Tennessee Air Guardsmen forge way to train with new force generation model

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Nancy Goldberger
  • 134 Air Refueling Wing

Approximately 100 Tennessee Air Guardsmen with the 134th Mission Support Group and additional support personnel converged on the Combat Readiness Training Center here June 24 to 30 for a new spin on deployment readiness training.

The Air Force Force Generation (AFFORGEN) deployment model replaces the Air Expeditionary Force construct, changing how the Air Force prepares and presents its forces.

“We are making Air Force history,” said Col. Art Douglass, the 134th Mission Support Group commander. “We are one of four units to start this AFFORGEN model on the Guard side. We’re not new in doing our mission, but in doing it under this construct.”

The new model means adjusting how every Airman thinks about training, readiness, the mission, and themselves, as multi-capable Airmen.

This year’s annual field training focused on developing the multi-capable Airmen concept, building relationships outside their own shops, and enhancing basic Airmen skills. The training sessions included forklift training, land navigation, field communication, basic leadership knowledge and Ready Airmen Training — an enhanced version of what was known as ancillary training.

To be a multi-capable Airman, members have multiple skill sets; they are jacks of all trades and masters of their own career field. This ensures capability is available in case the subject matter expert is not immediately available to deploy further into the theater.

“In the Air National Guard, we are the ultimate multi-capable Airmen,” said Douglass, noting the myriad of talents Guardsmen bring in from their civilian jobs. “In addition to that, we’re here to add skills outside of our Air Force specialty codes, to learn how we can be more agile, more expedient, and put efficient combat power anywhere in the world.”

As Volunteer-Ready Guardsmen, having relationships with those across the Wing is essential and make better multi-capable Airmen, according to Douglass. One of the things they’re doing here is moving Airmen outside their own organization to forge a new relationships.

“People are the key to success,” Douglass said. “One of our adjutant generals used to say, ‘Don’t trade business cards when you get on the scene of an emergency.’ You need to know those folks before you’re actually needed.”

The Tennessee Guardsmen attended leadership training, such as proficient feed back, the system of military awards and other supervisorial responsibilities. These skills compound into Comprehensive Airman Fitness, making well-rounded, resilient Airmen throughout their careers, both at home station and in deployed environments.

“This new AFFORGEN model the Air Force has gone to has completely changed how we’ve done business,” said John Light, the installation deployment officer at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee, speaking of the method used to send Airmen downrange. “One of the things they’re doing here is getting their core task training taken care of so these Airmen are fully capable to perform, to deploy at a moment’s notice, if need be, and hit the ground running.”

The mission support Guardsmen took the week to train hard, driven by the 134th Air Refueling Wing’s number one line of effort, to focus on expeditionary training.

“We’re always ready, and we’re always there,” Douglass said. “Whether it’s a domestic operation, or it’s a combat-related mission, the men and women of the 134th Mission Support Group are ready to take that mission on and give our very best. I hope folks in our community can sleep well at night knowing we’ve got great men and women on the job.”