OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass.
- Saturday, March 21, 2009 was a new dawn for the Massachusetts Air National Guard and especially for 46 Air National Guard Student Flight Airmen as they embarked on the first Enhanced Student Flight Training Program here. The rigorous two-day program is designed to prepare our Airmen for successful completion of Air Force Basic Military Training.
The Student Flight Members from every unit across the Massachusetts Air National Guard were exposed to a number of mental and physical challenges in a structured training environment to help them assess their individual level of preparation for basic training. If they aren’t as prepared as they need to be, we want them to know it. The objectives of the program are actually quite simple. In addition to creating a controlled level of stress and assessing their weight and level of physical conditioning, the training is organized to help each individual understand and experience the benefits of teamwork and to develop increased self-confidence. The concepts of personal accountability and responsibility are continually reinforced, as are following instructions, meeting and exceeding standards, and pushing themselves to excel.
Tech. Sgt. Simeone, an U.S. Air Force Reserve member and former active duty training instructor, along with approximately 15 volunteers from the Massachusetts Air National Guard Headquarters, 104th Fighter Wing, and 102nd Intelligence Wing provided some “just in time” training. Upon arriving at the 253rd Combat Communications headquarters building, the students began processing with a weigh-in and shakedown inspection. Billeting keys and room assignments were issued along with the first meals-ready-to-eat of their military careers as the individuals began their transition to one team. In-processing was followed by classroom instruction on reporting statements, wear of the uniform, customs and courtesies, and a very helpful overview of basic training by Training Instructor Simeone. Next came a couple uniform changes, the Air Force Fitness Assessment, and a dinner meal with the Army National Guard. The day culminated in a team building exercise, meeting their Army National Guard counterparts, and joint training on Suicide Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness with the Army National Guard Recruit Sustainment Battalion.
By the look on their faces, some might have wondered what they got themselves into as Simeone provided a realistic portrayal of a typical training instructor. When asked how this training benefited them, the students remarked that this training gave them a real perspective as to what basic training might really be like.
“The best thing I could have done over the weekend. A real worthwhile experience!” remarked one student.
The Enhanced Student Flight Training Program was designed to prepare our incoming Airmen for success at basic training and beyond. In the near future, the Air National Guard students will incorporate more non-service-specific training with the Army National Guard as well as some Army combat skills training. Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Sellars, the Massachusetts Army National Guard land component commander, is committed to helping us prepare our Airmen to be successful Expeditionary Airmen. The Enhanced Student Flight Training Program is scheduled again on July 17-19, 2009.