Air Education and Training Command
Air Education and Training Command (AETC) was established 1 July 1993, with the realignment of Air Training Command and Air University. It is one of the U.S. Air Force's nine major commands and reports to Headquarters, United States Air Force.
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.
AETC's mission is to "recruit, train and educate Airmen to deliver air power for America."
Air Force Recruiting ServiceEdit
AETC's mission begins with the Air Force Recruiting Service (AFRS), an AETC activity also headquartered at Randolph AFB, Texas. AFRS comprises three regional groups and 24 squadrons with more than 1,400 commissioned officer and enlisted 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.
AFRS recruitment of commissioned officers is limited to 4-year college/university graduates via Air Force Officer Training School (OTS). Individuals who desire to become commissioned USAF officers and enter the service via the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) and Air Force ROTC (AFROTC) are not recruited by AFRS and are instead accessed via recruitment and application activities of USAFA and AFROTC, respectively.
Basic Military Training and Technical TrainingEdit
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 (BMT) at Lackland AFB, Texas. More than 36,000 new airmen 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 Fort Sam Houston, Texas, 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 at Lackland AFB hosts more than 160 courses in aviation specialties, taught in Spanish, to students from 19 Western hemisphere countries.
Training in core valuesEdit
- 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.
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, and again from 2014 to present. On 12 July 2012, 19 AF was temporarily inactivated for budgetary reasons in an effort to gain efficiencies. By 2014, these efficiencies had failed to materialize and the then-Commander of AETC, Gen Robin Rand, directed reestablishment of 19 AF effective 1 October 2014 for the oversight of all flight training operations under AETC's claimancy.
Air Force pilot candidates begin their flying careers with Initial Flight Training (IFT) at Pueblo Memorial Airport, Colorado. In IFT, 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 and enlisted 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:
- Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT)
- Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT)
Primary Training – SUPTEdit
SUPT students accomplish primary training in the T-6A Texan II at one of three Air Force bases:
Between 1994 and 2013, SUPT was titled JSUPT for "Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training" and 100 USAF students annually 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 while 80 USN and 20 USMC students annually accomplished primary training in the T-6A Texan II with the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance Air Force Base. This program was terminated on 25 July 2013 with the graduation of the final USAF student pilot from primary training at NAS Whiting Field.
Primary Training – ENJJPTEdit
ENJJPT students accomplish primary training in the T-6A Texan II at the following location:
- Sheppard AFB, Texas
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 + SUPT)Edit
After the primary phase of SUPT and ENJJPT, student pilots elect one of three 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 SUPT 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, bomber, reconnaissance or mobility aircraft before applying to fly the U-2. First Assignment Instructor Pilots (FAIPs) are also eligible to apply following their FAIP assignment.
Advanced Training – Airlift/Tanker (SUPT 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 this track will fly the C-5, C-17, C-21, C-130, AC-130, EC-130, HC-130, LC-130, MC-130, WC-130, KC-135, KC-10, KC-46, 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, electronic warfare, combat rescue, weather reconnaissance, 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.
Advanced Training – Helicopter (SUPT only)Edit
Those selected to fly helicopters or tilt-rotor aircraft are assigned after completion of the primary phase to AETC's 23d Flying Training Squadron at Fort Rucker, Alabama to train in the TH-1H Huey. Graduates will fly the UH-1N Twin Huey, HH-60G Pave Hawk or CV-22 Osprey.
Combat Systems Officer TrainingEdit
Undergraduate Combat Systems Officer Training – UCSOTEdit
Previously known as Navigators, the training pipeline for Combat Systems Officers has seen significant change since AETC's establishment. When AETC was first activated to replace Air Training Command (ATC), it inherited ATC's modernization effort of navigator training in the midst of a BRAC-directed closure of Mather AFB, California and the inactivation of its 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 (e.g., P-3 Orion, E-6 Mercury, etc.) under the dual-designation of Interservice Undergraduate Navigator Training (IUNT).
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. The relocated programs were renamed Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training (SUNT) for USAF and USAF-sponsored NATO/Allied students, and Joint Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training (JSUNT) for USN and USN-sponsored NATO/Allied students. 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, RC-135 and OC-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 aircraft in intermediate and advanced training under the tutelage of USN, USAF and USMC instructors.
In 2009, with the transition of 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 that the USN has since retired all of its EA-6B Prowlers and the USAF now provides a few CSOs to four of the USN's thirteen Electronic Attack Squadrons flying the EA-18G Growler. Those four squadrons are land based and do not deploy aboard aircraft carriers.
Air Battle Manager TrainingEdit
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 Navigators-cum-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 their undergraduate flight training 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 TrainingEdit
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, EC-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) – Lackland AFB
- RPA Sensor Operator – Randolph AFB
Formal Training UnitEdit
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, Columbus AFB, Mississippi, 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.
- Air Education and Training Command FTUs:
- F-15 Eagle (e.g., F-15C and F-15D) – Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base, Oregon; conducted by an AETC-gained fighter wing of the Oregon Air National Guard
- Training at Kingsley Field is conducted by an AETC-gained fighter wing of the Air National Guard; this unit trains both active duty Air Force and Air National Guard personnel
- F-16 Fighting Falcon – Luke AFB, Arizona (slated for relocation to Holloman AFB, New Mexico); Lackland AFB/Kelly Field Annex, Texas; and Tucson Air National Guard Base, Arizona
- Training at Luke is conducted by an AETC fighter wing and an AETC-gained fighter wing of the Air Force Reserve Command;
- Training at Lackland AFB/Kelly Field (former Kelly AFB) is conducted by an AETC-gained fighter wing of the Texas Air National Guard
- Both units at Luke AFB and Lackland AFB/Kelly Field train Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard personnel for the F-16C and F-16D
- Training at Tucson ANGB is conducted by an AETC-gained fighter wing of the Arizona Air National Guard focusing on international (NATO/Allied/Coalition) pilot training in support of the F-16 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program
- F-35 Lightning II – Eglin AFB, Florida (slated for additional site at Luke AFB, Arizona following relocation of F-16 training)
- C-5 Galaxy – Lackland AFB/Kelly Field Annex (former Kelly AFB)
- Training conducted by an AETC-gained airlift wing of the Air Force Reserve Command; this unit trains Air Force and Air Force Reserve personnel for the C-5 and previously trained Air National Guard personnel for the C-5 until retirement of the C-5 from the ANG
- C-17 Globemaster III – Altus AFB, Oklahoma
- C-21 Learjet – Keesler AFB, Mississippi
- C-130 Hercules – Little Rock AFB, Arkansas
- KC-135 Stratotanker – Altus AFB, Oklahoma
- KC-46 Pegasus – Altus AFB, Oklahoma (establishment pending)
- MC-130 Combat Shadow/Combat Talon II/Commando II and HC-130 Combat King/Combat King II – Kirtland AFB, New Mexico
- UH-1N Twin Huey – Kirtland AFB, New Mexico
- HH-60G Pave Hawk – Kirtland AFB, New Mexico
- CV-22 Osprey – Kirtland AFB, Mexico
- T-6 Texan II, T-38 Talon and T-1 Jayhawk Pilot Instructor Training (PIT) – Randolph AFB, Texas
- F-15 Eagle (e.g., F-15C and F-15D) – Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base, Oregon; conducted by an AETC-gained fighter wing of the Oregon Air National Guard
FTUs not under AETC claimancy are:
- Air Combat Command
- Air Force Global Strike Command
- Air Force Special Operations Command
- Air Mobility Command
Air University (AU), headquartered at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, conducts professional military education (PME), graduate education and professional continuing education for officers, senior enlisted members and DoD and DAFC civilians throughout their careers.
USAF Commissioned Officer Accession & TrainingEdit
Air University also has responsibility for all Air Force officer accession and training other than those officers accessed and commissioned the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). This is conducted via AU's subordinate activity, the 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 both 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.
Professional Military Education (PME) SchoolsEdit
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 air 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 (O-2) and Captains (O-3)); attendance is also open to US civil service (primarily DAFC) in grades GS-11 and GS-12
- 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 (O-4), Lieutenant Commander (O-4) in the Navy and Coast Guard, other Allied military equivalents, or US civil service GS-13, primarily DAFC, DoD, DHS and NASA
- Air War College (AWC), an approximately year long joint "senior" service college program for officers in the rank of (or selected for) Lieutenant Colonel (O-5), Commander (O-5) in the Navy and Coast Guard, other Allied military equivalents, or US civil service GS-14. Officers in the grade of Colonel (O-6), Captain (O-6) in the Navy and Coast Guard, and US civil service GS-15 (primarily DAFC, DoD, DHS and NASA) may also attend AWC in residence, although this is usually due to previous completion of AWC via correspondence or seminar, career timing, or early promotion.
Air Force Junior ROTCEdit
- 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.
- As opposed to its college/university counterpart, Air Force ROTC (AFROTC), the AFJROTC program is not a military pre-commissioning program for prospective USAF officers, but is instead a citizenship program for youth similar to, but with an overall narrower age range than, the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program.
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 the 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.
AETC has claimancy and oversight of the following installations:
- Altus AFB, OK
- Columbus AFB, MS
- Goodfellow AFB, TX
- Keesler AFB, MS
- Lackland AFB, TX (includes Kelly Field Annex)
- Laughlin AFB, TX
- Luke AFB, AZ
- Maxwell AFB, AL (includes Gunter AFS)
- Sheppard AFB, TX
- Vance AFB, OK
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 priority 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); the addition of joint training; and the BRAC-mandated closures of Chanute AFB, Illinois (a major technical training center); Mather AFB, California (previously USAF's sole Undergraduate Navigator Training base) and Williams AFB, Arizona (an Undergraduate Pilot Training base) were major challenges following the establishment of AETC.
In 1994, AETC adopted the Objective Wing Concept and stood up several wings responsible for crew training in the F-16, special operations aircraft, airlift aircraft, the KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft, and space and missile operations. AETC also began the first Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) and Joint-SUPT courses.
Lowry AFB, Colorado, a technical training center with closed runways that, like the previously closed Chanute AFB, no longer conducted flight operations but conducted both non-flying officer and enlisted technical training, was added to the list of AETC bases closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in the mid-1990s. This was followed by the BRAC mandated closure of Reese AFB, 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 as an initial flight screening aircraft in 2000 following a higher than average fatal mishap record.
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 AFB and upgrades to its Training Integration Management System (TIMS) were begun the next year, resulting in retirement of the T-37 Tweet and full implementation of JPATS with the T-6 Texan II in 2007.
- Established as Air Corps Flying Training Command on 23 January 1942
- Redesignated as Army Air Forces Flying Training Command on or about 15 March 1942
- Redesignated as Army Air Forces Training Command on 31 July 1943
- Redesignated as Air Training Command (ATC) on 1 July 1946
- Redesignated as Air Education and Training Command (AETC) on 1 July 1993
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