The Air Force’s plan to consolidate battlefield airman training likely would reduce the number of training locations from eight to three or four, according to Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, head of Air Education Training Command.
“Every time we need to send an airman [somewhere], we lose a week of training,” Roberson told reporters last week during a briefing at the Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space & Cyber conference.
Battlefield airman training currently is conducted at eight primary training locations across seven states. Battlefield airmen make up the Air Force’s ground component and include combat controllers, pararescuemen, special operations weathermen and tactical air control party airmen. These personnel often embed with conventional and special operations forces.
The Air Force is preparing environmental assessments for eight candidate locations — Eglin AFB, Fla.; Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; Keesler AFB, Miss.; Little Rock AFB, Ark.; Patrick AFB, Fla.; Shaw AFB, S.C.; and Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Officials plan to select preferred and reasonable alternatives in early 2017.
The reorganization is designed to provide improved infrastructure with enhanced aquatic training for combat rescue and other missions, reported Military.com.
“Right now, we do not have an adequate pool, aquatic training facility,” Roberson said. “We’re doing it, but when we consolidate to the three or four, we’re going to be able to hopefully build a new aquatic system.”