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    Combat Communications FTU opens in Georgia



    Story by 1st Lt. Lauren Woods 

    Air Forces Cyber

    A new Combat Communications Field Training Unit in Savannah, Ga., opened its doors with a ribbon cutting ceremony Nov. 28, 2017.

    The FTU reduces the current 12- to 18-month on the job training process for combat communications Airmen to condensed four-week courses, enabling incoming personnel to jump right into the fight.

    Students that come through the FTU after technical school will leave Savannah with the skills needed to serve in a combat communications unit. In addition, students will leave with nearly sixty percent of their upgrade training complete.

    The newly opened facilities include training spaces, sleeping quarters, a dining facility, contracted instructors and all-new equipment.

    The FTU evolved from concept to mission-ready in only 10 months. Much of the challenge lay in defining the critical skills for incoming combat communications personnel.

    “We met twice this year with a training planning team, as a community, with subject matter experts from across Combat Comm and developed a job qualification standard in each of those disciplines,” said Senior Master Sgt. Judd Martins, the lead project officer for the FTU.

    One reason standing up the FTU was necessary is the speed of change in cyber.

    “We just recently as a career field went through a huge modernization--modernizing our equipment every eighteen to twenty-four months,” said Col. Jeremiah Boenisch, 5th Combat Communications Group commander. “Information technology changes so quickly and with that we have to change our training curriculum rapidly in order to facilitate the needs of our community and the Combatant Commands.”

    The new FTU is expected to train roughly 3,800 Airmen from the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve.

    These four-week courses span several different topics and fields, covering each of the primary disciplines within combat communications: radio frequency transmission equipment, cyber network infrastructure, and the use and operation of the deployed Network Control Center. The hands-on courses culminate in a weeklong exercise simulating live deployed operations. The FTU is designed to be able to rapidly add additional courses as technology advances and the community’s needs change.

    The FTU began validating its coursework Nov. 27th, sending two experts and two inexperienced students through the course to provide feedback on how to best tailor the classes for the needs of the field mission.

    “Between this and major upgrades within the career field, this might have been one of the biggest things we've done for combat communications,” said Boenisch.

    24th Air Force Vice Commander Brig. Gen. Mitchel Butikofer flew down to attend the FTU’s opening ceremony.

    "It's amazing to see the end training product that this team has accomplished in such a short time,” Butikofer said. “With this FTU, we're going to be delivering Airmen that are trained and ready to go out in the field with the skills they need to get the job done. This is a home-run for the combat comm community."

    The validation course is scheduled to conclude Dec. 22, with classes starting in January 2018.



    Date Taken: 11.28.2017
    Date Posted: 01.12.2018 14:31
    Story ID: 261987
    Location: FL, US

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