The 12th Training Squadron was activated August 18, 2017 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph under the 12th Operations Group.
When the Air Force expanded undergraduate remotely piloted aircraft pilot production its school had to adapt to support students’ needs.
“We recognized that there was a very large student population here at Randolph with the 558th Flying Training Squadron,” said Lt. Col. Brian McKay, 12th TRS commander. “We saw the need to activate a squadron that will provide leadership, mentoring and care,” McKay said.
The student population fluctuates as commissioning happens, but on average there are between 450 and 600 students assigned to the 12th FTW. The 558th FTS also provides technical training for enlisted RPA sensor operators.
“It is my earnest commitment that while students are here, under our care, the noble obligation of command will be honored and our Airmen will be cared for. They will be molded and prepared to be the warriors, wingmen, and leaders our country needs them to be,” said Col. Jupe Etheridge, the 12th Operations Group commander during the TRS’s activation ceremony inside Hangar 5.
Unlike some unit activations that result from adding permanent staff, this one involved an internal reorganization.
“The biggest benefit is going to be to the students, primarily because our entire mission is to focus on them,” McKay said.
The 12th TRS is forming its own identity just like Air Force squadrons have been doing since 1947.
“These are all brand new Airmen. It’s neat to start a brand new unit pretty much from scratch, from designing the patch and an emblem to picking a mascot and getting a new building.”
Its Airmen chose a green horned bull for their mascot because it embodies each member’s newness. Likewise, the bull’s character is a reminder of the hard work, methodical process, and determination that will be necessary in the profession of arms.
The squadron’s patch depicts a dark background representing both the future and potential for each student.
McKay said the mission statement for the 12th TRS is motivate, train, and inspire.