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NEWS | March 20, 2024

Innovative technical training helps prepare civil engineering Airmen for the future fight

By Emily Mifsud Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center is partnering with the 368th Training Squadron’s civil engineering schoolhouses at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, to enhance training by implementing innovative technology and equipment that integrates real-world scenarios to their curriculum and saves manpower.

The Engineering, Pavements and Equipment and Emergency Management schoolhouses provide inter-service training between the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy to encourage interoperability and cooperation between each branch. Through instructor-led training and student-centered learning, Airmen collaborate and perform a variety of complex training scenarios, test problem solving skills and prepare for situations against adversaries with similar technological or military ability in contested near-peer engagements.

AFCEC’s Operations Directorate works hand-in-hand with the schoolhouses to provide funding and training curriculum to ensure the Air Force receives trained and poised civil engineers who are ready for the next global challenge.

“Our Force Development Managers provide a strategic outlook on the training and development requirements,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Madden, engineering force development manager for AFCEC’s Operations directorate. “The tasks are integrated into the curriculum to guide training instructors, contingency cadre, career development course authors and schoolhouse support teams.”

The Engineering Schoolhouse recently established a Rapid Airfield Damage Repair table that modernizes tactics, techniques and procedures allowing civil engineering students to quickly identify and characterize airfield damage and hazards to prioritize repairs. The table provides visualizations of what airfield damage will look like, including aerial views of how to perform RADR operations during a war-time enemy attack on a deployed bare base airfield.

“Previously, students had to record all the airfield damage by hand on a 20-foot piece of paper,” said Master Sgt. Tyler Hunnicutt, 368th Training Squadron, non-commissioned officer in charge, engineering technical training. “The RADR table allows students to document damage in real time, saving time and effort.”

To provide a safer way for Airmen to familiarize themselves with real-world operations before going into the field, the Pavements and Equipment Schoolhouse introduced heavy equipment simulators and replicas of the interior of bulldozers and wheeled excavators. This digital technology includes customizable programs that mimic heavy equipment operations, reducing manpower and allowing more Airmen to train with the equipment.

“There is not enough real-world equipment on site for each Airmen to operate at the same time,” said Master Sgt. Todd Alter, force development manager for AFCEC’s Operations Directorate. “The simulators augment operating time to ensure they get the maximum amount of training with the equipment while also minimizing downtime.”

AFCEC has also provided the Engineering Schoolhouse with $2 million for the purchase of new GPS and operational survey equipment. Additionally, the student dormitories will soon receive a state-of-the-art computer lab, and all Airmen will have tablets with preloaded course materials and software for after hour practice.  

“Providing Airmen with state-of-the-art equipment for technical training ensures the Air Force maintains a competitive edge over its adversaries,” Madden said. “We look forward to the sustained partnerships with our schoolhouses and the future development of our Airmen.”