements and resource them; the processes for staffing instructors and military training leaders; making curriculum development more iterative and responsive to the field.”

This maintenance training transformation effort is a large job and will require coordination and cooperation across the enterprise, from the staff sergeant instructor at the podium all the way up to Air Education and Training Command Commander Lt. Gen. Brad Webb and Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection Lt. Gen. Warren Berry.

A part of the job that often gets overlooked, he said, is communication.

“Vision 2020 is our effort to make sure our stakeholders know what we’re trying to do and why – and also to get their input, support and buy-in,” Bell said. “It’s going to take all of us working together to make this happen.”

Vision 2020 will be anchored by a series of videos featuring different aspects of the transformation effort, along with articles and other products, released throughout the year.

For more information, go to www.sheppard.af.mil/Vision-2020.