Student training bears yoke of creating next generation

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Charles Stoner
  • 19th SOS commander
A core task of the 19th Special Operations Squadron is Initial Aircrew Qualification Training for AC-130H Spectre gunships, AC-130U Spooky gunships and MC-130E Combat Talons. This core task directly supports the wing's third Aimpoint. The 19th SOS trains the next generation of Air Force and Air Commando leaders. It specifically trains the crews that fly and fight the gunships and Talon 1.

We at the 19th SOS take that core task and Aimpoint very seriously. As our nation's political and military leaders have expressed, the Global War on Terrorism will continue for many years, so the students we train today will continue to take the fight to our enemies well into the future. Our students are the next generation of Air Force and Air Commando leaders. Their mission success will determine our nation's future.

We cannot fail in our mission. The freedoms we enjoy today must be defended, preserved and passed on to our children.
Training the next generation of gunship crews has been the biggest challenge for the 19th SOS. The challenge arises because of a lack of available aircraft to conduct student training. GWOT deployments, operational readiness exercises/inspections, unit training, aircraft modifications and testing, along with maintenance availability compete against student sortie availability.

With 19th SOS encouragement, the 1st Special Operations Group and 1st Special Operations Wing elevated the priority of student sorties beginning in September 2006. The increased focus and priority on student training resulted in increased student sorties and student production.

The 19th SOS instructors aggressively attacked the backlog of AC-130H/U gunship students. Through a reorganization of the flying training program, the AC-130H student backlog has been eliminated and the AC-130U student backlog should be eliminated by March.

This is a huge success for the 19th SOS and our students. Student training and their success significantly improves when students have good flying continuity to build their knowledge and skills. Poor flying continuity hurts student motivation and hinders their ability to build on previous flights and increase their knowledge and skills.

We owe our students the best training we can offer, and we owe the operational units well-qualified crew members. The 19th SOS will continue the full-court press so our students become the next generation of Air Force and Air Commando leaders.
The 19th SOS - preparing Special Operations Forces warriors for combat.