Air Education and Training Command

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Air Education and Training Command
Air Education and Training Command.png
Air Education and Training Command emblem
Active 1 July 1993 – present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Major Command
Garrison/HQ Randolph Air Force Base, Texas
Nickname AETC, also "The First Command"
Commanders
Current
commander
General Robin Rand[1]

Air Education and Training Command (AETC) was established 1 July 1993, with the realignment of the former Air Training Command and the extant Air University. It is one of the U.S. Air Force's ten major commands (MAJCOMs) and reports to Headquarters, United States Air Force.

AETC is headquartered at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. Its commander is General Robin Rand, with Lieutenant General Douglas H. Owens as vice commander and Chief Master Sergeant Gerardo Tapia Jr. as Command Chief Master Sergeant.

More than 48,000 active duty and Air Reserve Component members and 14,000 civilian personnel make up AETC. The command has responsibility for approximately 1,600 aircraft.

Mission[edit]

AETC's mission is to "recruit, train and educate Airmen to deliver air power for America."

Air Force Recruiting Service[edit]

AETC's mission begins with the Air Force Recruiting Service (AFRS), headquartered at Randolph AFB, Texas. AFRS comprises three regional groups and 24 squadrons with more than 1,400 recruiters assigned throughout the United States, England, Germany, Japan, Puerto Rico and Guam. Recruiters in more than 1,000 offices worldwide recruit the young men and women needed as both enlisted airmen and commissioned officers to meet the demands of the U.S. Air Force.

NOTE: AFRS recruitment of commissioned officers is limited to Air Force Officer Training School (OTS). Officers accessed via the U.S. Air Force Academy and Air Force ROTC are not recruited by AFRS.

Basic Military Training and Technical Training[edit]

Second Air Force (2 AF), with headquarters at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, is responsible for conducting basic military and technical training for Air Force enlisted members and technical training for non-flying missile launch officers and support officers. The first stop for all Regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command enlisted personnel is basic military training at Lackland AFB, Texas. More than 36,000 new airmen will complete this recently lengthened eight-and-a-half-week program each year.

After completing BMT, airmen begin technical training in their career field specialties, primarily at five installations: Goodfellow AFB, Lackland AFB, and Sheppard AFB in Texas; Keesler AFB, Mississippi; and Vandenberg AFB, California. There are also several cross-service schools such as Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California and the U.S. Army CCBRN School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri that select USAF enlisted personnel will also attend. A recently established technical training institute at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas (also known as Fort Sam Houston) also conducts training in several medical career fields. Each base is responsible for a specific portion of formal technical training airmen require to accomplish the Air Force mission. Instructors conduct technical training in specialties such as aircraft maintenance, electronic principles, air transportation, civil engineering, medical services, computer systems, security forces, air traffic control, personnel, intelligence, fire fighting, weather forecasting and space and missile operations.

Commissioned officers not assigned to flight training as prospective pilots, combat systems officers or air battle managers attend technical training courses for similar career fields at the same locations.

2 AF also conducts specialized training for military working dogs and dog handlers at Lackland AFB, Texas, for the entire Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration. Additionally, the Inter-American Air Forces Academy[2] at Lackland AFB hosts more than 160 courses in aviation specialties, taught in Spanish, to students from 19 Western hemisphere countries.

Training in core values[edit]

In 1995, then-Secretary of the Air Force Sheila E. Widnall and then-Air Force Chief of Staff General Ronald R. Fogleman approved the following core values for the United States Air Force:[3]

  • Integrity First.
  • Service Before Self.
  • Excellence in All We Do.

The Air Education and Training Command, along with the USAF Academy, are responsible for teaching these principles throughout the Air Force.

Flying training[edit]

When AETC was established in 1993, Nineteenth Air Force (19 AF) was also established as a companion numbered air force to 2 AF within AETC. While 2 AF focused on ground-based technical training, 19 AF focused on all undergraduate flying training and those formal training units (FTU) under its claimancy from 1993 until 2012. On 12 July 2012, 19 AF was inactivated for budgetary reasons in an effort to gain efficiencies. By 2014, these efficiencies had failed to materialize and the Commander of AETC, Gen Robin Rand, directed reestablishment of 19 AF effective 1 Oct 2014 for the oversight of all flight training operations under AETC's claimancy.[4][5][6]

Pilot Training[edit]

Air Force pilot candidates begin their flying careers with Initial Flight Screening (IFS) at Pueblo Memorial Airport, Colorado. In IFS, civilian flight instructors working under contract to AETC and the command's 306th Flying Training Group (306 FTG) provide up to 25 hours of flight instruction to commissioned officer student pilots accessed via the U.S. Air Force Academy, Air Force ROTC and Air Force OTS.

Following successful completion of IFS, student pilots attend either:

  • Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (JSUPT)
  • Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT)
  • Undergraduate Helicopter Pilot Training (UHT)

Primary Training - JSUPT[edit]

JSUPT students accomplish primary training in the T-6A Texan II at one of three Air Force bases:

Between 1994 and 2013, USAF students in JSUPT also accomplished primary training in the T-34C Turbomentor and later the T-6B Texan II with Training Air Wing FIVE at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Florida via a combination of USN, USAF, USMC and USCG flight instructors. This program was terminated on 25 July 2013 with the graduation of the final USAF student pilot from primary training at NAS Whiting Field.[7] Joint primary training for USN students is still conducted at Vance AFB.

Primary Training - ENJJPT[edit]

ENJJPT students accomplish primary training in the T-6A Texan II at the following location:

The entire ENJJPT course lasts about 54 weeks and students learn with, and are taught by, officers of the U.S. Air Force and various European air forces. During the primary phase, students master contact, instrument, low-level and formation flying.

Advanced Training - Fighter/Bomber (ENJJPT + JSUPT)[edit]

After the primary phase of JSUPT and ENJJPT, student pilots elect one of two advanced training tracks based on their class standing. Those qualified for fighter or bomber assignments are assigned to the fighter/bomber track and train in the T-38 Talon at the JSUPT and ENJJPT bases. Following completion of the fighter/bomber track, graduates will be assigned to the A-10, F-15 Eagle, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16, F-22 and F-35, B-1, B-2 or B-52.

NOTE: The U-2 is not an option for new graduates of the Fighter/Bomber track. Prospective U-2 pilots must be qualified in another fighter or bomber aircraft before applying to fly the U-2.

Advanced Training - Airlift/Tanker (JSUPT only)[edit]

Prospective airlift, tanker and "big wing" reconnaissance and special mission pilots are assigned to the airlift/tanker track and train in the T-1A Jayhawk at JSUPT bases only. Following completion of the Airlift/Tanker track, graduates of the Airlift/Tanker track will fly the C-5, C-17, C-130, AC-130, EC-130, HC-130, LC-130, MC-130, WC-130, KC-135, KC-10, E-3, E-8, RC-135 and OC-135.

Prior to mid-2012, some USAF student pilots selected for the airlift/tanker track with specific assignment to the C-130 Hercules or its variants (special operations, combat rescue, etc.) were assigned to a multi-engine turboprop track flying the T-44 Pegasus and/or TC-12B Huron at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas in a cooperative arrangement between AETC and the Naval Air Training Command / Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA). These USAF students received instruction from a combination of USN, USAF, USMC and USCG flight instructors with Training Air Wing FOUR at NAS Corpus Christi. This program was discontinued in 2012 and all USAF student pilots slated for the C-130 and its variants now train in the T-1A at one of the three JSUPT bases.

NOTE: The 55th Wing's (55 WG) E-4B National Air Operations Center (NAOC) aircraft and any of the Special Air Mission (SAM) aircraft operated by the 89th Airlift Wing (89 AW), e.g., VC-25/Air Force One, C-32, C-40, etc., are not options for new graduates of the Airlift/Tanker track. Prospective E-4 and VC-25/C-32/C-40 pilots must be qualified in an airlift, tanker, or other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft before applying to fly the E-4 or any SAM aircraft.

Primary and Advanced Training - UHT[edit]

Those USAF student pilots selected to fly helicopters are assigned directly to the helicopter track, by-passing the primary phase of JSUPT and ENJJPT in the T-6A. These students initially fly the TH-57 Creek followed by the UH-1 Huey at Fort Rucker, Alabama under a joint training arrangement with the U.S. Army and AETC's 23d Flying Training Squadron. USAF graduates of this program will fly the UH-1N Twin Huey, HH-60G Pave Hawk or CV-22 Osprey.

Combat Systems Officer Training[edit]

Undergraduate Combat Systems Officer Training - UCSOT[edit]

Previously known as Navigators, the training pipeline for Combat Systems Officers has seen significant change since AETC's establishment. When AETC first activated, AETC was in the midst of a BRAC-directed closure of Mather AFB, California and the inactivation of the 323d Flying Training Wing, USAF's sole Undergraduate Navigator Training (UNT) wing, which also provided advanced training for USN Student Naval Flight Officers destined for land-based naval aircraft under the dual-designation of Interservice Undergraduate Navigator Training (IUNT).

A T-43A of the 562d Flight Training Squadron taxiing at RAF Fairford, England

As part of this transition, AETC opted to implement a dual training track whereby most USAF and all land-based USN and NATO/Allied officer student navigator training would transition to the 12th Flying Training Wing (12 FTW) at Randolph AFB, Texas utilizing the T45 navigation simulator and flying the T-43 Bobcat (both relocated from Mather AFB) and adding the T-1 Jayhawk for USAF students. Renamed Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training (SUNT), USAF students graduating from SUNT were assigned to B-52, C-130, AC-130, EC-130, HC-130, LC-130, MC-130, WC-130, KC-135, E-3, E-8, and RC-135 aircraft.

At the same time, a pre-selected cohort of USAF officer student navigators destined as weapon systems officers in the F-15E Strike Eagle, the B-1 Lancer, and, with the retirement of the EF-111 Raven, electronic warfare officers providing USAF manning of joint USN-USAF EA-6B Prowler squadrons, would complete a joint flight training program established between 19 AF and the Naval Air Training Command / Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) with Training Air Wing SIX at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. In this latter program, prospective USAF WSOs and EWOs would follow essentially the same training track as USN and USMC Student Naval Flight Officers destined for tactical fighter, strike and electronic attack aircraft, flying the T-34C Turbomentor in primary training until the T-34C's replacement by the T-6 Texan II, USAF T-1 Jayhawk aircraft on detached operations at NAS Pensacola, and USN/USMC T-39 Sabreliner in intermediate and advanced training under the tutelage of USN, USAF and USMC instructors.

In 2009, with the transition all USAF Navigators to Combat Systems Officers, the merger of SUNT into Undergraduate Combat Systems Officer Training (UCSOT), and pursuant to additional BRAC directives, the 12 FTW established the 479th Flying Training Group (479 FTG) with two flying training squadrons and an operations support squadron as a geographically-separated unit (GSU) at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. Pursuant to USAF policy changes, AETC and CNATRA also discontinued joint training at Training Air Wing SIX with the establishment of the 479 FTG. Although NAS Pensacola remains the principal base for Student Naval Flight Officer (SNFO) training for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, the 479 FTG operates independently of this program with its own USAF T-6 Texan II and T-1 Jayhawk aircraft. Upon establishment of the 479 FTG at NAS Pensacola, the remaining "legacy" navigator training squadrons that had relocated from the former Mather AFB to Randolph AFB in 1992 were inactivated and the remaining T-43 Bobcat aircraft retired.

Starting in the summer of 2010, following completion of Initial Flight Screening (IFS) at Pueblo Memorial Airport, Colorado with their USAF student pilot counterparts, all USAF CSO students undergo Undergraduate Combat Systems Officer Training (UCSOT) with the 479 FTG. Merging the three previous USAF Undergraduate Navigator Training (UNT) tracks formerly known as Navigator track, Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) track and Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) track into one coherent training cycle, the first UCSOT class (11-01) under the new syllabus commenced training on 5 May 2010 and graduated on 15 April 2011. Today, USAF CSOs continue to fill all of the previously mentioned multi-place USAF combat aircraft with the exception of USAF fills to the since-disestablished joint USN-USAF EA-6B squadrons.

Air Battle Manager Training[edit]

Air Battle Managers (ABM) are non-pilot / non-CSO officer aircrew who operate mission systems in the E-3 Sentry "AWACS" and E-8 J-STARS. Since October 1999, they have been considered "aeronautically rated officers" on par with USAF pilots and CSOs. ABMs complete Undergraduate Air Battle Manager Training (UABMT), an academic and simulator-only program under AETC cognizance at Tyndall AFB, Florida. As of May 2010, a new training syllabus at Tyndall AFB allows ABMs to receive their wings at the conclusion of UABMT, finally bringing them in line with pilots and CSOs. Follow-on simulator and flying training in the actual E-3 or E-8 aircraft takes place under the cognizance of Air Combat Command at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma and Robins AFB, Georgia, respectively.

Enlisted Aircrew Training[edit]

AETC also provides enlisted aircrew training for a wide variety of aircrew specialties including flight engineers, air-to-air refueling boom operators, loadmasters, aerial gunners, and airborne communications specialists as follows:

  • Flight engineers, loadmasters, other aircrew (C-130, LC-130, WC-130) - Little Rock AFB
  • Flight engineers, loadmasters, other aircrew (AC-130, MC-130, HC-130) - Little Rock AFB and Kirtland AFB
  • Flight engineers, aerial gunners, other aircrew (CV-22, HH-60, UH-1) - Kirtland AFB
  • Aerial refueling boom operators (KC-135, KC-10) - Altus AFB
  • Loadmasters (C-5) - Lackland AFB / Kelly Field Annex
  • Loadmasters (C-17) - Altus AFB
  • Airborne communications specialists (various aircraft) - Keesler AFB

Formal Training Unit[edit]

Air Education and Training Command also provides follow-on training for most Air Force pilots, CSOs and enlisted aircrew in their assigned aircraft via Formal Training Units (FTUs). For those pilots and CSOs selected for assignment to fighter aircraft, they will complete the Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) course, an AETC-administered program, at Randolph AFB, Texas or Sheppard AFB, Texas, shortly following completion of undergraduate flying training and prior to reporting to their FTU. At IFF, pilots fly the AT-38B Talon.

FTUs not under AETC claimancy are:

Air University[edit]

Air University (AU), headquartered at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, conducts professional military education (PME), graduate education and professional continuing education for officers, enlisted members and civilians throughout their careers. Air University also has responsibility for all Air Force officer accession and training other than the United States Air Force Academy via AU's subordinate Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development (Holm Center), formerly the Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools (AFOATS). As an AU activity, the Holm Center oversees the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC), with detachments at numerous colleges and universities across the United States, and the Air Force Officer Training School (OTS) at Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

Air University's professional military education schools prepare students from the Air Force, its sister services and both NATO and other U.S.-allied nations as they progress through their careers. Emphasis in these programs includes leadership, military doctrine and aerospace power. The three primary PME schools are Squadron Officer School (SOS) an approximately two-month leadership development program primarily for USAF company grade officers (first lieutenants and captains); Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), an approximately year long joint "intermediate" service college program for officers of all services in the rank of (or selected for) major, Navy or Coast Guard lieutenant commander, other Allied military equivalents or US civil service GS-13; and Air War College (AWC), an approximately year long joint "senior" service college program for officers in the rank of (or selected for) lieutenant colonel, Navy or Coast Guard commander, other Allied military equivalents or US civil service GS-14.

Air University also oversees the Air Force's two citizenship programs:

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a private, corporately chartered, civilian non-profit organization headquartered at Maxwell AFB and concurrently designated as the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary (USAF Aux). CAP is sponsored by the Air Force, but it is a civilian entity and not an operating Air Reserve Component (ARC) like the Air Force Reserve Command or the Air National Guard. Under its congressionally assigned missions, CAP provides a fleet of general aviation aircraft, multipurpose vehicles, ground support units, communications support units and trained adult members with a USAF-style rank structure available in support of search and rescue, disaster relief, and other emergency services and homeland defense/homeland security activities; an aerospace education for youth and the general public; and a cadet program for middle school/junior high school, high school and undergraduate college students. The CAP program is established as an organization by Title 10 of the United States Code and its purposes defined by Title 36. CAP is commanded by a Civil Air Patrol major general, functioning as a full-time employee of the CAP corporation at Maxwell AFB, overseeing 52 wings assigned to each state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbua. The CAP commander is supported by an active duty aeronautically rated USAF colonel as the senior USAF-CAP Advisor.

The Air Force Junior ROTC program is a cadet program for high school students at more than 870 high schools in the United States and at Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) locations overseas. AFJROTC Instructors are retired USAF officers in the ranks of major, lieutenant colonel and colonel, assisted by retired USAF non-commissioned officers in the ranks of technical sergeant through chief master sergeant.

Both CAP and AFJROTC are subordinate to the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development (Holm Center).

Other academic support services at Air University include Academic Instructor School, the Air Force Public Affairs Center of Excellence, the Muir S. Fairchild Research Information Center (formerly known as Air University Library) and the International Officer School.

Medical services[edit]

The Air Force's two largest medical facilities belong to AETC: the Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB, Texas, and the Keesler Medical Center at Keesler AFB, Mississippi. Sheppard AFB, Texas provides most of the Air Force's graduate medical and dental education, as well as other enlisted medical training.

History[edit]

For a history prior to 1993, see Air Training Command

On 1 January 1993, Air Training Command absorbed Air University and changed the command designation to Air Education and Training Command (AETC). AETC assumed responsibilities for both aspects of career development: training and education. Missions such as combat crew training, pararescue, and combat controller training, and (later) space training transferred to the new command, so that airmen would report to their operational units mission ready. Restructuring the command assumed first place among the issues facing the command staff. The introduction of three new training aircraft, the Raytheon T-1 Jayhawk, Slingsby T-3 Firefly, and Beech T-6 Texan II (JPATS); joint training; and the closures Chanute AFB]], Illinois (a major technical training center); Mather AFB, California (home of USAF Undergraduate Navigator Training) and Williams AFB, Arizona (an Undergraduate Pilot Training base) were major challenges.

In 1994 AETC adopted the Objective Wing Concept; stood up several wings responsible for crew training in the F-16, special operations, airlift, and space and missile operations; and began the first Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) and Joint-SUPT courses. Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, a technical training center that no longer conducted flight operations, was added to the list of AETC bases closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. This was followed by Reese Air Force Base, Texas, an Undergraduate Pilot Training base, in 1995. The transition to SUPT was completed in 1996, the delivery of the first JPATS aircraft in 1999, and the discontinuation of the controversial T-3 in 2000.

In response to the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, AETC went on a war footing, activating a Crisis Action Team and supplying both fighters and tankers from its wings for combat air patrols in American airspace as part of Operation Noble Eagle. An operational test and evaluation of JPATS began in 2002 at Moody Air Force Base and upgrades to its Training Integration Management System (TIMS) were begun the next year, targeting full implementation of JPATS in 2007.

Lineage[edit]

Established as Air Corps Flying Training Command on 23 January 1942. Redesignated Army Air Forces Flying Training Command about 15 March 1942; Army Air Forces Training Command on 31 July 1943; Air Training Command on 1 July 1946; Air Education and Training Command on 1 July 1993.

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