372nd TRS, Field Training Detachment 21: Training & inspiring warriors around the globe

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Kenneth Shinn
  • 372nd Training Squadron

Unit: Field Training Detachment (FTD) 21, 372nd Training Squadron

Location: Beale Air Force Base, California

Vision: Deliver state-of-the-art maintenance and communication training to DoD warfighters and international partners … Anytime, Anyplace!

Mission: Optimize aerospace maintenance training to best support the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing.

Motto: “From the Classroom to the Wrench, Instructors Pave the Way!”

Detachment 21 of the 372nd Training Squadron, 982nd Training Group, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, provides world class aircraft maintenance training to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing and its partners within the ISR community.  Master Sgt. Heath Traugh, Detachment Chief for Det 21, is taken aback by what he has witnessed since his arrival in May of 2016.  "Having been an instructor for AETC earlier in my career, I understand the unique challenges instructors and Military Training Leaders face, and I’m amazed at the level of dedication and professionalism at which Det 21 operates.  I have never seen a group of leaders more eager to teach and inspire, while maintaining strict standards, and enjoying what they do at the same time."


Twenty-two instructors across 12 career fields develop and deliver 37 formal aircraft maintenance courses covering in-depth theory of operation and advanced troubleshooting on U-2 “Dragon Lady” and RQ-4 “Global Hawk” aircraft systems, U-2 and T-38 egress systems and aerospace ground equipment.  Det 21 delivers approximately 11,102 instructional hours and graduates 519 maintenance technicians annually.  Det 21 is the only Mission Ready Airman technical training facility for Global Hawk and U-2 crew chiefs in the Air Force and has two on-station Military Training Leaders that continue the required guidance for pipeline airman attending technical training at our facility.


Det 21 provides curriculum development control and guidance across the U-2, RQ-4, and T-38 aircraft for the Air Combat Command.  The course curriculum expertise of the Instructional Systems Development monitors is vital in maintaining 20 CCAF accredited courses.  Two courses, in particular, are especially important in training newly assigned crew chiefs for the 9 RW: U-2 Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Apprentice and RQ-4 Remotely Piloted Aircraft Maintenance Apprentice courses.  Master Sgt. Randall Thornsberry, Det 21 Production Superintendent, said "Both the U-2 and RQ-4 crew chief courses have been undergoing major changes, improving the training for these airmen who will be maintaining the premier intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms in the Air Force arsenal". Thornsberry further explained, "The knowledge of our curriculum development team and the process of developing instructional courses is on target and on time, which allows us to deliver quality instruction and meet the host wing’s needs while completing our mission to train and inspire these airmen."


Consequently, the rich history of the U-2 program recently attracted a Hollywood movie production, "Bridge of Spies", directed by Steven Spielberg.  Two Det 21 members: Tech. Sgt. Andy Kerns and Staff Sgt. Kevin Christeson got to be prominent extras in the movie.  "It was fantastic to be a part of this film, and it is very humbling to be a part of the storied history of the U-2" SSgt Christeson explained.  "The Cold War and Gary Powers are not only a huge part of U-2 history, but United States history as well."