SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The 365th Training Squadron has made advancements to not only their equipment for technical training, but also the professional environment in which they train the world’s greatest Airmen.
Avionics training has recently been upgraded with digital and virtual reality trainers to replace outdated analog systems. Now, thanks to a team of instructors the students also have a new virtual reality training lab.
Tech Sgt. Shawn Sturms, 365th TRS instructor supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Jason Anders and Staff Sgt. Jordan Tello, 365th TRS instructors, were responsible for this training transformation.
“We wanted to showcase our advancements by renovating this space for the students,” said Sturms. “We were just hoping to shed a light to get equipment, and then in the midst of the renovation we actually had the contract come through to get the hardware and software.”
For two months the instructors renovated approximately 2,000 square feet of space for $17,000, which was funded by the squadron. They spent countless hours and weekends to ensure the students could train in a safe, professional area.
“We’ve created what was wanted, which was an environment where students can come in here, and it just feels different,” said Tello. “We wanted to show the students that we care about them receiving good and accurate training. It wasn’t essential that we put down new floors if the technology was upgraded, but in our eyes it was important that we show we care as a squadron and create this fun, professional environment.”
Mr. David Everett, 365th TRS training manager, supported the project and was instrumental in getting the funding for the VR equipment.
“It took sacrifice and extra work to make this happen,” said Everett. “Everybody was on board to push this forward. Other instructors would offer to take their classes so these gentlemen could come in here and finish this project. It speaks volume to their character to want to do this on their own time because they know this is what the Airmen deserve.”
The students and instructors have been able to use the equipment, but will really get to see the impact once updated modules have been released for training in the upcoming months.
“These students have grown up with technology and more modern classrooms, and then they go back in a time machine in the Air Force. That’s a big disappointment,” said Everett. “These instructors have made an innovation-focused spot at Sheppard from a grassroots campaign.”
The new virtual reality lab is one example of how Sheppard is aggressively and cost effectively modernizing education and training.