VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – The footprint of Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, grew a little bit during the COVID-19 pandemic when a training group located at Vandenberg AFB located northwest of Los Angeles in Southern California became part of the 82nd Training Wing.
Brig. Gen. Kenyon Bell, 82nd TRW commander, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Diena Mosely visited their new teammates in the 381st Training Group at Vandenberg AFB Sept. 28-30 to check out the group’s mission.
The 381st TRG is home to missile maintenance training for officers and enlisted personnel. The group and the 532nd Training Squadron were administratively transferred from 2nd Air Force and realigned under the 82nd TRW in July 2020. The move was a logical one given Sheppard’s history.
Bell said visiting the new addition to Sheppard’s training arsenal is a significant opportunity to see the group’s mission and the tie that it has with the 82nd TRW.
“This is pretty special. When we think back about the link between the 381st Training Group to Sheppard Air Force Base, we can very easily see that missile maintenance training used to be done at Sheppard AFB back when it was the ICBM maintenance training along with the intermediate range ballistic missile training, and that was back in the 50s until the 80s,” Bell said. “After it left Sheppard, it transferred out here to Vandenberg.”
Mosely is no stranger to the missions at Vandenberg. Before her assigned at Sheppard, she served as command chief master sergeant of the 30th Space Wing, which is now part of the Space Force.
“I was always like a kid in a candy store whenever we had a launch here or even coming over to the 381st to watch how they train; watch the enthusiasm in not only the enlisted but the officer corps as well as they learn the new way of getting after the mission here at the 381st,” she said.
Col. Daniel Rickards, 381st TRG commander, spoke on the importance of the group’s mission for the Air Force.
“We are charged with producing world class nuclear warfighters on the operations side and on the maintenance side as well,” he said. “It’s the gateway for nuclear operations and for nuclear maintenance as well.”
The 82nd TRW leadership team toured the schoolhouses and climbed down 20 feet into a missile silo used for training.
“In our opinion, it’s one of the most important missions that our airmen get to do every single day,” said Chief Master Sgt. Lance Powers, 381st TRG superintendent.
While the 381st is a welcomed addition to the 82nd TRW, it will be a short one as the group is in the process of being deactivated. Once that is official, the 532nd TRS will fall under the 82nd Training Group at Sheppard, which is home to almost all aircraft maintenance training for the Air Force.