JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
The 37th Training Wing Warhawks hosted Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Education and Training Command, and Chief Master Sgt. Julie Gudgel, AETC command chief, for a two-day immersion at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Aug. 1-2.
After taking command of AETC July 26, the general chose the 37th TRW to be his first visit into the field and went full speed during the two days they were here, leaving with a new appreciation for the wing’s commitment to training to the standard of excellence and for the elite team that executes the mission every day.
“This is where it starts,” Webb said. “We are the First Command and it all begins right here with the Warhawks at the 37th Training Wing. When you see the varied missions here, it is eye opening. I am really proud of everything that is going on here.”
The 37th TRW commander, Col. Jason Janaros, and command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Philip Eckenrod, welcomed Webb and Gudgel to the Gateway Wing bright and early, introducing them to the rest of the wing’s leadership.
“It is impossible to express the magnitude and significance of what this wing accomplishes in just two days,” said Col. Jason Janaros, 37 TRW commander. “However, at our very core, this team trains, educates, develops, and inspires Airmen and strengthens partnerships with our joint warfighters and allies across the globe. Every day we endeavor to be the Department of Defense’s training standard of excellence and we’re grateful for the advocacy of Lt. Gen. Webb and Chief Gudgel as we continue to refuel our Air Force with more ready and lethal Airmen.”
After observing portions of BMT’s Basic Expeditionary and Advanced Skills Training, or BEAST, focused on mock deployment conditions and combatives training, Webb and Gudgel attended the coining ceremony where, after eight and a half grueling weeks, trainees are presented an Airman’s coin. Receiving this coin symbolizes a trainee officially earning the title of “Airman.”
“It’s an awesome moment when they receive that coin. Not only does it mark a tremendous accomplishment — making it through BMT — but it marks a transition into an Air Force family that will be with them for life,” said Chief Master Sgt. Lee Hoover, 737th TRG superintendent. “They may not understand that yet, but it’s true.”
At the BMT graduation parade, Webb served as the graduation ceremony reviewing official and re-administered the oath of enlistment to 787 of the Air Force’s newest Airmen before addressing the newly graduated Airmen and attendees.
“To the veterans in the audience, they (the Airmen) are your legacy. To the MTIs, well done. You are second to none. And to our new Airmen, you are the secret ingredient to the success of your Air Force,” Webb said. “Though we have our challenges leading in a time of great power competition, you make certain America is equipped to handle it.”
In addition to training all military working dogs for the Department of Defense and Transportation Security Administration, the 37th Training Group operates the Security Forces Training Center that produces security forces specialists. Webb and Gudgel were able to meet and interact with both these two-legged, and four-legged, defenders.
Instructors and students from both the Defense Language Institute English Learn Center and Inter-American Air Forces Academy had an opportunity engage with the AETC leadership. Both campuses were filled with a variety of military uniforms of joint warfighters and partner nation militaries who are at the 37th TRW to improve English language proficiencies, learn operational military communication skills and maintain strong partnerships.
“I am very proud of the Warhawks,” Webb said. “I need you to keep after it. Our nation is counting on our Air Force, our Air force is counting on us, right here. Thank you Warhawks.”
The 37th TRW, also known as the Gateway Wing, is comprised of four groups. Collectively, the wing is responsible for Basic Military Training for all of the Air Force’s enlisted corps, Military Working Dog training for all of the Department of Defense and the Transportation Security Administration, technical training school for nearly half of the Air Force’s enlisted career fields, English language training for U.S. and international students in support of the Department of Defense Security Cooperation at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center and is home to the Inter-American Air Forces Academy.
For more information about the wing and its mission, visit https://www.37trw.af.mil/.